Alberta-born Jane Galloway Demaray travels from her current home in Helena to sign copies of her new book, Yellowstone Summers: Touring with the Wylie Camping Company in America’s First National Park, at Elk River Books during the final Art Walk of the season on Friday, Sept. 25.
Demaray’s great-great uncle William Wallace Wylie established one of the first Yellowstone touring companies in 1896. He offered his Victorian vacationers week-long excursions to the park’s soon-to-be-famous geysers, hot springs and waterfalls. Even though he attracted customers with promises of comfort such as “woven wire springs under fine mattress beds” and “fine covered buggies,” his writings record accounts of dealing with bears, runaway horses and cantankerous stagecoach drivers.A historian by training, Demaray read Wylie’s manuscript while visiting her grandparents in Bozeman and longed to discover more details about this aspect of Yellowstone’s history. A move to Helena facilitated her research, resulting six years later in this book. David Wrobel, professor of history at University of Oklahoma calls it “an important story … of the fascinating politics and economics of park concessions.”
A reviewer for Big Sky Journal writes, “Wylie’s pioneering entrepreneurial spirit made a trip to Wonderland not just possible, but relatively comfortable in those early days. This book is an excellent tribute to his vision, and a fascinating piece of the history of the park.”
The signing will take place at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St., from 5:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 333-2330.