On this day in history, September 18, 1870, explorer Nathanial Langford first documented and named the geyser Old Faithful.
Langford was part of the Washburn-Doane-Langford expedition exploring Yellowstone Park when he spotted a geyser that erupted frequently.
Langford wrote in his journal, “It spouted at regular intervals nine times during our stay, with columns of boiling water reaching heights of 90 to 125 feet. Each eruption lasted 15 to 20 minutes.”
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, SEPTEMBER 17
“We gave it the name of ‘Old Faithful’,” he wrote.
Geologist Ferdinand V. Hayden also documented Old Faithful a year later in 1871.
Hayden, the leader of the 1871 geological survey that led to the establishment of Yellowstone as a national park, wrote that “this geyser was named by Mr. N. P. Langford and well sustains the reputation given it by the Doane and Washburn expedition of 1870. It has been called the Guardian of the Valley.”
He added, “It is so regular in its operations and they occur so frequently that it has afforded unusual facilities for observation.”
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY, MARCH 1, 1872, MAJESTIC YELLOWSTONE BECOMES AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL PARK
Old Faithful remains a popular tourist attraction in northwestern Wyoming, receiving about 4 million visitors each year according to the National Parks Service.
It is located in the Upper Geyser Basin in the southwest section of Yellowstone.
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