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Yellowstone’s Norris Area has been the subject of extensive research and occupation. From hosting the region’s ancient inhabitants to Fort Yellowstone soldiers and park rangers, Norris has been a hotbed of activity for thousands of years.
After conducting digs at the Norris and Madison campgrounds, the Midwest Archaeological Center concluded that ancient inhabitants utilized the Norris area campsites as early as 10,000 years ago. Ancient campfire residue, bone fragments, and obsidian flakes have been discovered throughout the region. Many of these archaeological findings were unearthed along the Solfatara Trail that links Obsidian Cliff to the present-day Norris Campground.
Norris Geyser Basin Museum
Featuring beautiful stone and log architecture, the single-story Norris Geyser Basin Museum was constructed between 1929 and 1930 as one of Yellowstone’s first museums. The facility houses exhibits related to the Norris Area’s geothermal phenomena, and ranger-led programs are offered several times each day during the summer season.
Norris Soldier Station/Museum of the National Park Ranger
Nestled on the Gibbon River’s north bank, the Norris Soldier Station was originally built in 1886 to house Calvary soldiers on ski and horseback patrol duty. After a fire destroyed the station in 1897, a new structure was built that was subsequently remodeled in 1908. In 1916, the National Park Service assumed control of the station, modifying it into a ranger station and private residence. The station, one of the park’s longest occupied, remained in use until the 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake created significant structural damage. Once the building was restored in 1991, it became home to the Museum of the National Park Ranger. The history of park rangers is presented along with a few Yellowstone artifacts.