On November 12, 1907, The Oregon Short Line of the Union Pacific Railroad was completed to the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park. Soon after that, three special use permits for operating businesses adjacent to the railroad right of way were granted by the U.S. Forest Service. One of those persons receiving a permit was Samuel Peter Eagle, then in partnership with Alex Stuart. Together, they opened a general store in 1908 which operated for two years, after which the Stuart family went into business for themselves. The Eagle Family has continued to operate at 3 Canyon Street in its original location to this day. The West Yellowstone Post Office was housed in the store from 1910 until 1935. Also, a soda fountain was added to Eagle's Store in 1910.
The present three story building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in the years between 1927 and 1930. The tiled front counter was added to the soda fountain in the early part of 1930. Adjacent to the store were several rental units; these businesses included a barber shop, meat market, barbecue, cafeteria, photo shop, and auto garage. These shops were replaced by a store addition in 1966. Although the line of merchandise has changed since the early days of 1908, the same friendly service has been maintained over the years. We are sure you'll enjoy your visit to this long established business.
The Stuarts and the Eagles spent the winter of 1907-1908 together in San Diego, California. On March 27, 1908, Sam Eagle received a letter approving his application for a special use permit to build a store on U.S. Forest Service land; the Union Pacific Railroad had just been completed to the west boundary of Yellowstone Park. Charles Arnet, Sam Eagle, and Dick Murray had each been granted special use permits for one-acre sites abutting the railroad property. Later they were required to relinquish these permits, which were then amended to apply to townsite lots. Alex Stuart was present in June 1908 for the driving of the first spike of the townsite survey.
The Eagles and the Stuarts became business partners. Alex oversaw the building of the store during May and June of 1908. He and the women agreed to run the store that summer. Sam Eagle went back to his summer job at the Fountain Hotel. The store business for the summer of 1908 (June 29 to September 10) totaled $519.50, including $48.60 "sales by Sam." These "sales" included tobacco, candy, and fishing tackle that Sam peddled at the U.S. Army camp, located on the south bank of Nez Perce Creek, during his occasional horseback trips to the "boundary." During the winter of 1908-1909, both families had winterkeeper jobs, the Stuarts at Old Faithful and the Eagles at the Fountain Hotel. In the summer of 1909, Alex worked at the Old Faithful Hotel, while Sam and the women ran the store.
On November 17, 1909 Sam Eagle was appointed Postmaster. Eagle took over the actual operation of the post office in January of 1910, which was the beginning of his 25 years of tenure. With financial backing from his uncle, Alex Stuart purchased the Arnet store in 1909. By the middle of May, 1910, the store was reopened under the Stuart's name. The Stuarts and the Eagles continued as friendly competitors for many years.