Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Old Postcard Wednesday--Pryor Coffee Shop, Yellowstone Park, Wyoming

The only information I found online about the history of the Pryor Coffee Shop and its proprietors is really interesting stuff. But the creator of the website has a strict copyright notice at the top of the page that I will, of course, honor. If you go to Geyser Bob's Yellowstone Park Historical Service and scroll down to the paragraph titled Pryor & Trischman you can read the brief but fascinating paragraph that fills you in on the details. For those of you who don't have the time to do that and who may be thinking: hmmmm, wonder if the coffee shop is still in existence.......the answer is no; it was razed in 1984.

Was George Pryor of Pryor Coffee Shop fame a descendant of Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor who was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition? That is certainly possible, although I cannot quickly determine if that is true. If my last name was Pryor I would most definitely do some genealogical tracing to see if my roots included Nathaniel Pryor. The Pryor Mountains south of Billings along the Montana-Wyoming border were named for him:
The Pryor Mountains were named after Sergeant Nathaniel Pryor of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which traveled down the nearby Yellowstone River Valley in 1806.  The Pryor mountain range is actually an extension of the Bighorn Mountains but is separated from the Bighorns by the Bighorn Canyon.  For centuries, the Pryors were home to small bands of American Indians.    - from Bureau of Land Management website,

The Pryor Mountains region has America's first public Wild Horse Range (38,000 acres), Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Herd. Of all the links in this post if you have time to click on only one I suggest the one for the Pryor horses, even if it may not have anything to do with the Pryor Coffee Shop! There are images of the most spectacularly beautiful animals. It was difficult for me to learn of the controversial roundup of many of these horses in September 2009. The Billings Gazette reported :

. . . The removal [was] the largest in the herd's history and is meant to reduce pressure on the animal's habitat, mountains that climb to more than 8,000 feet and high desert that receive as little as 6 inches of rain a year. BLM's experts say the range cannot support such a large herd without ecological damage. Wild horse advocates claim the horses and the range are doing fine.

The culled animals [were] offered for adoption . . .

I wondered about how Yellowstone was named Yellowstone. This answer is from the Yellowstone National Park History Page:

Yellowstone's name is historically credited to the Native Americans who lived in and around the park area. The name is basically derived from the Yellowstone River. The Yellowstone River has high yellow rock cliffs along its banks in the northern area of the present day park. The Native American Minnetaree tribe called the river "Mi tsi a da zi," which means "Rock Yellow River." French fur trappers translated this to "Yellow Rock" or "Yellow Stone." Hence Yellowstone was named. In 1872 Yellowstone National Park was established making it the world's first national park.

Finally, a modern-day self-described "Bonnie and Clyde" were thought to be hiding in Yellowstone Park over the past few days. News reports I read vary at this point, with some reporting them to still be at Yellowstone while other news sources say they are thought to have moved on (how do they determine that?). In any case, we know they can't stop at the Pryor Coffee Shop to terrorize customers, but there are plenty of other coffee shops around the area -- and plenty of other businesses, homes, campsites, etc. -- so be on the lookout for this pair if you around Montana and Wyoming:

John Charles McCluskey ..................and........................ Casslyn Welch.

(KULR-TV) BILLINGS - There's a massive, multi-state manhunt taking place for two escaped convicts and a female accomplice. Authorities said they might be hiding out in or near Montana.

The U.S. Marshall Service said they have reason to believe the group is somewhere in or near Yellowstone National Park.

Police said 45-year-old John Charles Mcluskey and 42-year-old Tracy Province {note: Tracy Province was captured in Wyoming on 8-9-10} escaped from the Arizona State Prison on July 30th. Both men are convicted murderers and were serving lengthy terms for crimes. Forty-three year old Cassyln Welch is also believed to be assisting the men in their escape.

These escapees are considered armed and extremely dangerous. If you have any information on these fugitives, you are asked to call the police immediately.



Don't Feed The Pixies said...

ok - so firstly Edward Hopper is one of my favourite painters and i can just see him stopping off at this cafe, possibly for some fried green tomatoes, and painting the scene

Again, sad to see a building like this go

We went to one of the national parks in the usa when we visited a long, long, long time ago - all i can remember is very, very, very tall trees

Darlene said...

One of the fugitives has been caught. It will be a relief when the other one and his 'moll' are back behind bars.

I have only been to Yellowstone Park one time; 46 years ago to be exact. It was the first of September and cold. We rented a primitive cabin with no heat. A few experiences like that make me appreciate Arizona heat.

Debbie Smith said...

Love this postcard! My first trip to Yellowstone was in the early 1980s and there are still so many wonderful historic buildings throughout the park.
I'm so glad you enjoyed the snow covered bison. I do have more pictures of them if you would like to see them on my share site in the album "Yellowstone"
Have a fabulous day!

naomi dagen bloom said...

Lydia, Comforting to read another local blogger who gets almost the entire kitchen sink into one post.

If only your question was known to me yesterday. Took our grandson to Fort Clatsop,Oregon, near Astoria--final western stop for Lewis & Clark. Park rangers and volunteers (cheer here for retired people) are so well-informed that maybe they'd know of a Pryor connection.

Lydia said...

DFTP~ You were most likely at Sequoia National Park when you were a kid. I still haven't been through that park. But we have three giant Sequoias in our back's an honor to share space with them.
I love Hopper too and you are right about this postcard in relation to his artistic eye.

Debbie Smith~ Thank you for a link to more bison photos. I will go take a look. They are one of my favorite animals and one is kept as a pet on property between our house and Salem. I always roll down the window and greet him/her when I drive by. I could never eat buffalo, even if I ate red meat...which I do not!

naomi~ Oh, isn't Fort Clatsop a great place to visit?! My mother and I spent a full day there years ago and it is distinct in my memory. I agree about the employees there. We heard one give a talk about life there while he was in character--marvelous. I remember a canoe carved out of one huge log that was resting on the river bank, as if the men were just ahead in the forest...
Pryor was one of the journal keepers, so I bet at least one of them is there on display. I too wish I'd had this post out before you went!

Lydia said...

Darlene~ Your memory of your trip to Yellowstone seems fresh....brrrr.
Darn, I wish I'd saved one of the articles I read last night about the fugitives. It was in a small town AZ newspaper online, and the writing seemed straight out of the wild wild West. I'm glad they didn't hang around your area, and I sure hope the pair is captured before they hurt anyone else.



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