Camping in the Yellowstone
Frost & Richard Camping Co.
Copyright 2020 by Robert V. Goss. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
"Now all is hustle among local transportation companies in anticipation of the opening of the Turk season July 1st. The equipment is being put in readiness and parties being booked daily. The companies in the field this year are the Yellowstone Park Camping & Transportation Co., Shoshone Camping Co., Frost & Richard and Dahlem Bros. All are reliable and anyone hooking with them is assured of the finest treatment possible and the finest trip through the country. The Cody road to the Park is completed and leads through the noted Shoshone Canyon, just past the Shoshone dam and lake and up through the grand North Fork country. It's a trip worth traveling over continents to enjoy. BOOK NOW!
Address any of the Companies mentioned at Cody, Wyoming."
Park County Enterprise (WY), Jun 1, 1910
The town of Cody, Wyoming is located 50 miles east of Yellowstone and was founded in 1896 by Buffalo Bill Cody, and other investors having railroad and agricultural interests. Like most small western towns, growth of the town was predicated upon having access to railroad service. Col. Cody began negotiations with the railroads and eventually the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy RR was convinced to build a branch rail line from their main line at Billings, MT. The line extended south to Toluca and from there ran southwest for 129 miles to Cody. The line reached town in 1901 and the depot was built on the north side of the Shoshone River, on the opposite side of the river from the town proper.
That same year construction began on a new road over Sylvan Pass into Yellowstone. It opened in late June/early July 1903 after the heavy snows had melted, making Cody the East Gateway to Yellowstone Park. Tex Holm began conducting camping tours over Sylvan Pass in 1903 and other small operators, including Ned Frost and Fred Richard, followed suit in later years.
Top Left: The town of Cody Wyo, ca1904, less than a decade after its founding.
Bottom Left: Ned Frost leading a pack train over Sylvan Pass, probably late spring.
[Undated Real Photo postcard]
Ned Frost became a partner with Fred Richard in the early 1900’s with each of them homesteading land around Green Creek west of Cody. Ned hunted and trapped, while Fred skinned, stretched and prepared the pelts. Coyote pelts were going for $60 at the time and business was good. Individually or collectively they also guided hunters through the nearby wilderness country in search of big game. Through these enterprises they saved up enough to build a large ranch house as a base camp for their enterprises in Wapiti Valley. The ranch featured 17 rooms, including seven bedrooms upstairs and a large living room with fireplace to entertain their paying guests.
Richard, Fred J. (Alfred John)
Fred J. Richard was born around 1880-81 in Vermont. He married Margaret Hughes (born ca1881) of Illinois in Chicago on January 1, 1909. Her sister Mary would marry New Frost the following year. By 1910 Fred and Margaret were listed in the US Federal Census for Park County. The couple had two children; Alfred J. “Jack”, born in 1909 in Wyoming; and Robert H., born ca1915 in Wyoming. Son Jack became quite a renowned local photographer and his massive collection of photographs was donated to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center in Cody Wyoming.
Frost, Ned Ward
Ned W. Frost was born April 11, 1881 in Minnesota and came into the Cody country in a covered wagon in 1884 with his family and settled on Sage Creek near Cody. He killed his first grizzly bear around the age of seven or eight and began a life of hunting and guiding. By age 14 he was shooting antelope to supply meat houses in Coulson (Billings), Montana. He appears in the 1900 Federal Census for Wyoming. He helped to build the Corkscrew Bridge on Sylvan Pass in the early 1900’s and in 1903 he discovered Frost Cave in Cedar Mountain just west of Cody. His future wife Mary Hughes was born February 1881 in Chicago, Illinois and was the sister of Margaret Hughes, who married Fred Richard in 1909. Ned and Mary were married January 20, 1910 at the home of Fred Richard. The couple’s first son Nedward Mahlon was born around 1911. He was followed by Richard J. about 1918 and Jessie W. circa 1921. Ned passed away Nov. 19, 1957 after several months of ill health. He was considered by many to be the foremost big-game hunter of his time.
Frost & Richard Camping Co.
Ned Frost and Fred Richard formed the "Frost & Richard Camping Co." around 1909 and began conducting formal advertised camping trips into Yellowstone using moveable camps. They had, however, operated earlier than 1909 as “Frost & Richard.” The Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer newspaper of Cody noted on July 11, 1907 that, “Frost & Richard started with the first park party of the season Monday. The party consisted of Chas. P. Whitney, wife and little daughter, Mr. Lesch, a railroad attorney, three young Lady teachers and three young gentlemen, all of Chicago, and Mrs. Frank Thompson of Cody.” Several articles in the Wyoming Stockgrower & Farmer newspaper for July 1905 also noted several small tours led into the park by Frost and Elmo Webster. These informal tours no doubt extended back several years and probably utilized the Sunlight Basin route through Cooke City and the northwest entrance prior to the opening of the Sylvan Pass road in 1903. The size of the parties gradually increased and in June 1910, the Park County Enterprise (WY) reported that the Frost & Richard Camping Co. was guiding a party of around 30 tourists through Yellowstone.
