The President Arthur Expedition of 1883
By Robert Hartley
Cover artwork: Chromolithograph; The Castle Geyser, Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, 1875. Artist: Thomas Moran (1837-1926); Louis Prang, publisher. Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming. Gift of Clara S. Peck. 18.71.3 Cover design by A.J. HartleyFor most of August 1883 a military expedition headed by President Chester A. Arthur and guided by Lt. Gen. Philip Sheridan crossed 500 miles of lightly settled Wyoming Territory. The goal was to reach Yellowstone National Park and tour it before returning to civilization. Arthur was the first president to visit the park, and the only president to make an extensive overland march, mostly on horseback. A primary objective of the expedition was to raise the awareness of U.S. citizens to the attractions along the route, and the need for preservation of the park, which was threatened by vandalism, commercial development, and official neglect.
In the words of those who chronicled it. . .
"The most elaborate expedition that ever passed through this region."
Hiram M. Chittenden,
author of "The Yellowstone National Park."
"It will be a fine trip. Perfectly safe and comfortable"
Lt. General Philip Sheridan
"We are confident that this pleasure trip will next winter, in Washington, bear abundant fruit."
George Bird Grinnell
"The weather is cool, the air delicious and invigorating, and the scenery is grand."
Associated Press Dispatch