10 Great Historic Photos From U.S. National Parks

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This month marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Don’t worry if you forgot to get the NPS a gift. Instead, the organization unveiled a gift to the American public: the Open Parks Network. This collaboration with Clemson University is an archive of more than 100,000 photos from national parks history. If you love interesting photos, history, national parks, or all of the above, you’ll find this archive very entertaining. Here are a few of the gems we uncovered while surfing through the archives.


10. Bear Essentials

Credit: Open Parks Network

A visitor to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1936 has a close encounter with a bear. An estimated 1,500 bears live in the park today.


9. Roaring ’20s Camp

Credit: Open Parks Network

A group of visitors sits around their campsite at Yellowstone National Park, circa 1924. Yellowstone was established in 1872 as the first U.S. national park.


8. Teddy Roosevelt Honors a Legend

Credit: Open Parks Network

President Theodore Roosevelt greets onlookers in 1909 at the site of the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace Memorial in Hodgenville, Ky. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the memorial that day to commemorate the centennial anniversary of Lincoln’s birth. Roosevelt earned a reputation as the “conservation president” for his strong support of America’s national parks.


7. Spilled Milk

Credit: Open Parks Network

The driver of this milk truck had a very bad day when his brakes failed in Mammoth Cave National Park. The Kentucky cave is the longest known cave system in the world.


6. Grand Teton Adventure

Credit: Open Parks Network

Visitors hike in Grand Teton National Park’s Cascade Canyon in this undated photo. There are more than 240 miles of hiking trails in this popular park.


5. Always Faithful

Credit: Open Parks Network

These tourists didn’t let the Great Depression stop them from traveling to Yellowstone National Park in 1930. Then, as now, Old Faithful did not disappoint.


4. Headed For Mexico

Credit: Open Parks Network

A ship heavily loaded with U.S. troops headed for the Mexican border steams past Fort Sumter National Monument, circa 1915. The troops were en route to the border to chase Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa.


3. Welcome to the Park

Credit: Open Parks Network

A ranger welcomes a visitor to Mammoth Cave National Park in 1939.


2. Standing at the Abyss

Credit: Open Parks Network

A man peers over the edge of a huge crevasse in a glacier in Montana’s Glacier National Park.


1. Down in the Valley

Credit: Open Parks Network

Visitors get a view of Yosemite National Park’s spectacular Yosemite Valley. As naturalist John Muir noted as he lobbied for Yosemite’s creation as a national park, “No temple made with human hands can compete with Yosemite.”

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