Wyoming Stockgrower and Farmer, 19Jul1905.
In 1910 the men had a 20-page promotional booklet printed up by South Publishing Press to advertise their services. It was entitled, “Over the Cody Trail to Yellowstone: Seeing nature’s Wonderland by Camp in Parties of Two or More. [Not shown] The following year the McGuire Printing Co. published a 16-page booklet more simply titled, “Cody Road Through Yellowstone Park.” [Left - 1915 Edition} This small tome is not to be confused with a Burlington, Chicago & Quincy RR publication titled “The Cody Road to Yellowstone” that was in publication by 1907, and continued through 1916. [Right] The Frost & Richard Camping Co. is first mentioned in that brochure in 1909.
Camping Tours Over the Cody Road (1909)
The most popular way of making the trip over the Cody Road and through Yellowstone Park is in a camping party from Cody back to Cody, occupying 16 or 18 days.
The Yellowstone Park Camping and Transportation Co. (Aron Holm, Proprietor) and Frost & Richard have for many years made a specialty of outfitting and conducting such parties, and the many people who have made the tour under their auspices have been uniformly well pleased with the arrangements. The names of such people we will be glad to furnish to anyone contemplating the trip. The Company and Frost & Richard both have first-class outfits and handle their own parties and in an entirely satisfactory manner.
Transportation is provided in covered surreys or waggonettes built with extra good springs specially for this mountain service and very comfortable; a good saddle horse is provided for those who wish to make the trip on horseback, for $1 per day extra—should any such become tired, they may of course have a seat in the surrey.
The tents are tepees, each accommodating two persons, and the best that money can buy; they are furnished with canvas floors, ostermoor mattresses, woolen blankets and warm, heavy comforters; a private toilet tent for ladies is set up at each camp. The meals are the best that the market affords in canned goods, smoked meats, fresh vegetables and trout, all prepare by women cooks in a covered cook-wagon. Many ladies make the camping tour and enjoy it thoroughly; children as young as seven or eight years have made the trip, some even going horseback as there is always a man in the party to teach the inexperienced to ride and who accompanies the children and inexperienced riders of the party at all times.
[The Cody Road to Yellowstone Park – 1909 (Burlington, Chicago & Quincy RR, shown above right]
By 1910, the company advertised 12, 16, and 28-day camping trips, and used tepee-style sleeping tents nine feet square with canvas bottoms. The tents had beds that were provided with mattresses and blankets and accommodated two persons, but private tents could be had for an extra charge. Trips were conducted in 3-seated mountain surreys seating five passengers and the driver. Mess and baggage wagons accompanied the party carrying supplies, cooking and dining tents. The dining tent was furnished with a stove, folding tables, and chairs and the dinnerware was of white granite. Toilet tents were set up at each camp and water heated for the guests’ use. The trips cost $4.00 per day with an extra $1.00 per day charge for those wishing to ride on horseback. The company also offered horseback pack trips in the park that traveled on various trails during the daytime, but spent the nights at the camps of the coaching parties.
Cody Pictorial, ca1911. Click to enlarge.
"The Loop Sylvan Pass Cody Road"
Frost & Richard camp wagon crossing the pass, ca1912. [Lucier Photograph]
"Corkscrew Road Sylvan Pass"
Undated photo of Fros & Richard camp wagons.
From the Park County Enterprise (WY), Jun 1, 1910:
"Now all is hustle among local transportation companies in anticipation of the opening of the Turk season July 1st. The equipment is being put in readiness and parties being booked daily. The companies in the field this year are the Yellowstone Park Camping & Transportation Co., Shoshone Camping Co., Frost & Richard and Dahlem Bros. All are reliable and anyone hooking with them is assured of the finest treatment possible and the finest trip through the country. The Cody road to the Park is completed and leads through the noted Shoshone Canyon, just past the Shoshone dam and lake and up through the grand North Fork country. It's a trip worth traveling over continents to enjoy. BOOK NOW! Address any of the Companies mentioned at Cody, Wyoming."
