When Yellowstone first became a National Park, poachers acted with impuity. Souvenir hunters brazenly broke off pieces of geysers. The National Park Service and it's rangers were still many years away.
Enter the U.S. Cavalry - literally - like something out of an old western movie to save the day.
When it became evident that the Cavalry's presence would be long term, the errection of Fort Yellowstone, a series of lodgings and other facilities adjacent to Mammoth Hot Springs, was the result.
The handsome complex can be explored either by a self-guided tour or an evening Ranger tour, which I highly recommend. The Ranger tour covers the Cavalry history and building usage, and touches on the creative ways the Cavalry had to deal with offenders when the then current laws had not caught up with their function yet. Some of the buildings are still used today by higher-level NPS personnel - and "guests" of Yellowstone's still functioning jail.
As with the Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel a short walk away, Fort Yellowstone is an excellent place to view Black-billed Magpies and - at dusk and dawn - Elk. Take care while walking between buildings not to accidentally startle these magnificent but potentially dangerous megafauna.
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