Exerpt from August 19, 1946 Life Magazine.
Park Has Busiest Tourist Summer
Back in the 1840s when Jim Bridger used to talk about Yellowstone, he would describe the petrified elk in the petrified forests, and the petrified traveler who, slipping from a mountaintop, was saved because the law of gravity was also petrified. Jim spun these yarns because nobody would believe the things he had actually seen: steaming geysers and mud volcanoes, a waterfall twice as high as Niagara. Yellowstone remained for years a sort of joke book borderland at a back entrance of hell. It was not until 1870 that an official expedition visited Yellowstone, confirmed its wonders and promptly sat down to discuss splitting them up into private monopolies. But one man, Judge Cornelius Hedges, stoutly said that it should be preserved as a national public park run by the U. S. Two years later it became one, the first and still the largest (3,472 square miles) in America. That year 5,000 visitors came. This summer, Yellowstone's biggest, there have already been more than half a million. They come by plane, car, rail, bus and motorcycle from every state in the Union. They camp out or sleep in trailer parks ($1), tourist huts ($1.25 up), lodges ($5 up with food) or hotels ($3.50 up). The postcards they buy would make a pile higher than the Empire State Building.