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Yellowstone Storekeepers - Pryor & Trischman - Pryor Stores

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.

The Pryor & Trischman Stores - 1908 to 1953



In the Beginning . . . 

       Anna and Elizabeth Trischman were daughters of Ft. Yellowstone post carpenter George Trischman, who came to work in the park in 1899.  Upon Ole Anderson’s retirement in 1908, Anna and husband George Pryor purchased the Specimen House at Mammoth that had opened up in 1896. They continued to employ Andrew Wald, who created beautiful sand bottles, until around 1920 or so.  In 1912 George Pryor, husband of Anna Trischman, signed over his interests in the store to Elizabeth Trischman and the business became known as Pryor & Trischman.  They soon enlarged the business and called their operation the Park Curio & Coffee Shop.  They sold ice cream, curios, souvenirs, newspapers, toiletries, coffee, tea, box lunches, and operated a bakery and soda fountain.

Specimen House, Ole Anderson
Pryor & Trischman Coffee Shop

Left: Specimen House, as purchased by Anna &  George Trischman.  Leroy Anderson Collection.

Right: Pryor & Trischman store in 1917. The addition on the left was basically a mirror image of the original store.  YNP #199718-78

 Around 1923, they jointly operated a delicatessen with George Whittaker at the new "free auto camp" at lower Mammoth. In 1925 they purchased Whittaker's share on the auto camp operation and added a cafeteria to the operation a few years later.  The business was expanded again in 1924 when the women established a small lunch stand at the Devil's Kitchen on the Mammoth Terraces, calling it the Devil's Kitchenette. 

The Devil’s Kitchen was the deep and narrow cavern of an extinct hot spring. Ladders were built into the vertical cave as early as 1881, and may have been explored with ropes even earlier.  It has been said that entering it made one feel as if descending into the depths of the underworld. It was a very popular tourist attraction until closed by the NPS in 1939

 Left: The Devil's Kitchen, undated stereoview.

 Right: Devil's Kitchenette, operated from 1924-1937

Devil's Kitchen
Devil's Kitchenette
Pryor Coffee Shop
Cafeteria Mammoth Auto Camp

Above Left: Park Curio Shop, ca1940, Kropp postcard 13978N

Above Right: Cafeteria at the Mammoth Auto Camp, 1939.  YNP #185327-414

The Business Expands . . .

In 1932 the women branched out and purchased all of George Whittaker's Yellowstone Park Store operations at Mammoth and Canyon.  His holdings included an interest in the service station business and general stores at both locations.  They now held a monopoly on the store business in the northern portion of the park, with the exception of the Haynes Photo Shops.  Charles Hamilton remained in control of the stores in the southern portion of the park. 

The Pryor & Trischman stores incorporated in 1946 and became known as Pryor Stores, Inc.  Anna Pryor held a 2/3 interest in the business, while her sister owned the other third.  Formed on October 1, Pryor was President and Trischman Secretary. 

Pryor Store at Canyon
Pryor Store Gas Station Canyon

Above Left: Canyon General Store, 1940s. YNP #47-84

Above Right: Canyon Service Station, 1940s.  YNP #47-834

Pryor Stores paper pennant
Pryor Stores paper pennant
Park Curio Shop advertising card
Park Stores decal

Time for retirement . . .

Six years later, after 45 years in business, the women decided to retire and sold out to Charles Hamilton in 1953 for $333,000. According to an insurance audit in September 1950, the Pryor Stores’ property at Mammoth consisted of the Park Curio Shop itself, with a single-story garage and warehouse located behind it, and the general store, service station and single-story employee dormitory located at the rear. Also at Mammoth were the general store, gas station, cafeteria, and dormitory facilities at the Mammoth Auto Camp. The Canyon properties consisted of the single-story general store and gas station, which housed the post office, soda fountain, residence, storage, and a two-story dormitory building located nearby. The women ended up with a profit of just over $100,000 and retired to their home in Los Angeles.

Elizabeth Trischman - Anna Pryor

Elizabeth Trishman (left) & Anna Pryor (right) at their home in Los Angeles, 1950s, YNP #122107

Anna Pryor died in Los Angeles in 1973 at age 89, and Elizabeth Trischman followed in 1984 at age 98.

The Canyon store and gas station were torn down in the early '60s as part of the Mission 66 plan to create a new Canyon Village.  The Pryor Coffee Shop at Mammoth was razed in 1984, supposedly due to potential health and safety concerns.  The General Store at Mammoth was run by Hamilton Stores until the end of 2002,when Delaware North won the competitive bid process and took over operation of the park stores.  The current Mammoth store is the only remaining building in the park from the Pryor & Trischman operation.

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