Gardiner, Montana

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Gardiner, Montana
Downtown, February 1999
Downtown, February 1999
Location of Gardiner, Montana
Location of Gardiner, Montana
Coordinates: 45°2′13″N 110°42′50″W / 45.03694°N 110.71389°W / 45.03694; -110.71389
Country United States
State Montana
County Park
 • Total 3.9 sq mi (10.0 km2)
 • Land 3.8 sq mi (9.8 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 5,259 ft (1,603 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 875
 • Density 224.9/sq mi (86.8/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 59030
Area code(s) 406
FIPS code 30-29950
GNIS feature ID 0783830

Gardiner is a census-designated place (CDP) in Park County, Montana, United States, along the 45th parallel. The population was 875 at the 2010 census.

Gardiner was officially founded in 1880, but the area has served as a main entrance to Yellowstone National Park since its creation in 1872. Parks' Fly Shop, one of the oldest fly shops and guiding operations in the Yellowstone area, was started by Merton Parks in 1953. Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center, which opened May 18, 2005 is located in Gardiner, MT and houses National Park Service archives, Yellowstone museum collections and reference libraries.[1][2]


The name Gardiner derives from Johnson Gardner, a fur trapper who operated in the area in 1830-31. He named the lush headwaters valley of today's Gardner River Gardner's Hole. Originally, named Gardner's Fork, the river took on Gardner's name although prospectors and explorers who visited the area later in the century were unaware of the trapper Johnson Gardner. In 1870, when the Washburn-Langford-Doane Expedition passed through the area they began calling the river Gardiner—a phonetic error. Hiram M. Chittenden (1895) and Nathaniel P. Langford (1905) confirmed this spelling in their accounts of the expedition.[3]

When the Hayden Geological Survey of 1871 passed through the Gardiner area they encountered two men, named J.C. McCartney and H. R. Horr, that had laid claim to 320 acres (1.3 km2) and established a ranch and bath house on the Mammoth terraces near Liberty Cap. These entrepreneurs eventually established a primitive hotel at Mammoth and were not evicted from the area until many years after the park was established.[4] McCartney also went by the name Jim Gardiner and received messages, consignments and such destined for guests of his hotel addressed to: Jim on the Gardiner. On February 9, 1880, a territorial post office was established just outside the park boundary and the beginning of Gardiner, Montana took place.[3]

In 1883, the Northern Pacific Railway completed the extension of their Park Branch Line from Livingston, Montana to Cinnabar north of Gardiner. In 1903, the line was extended to Gardiner.[5] Railroad service to Gardiner was discontinued in 1948.


Gardiner is located at 45°2′13″N 110°42′50″W / 45.03694°N 110.71389°W / 45.03694; -110.71389 (Gardiner, Montana)Coordinates: 45°2′13″N 110°42′50″W / 45.03694°N 110.71389°W / 45.03694; -110.71389 (Gardiner, Montana) (45.036837, -110.713768).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 3.9 square miles (10 km2), of which, 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (2.32%) is water. Quite a few of the residents either work in, or have at one time, worked in Yellowstone.


As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 851 people, 435 households, and 210 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 224.9 people per square mile (86.9/km²). There were 497 housing units at an average density of 131.3 per square mile (50.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.30% White, 0.35% African American, 1.41% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.47% of the population.

There were 435 households out of which 22.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.0% were married couples living together, 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 51.5% were non-families. 43.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.96 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 20.8% under the age of 18, 2.9% from 18 to 24, 40.5% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $30,125, and the median income for a family was $46,071. Males had a median income of $30,240 versus $17,614 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,810. About 3.4% of families and 8.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.8% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Images of Gardiner, Montana
McCartney's Hotel - Precursor of the Gardiner settlement 
Gardiner, Park County, Montana, Looking North East, 1887. A one-sided street backed up to rocky foothills 
Northern Pacific Railway Terminal Postcard, F. Jay Haynes 
Parks' Fly Shop, 2nd Street, 2009 
Park Street, October 2009 with Roosevelt Arch 
Red's Blue Goose 
Tinker's Cemetery, just north of town in Yellowstone National Park 


Schools in Gardiner include:[8]

  • Gardiner School (Grades K-6; 101 Students)
  • Gardiner 7-8 School (Grades 7-8; 44 Students)
  • Gardiner High School (Grades 9-12; 85 Students)


AM radio FM radio Television
KPRK 1340 KISN 96.7 KUSM 9 PBS
KMMS 1450 KOZB 97.5
KBOZ-FM 99.9
KXLB 100.7
KZMY 103.5
KBZM 104.7
KSCY 106.9

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Yellowstone National Park Heritage and Research Center". Retrieved 2009-12-19. 
  2. ^ "Heritage and Research Center". National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-12-09. 
  3. ^ a b Haines, Aubrey L. (1996). Yellowstone Place Names-Mirrors of History. Niwot, Colorado: University Press of Colorado. pp. 24–27. ISBN 0-87081-382-X. 
  4. ^ Culpin, Mary Shivers (2003). For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People: A History of Concession Development in Yellowstone National Park-1872-1966. Yellowstone National Park, WY: Yellowstone Center for Resources. 
  5. ^ Haines, Aubrey L. (1996). Yellowstone Place Names-Mirrors of History. Niwot, Colorado: University Press of Colorado. p. 253. ISBN 0-87081-382-X. 
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  8. ^ "City-Data Gardiner, MT". Retrieved 2009-12-19. 

External links[edit]