Scenic USA - Montana

Livingston Depot

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Livingston Depot - Livingston, Montana

Photo by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Photography
Inset photo by Jim Peaco-NPS

   Once a stepping off point for Yellowstone National Park visitors, Livingston was just 50 miles north of the Gardiner entrance. The Livingston Depot, currently a museum for historic exhibits and cultural events, placed Livingston on the Montana map. This was the hub of the Northern Pacific Railroad and Central Division headquarters. At the depot, a grand colonnade and elaborate architecture first greeted passengers from all over the world in 1902. For their trip to America's first national park, the southward spur line frequently saw a long line of Pullman Palace Car Company's observation cars, Roosevelt Arch - Yellowtone National Park, Montana later converted to open-air rubberneck cars. On their way to Gardiner, visitors followed the Yellowstone River through Paradise Valley and the grand scenery of the Absaroka Mountains. Once arriving at the Roosevelt Arch, at the end of the line, passengers continued into the park by stagecoach. It wasnít until 1916 that buses replaced the stagecoach. This procession of visitors enjoyed regular service on the rails until 1948.
   Livingston sat at the foothills of the western Rockies. The Livingston Station was a key city en route to the West; a midpoint from St. Paul to Seattle. Here, the engines were prepared to make the incredibly steep climb over Rocky Mountain passes, one of the most harrowing legs of a cross country journey.
   Here at the Gateway City, Livingston is surrounded by four majestic mountain ranges. Located on the Yellowstone River and world-class fly fishing, the town is quickly becoming known as the Gateway City of Recreation. Guests will also find a string of shops, museums, galleries and restaurants in town. The Livingston Depot Museum presents some of the best examples of the old West. Whether itís Calamity Jane, Lewis and Clark, Northern Pacific Railroad history or the area's breathtaking scenery, the recently restored Italianate-style depot serves up a broad scope of regional history and exhibits.

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