|The Campfire Entertainment,
| Haynes Postcard
Caption on back:
Campfire entertainment is an established evening feature of many of the Lodges in Yellowstone Park. Entertainment, presented by the Lodge employees, consists of pantomimes, theatricals, song fests, and campfire stories to the accompaniment of a huge, crackling pine campfire.
As early as the 1890s, Wylie Camping Company began the tradition of having park employees entertain visitors in various ways, including songfests and impromptu entertainment. This campfire tradition was adopted by Yellowstone's lodges and continued until World War II, but became less popular during the 1950s, and finally ended in the 1960s. Booklets were printed and sold with the lyrics of many camp songs, some patriotic, others sentimental, and some just plain silly. After a number of "generic" singalongs such as "Old Kentucky Home," "Love's Old Sweet Song," and "Dixie," each of Yellowstone's lodges had a section with its own songs. In a 1920s-era songbook, one of the selections for the Old Faithful Lodge, for instance, was this song, to be sung to the tune of "O My Darling Clementina":
There's a camp up in the mountains
With the fir trees all about,
Years ago they named it Faithful;
It's the best without a doubt.
Cheer for Faithful, cheer for Faithful,
She's the finest of them all
Here we live just like a savage
From the Spring until the Fall.
The song booklet contained some original work, such as the song "Take Me Back to Those Yellowstone Days" credited to Yellowstone employee "Mildred Lund, Old Faithful '22 and '23," who wrote, in part:
I can picture the campfires bright,
All those wonderful, fair moonlight nights;
I've been waiting so long,
Just to join in that song;
Take me back to those Yellowstone days.
On a more educational level, Yellowstone's ranger campfire programs were a regular feature of the trailside museums of the 1930s, where park naturalists conducted evening campfire talks illustrated with lantern slides. That tradition survives today in some areas of Yellowstone, where ranger naturalists still hold evening family campfire programs during the main summer tourist season. When visiting the park look for scheduled times and locations in the center section of "Yellowstone Today, " Yellowstone's official park newspaper, which you will receive upon paying the entrance fee.
Sources: A Yellowstone Album, Lee H. Whittlesey and the Yellowstone Staff (Roberts Rinehart Publishers).
Songs of the Yellowstone Park Lodges - (1920s era), published by Yellowstone Park Company.
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