Top Left: Frost & Richard wagons atop of Mt Washburn, undated. [Courtesy Wyoming PBS]
Top Right: Frost & Richard party having lunch on the road on Aug. 19, 1912, probably Sylvan Pass or Mt. Washburn. [Courtesy Wyoming PBS.
""YELLOWSTONE AND OTHER WESTERN LOCALES THROUGH A YOUNG WOMAN’S EYES"
Photo album from Muriel Mann of Chicago of a western tip in 1913
Left: Frost & Richard wagons atop of Mt Washburn.
Right: Frost & Richard wagons crossing the Shoshone River, somewhere between Cody and the East entrance of Yellowstone
Finale for the Frost & Richard Co.
After 1916 and the government-mandated consolidation of the camping companies in Yellowstone, Frost and Richard mostly parted ways and returned to their own guiding and hunting operations. Frost guided many famous hunters during his lifetime, including Saxton Pope and Art Young (Pope & Young Club) in 1920. Frost Lake, two miles NE of Pyramid Peak was named after him ca1893-95, as was Frost Cave in the mountain west of Cody. The Skytel Ranch is currently located on the site of the Frost Ranch.
"Through a deal which was closed this week the Frost & Richard Co. dissolved partnership and Fred Richard takes over the ranch on Northfork and will devote his entire time to developing it along agricultural and stock raising lines. Ned Frost, the retiring member of the company plans to continue his "dude" wrangling activities, making the ranch his headquarters for the present. Poor health is the principle reason for his retirement from business and in the fall he will probably go to California to spend the winter."
Northern Wyoming Herald, May 21, 1919
Map of Frost and Richards tour route through Yellowstone with campsite numbered. [1915 F&R brochure]
Click to enlarge
Famous Guide and Big Game Hunter Dies at Cody, Wyo.
Greeley Daily Tribune, Thursday, Nov. 21, 1957
Ned Ward Frost, 77, one of the West's most famed big game hunters and guides, died Tuesday [19th]. He had been in ill health for several months. Frost, who came to the Cody area in 1903, led many big game hunting expeditions into the rugged country surrounding Yellowstone National Park and was the discoverer of Spirit Mountain Cavern, five miles west of Cody. Frost was reputedly one of the most accurate big game marksmen in the first quarter of the 20th Century and made several hunting expeditions throughout the world. Sept. 26, 1952, was set aside in Wyoming as "Ned Frost Day", to honor big game guides and hunters. Frost was found dead at mid morning when Dr. Joseph A. Gautsch went to investigate when Frost failed to keep an appointment with the physician. Funeral arrangements have not been completed. Within the past month, Frost sold his 1,885-acre ranch on the North Fork of the Shoshone River to Rep. Keith Thomson (R Wyo).
Fred J. Richards
Dies in Powell
CODY, Wyo.—Fred J. Richards, a long time Park County resident, died in a Powell rest home early
Monday at the age of 82. Mr. Richards was born in Eden, Vt., July 19, 1880 and had lived in Park County for 61 years. Two sons, Jack of Cody and Robert of Denver, survive.
Billings Gazette, 28Aug1962
GRIZZLY FIGHTS GUIDES
TOURISTS RESCUE THE PAIR
Washington Post, Aug. 27, 1916
Ned Frost, Yellowstone park guide and noted hunter, and Edward Jones, a cook were badly injured near Lake Hotel, in Yellowstone park, in a one-sided battle with an immense grizzly bear. Frost was conducting a tourist pack train through the park, Jones being the cook. Because of park regulations the party traveled without arms. Monday night Jones discovered a male bear raiding the camp grub outfit.
BEAR RESENTS INTERFERENCE
Bears protected in the park roam unmolested and ordinarily are not vicious. So Jones did not hesitate to attempt to drive the animal away. Resenting his interference, the bear charged, hurled him 80 feet with a blow from its paw and was mauling his back when his yells brought Frost to the scene. Unarmed, but undismayed, Frost unhesitatingly went into battle attacking the enraged beast with the first weapon he could seize, a frying pan. The bear turned upon Frost and an unequal battle with the advantage all on the side of the grizzly ensued. A sweep of the bear's claws tore Frost's leg open from the hip to the knee, but he fought on floundering away from the grizzly's lunges and belaboring her with whatever he could lay his hands on.
NOISE OF BATTLE BRINGS AID
Jones, almost disabled, rejoined the fray and the two men between them succeeded in confusing the bear so it wasted its efforts in attempting to maul both at the same time. The noise of the battle brought tourists running to the camp and the bear fled. Frost and Jones were taken to the hotel where an army surgeon dressed their wounds. Later they were brought to town [Cody] in a serious condition, but are expected to recover. Frost is one of the best known of the park guides.