Split Rock, a large boulder in the middle of the Gardner River, has a story. On the night of July 4, 1887, two masked highwaymen hid behind the rock, hoping to surprise the army quartermaster on his way to pay the troops. They mistakenly let the quartermaster’s buggy go by and held up a stagecoach instead. The highwaymen robbed the passengers of sixteen dollars and an unusual coin with the head of Napoleon on one side. It was this coin that eventually gave them away. One of the robbers, William James, showed the coin to some companions about two months later. This led to the arrest and subsequent imprisonment of both robbers. Ironically, the owner of the coin was Judge John F. Lacey, who later, as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, authored the act that brought law and order to Yellowstone. 2.0/3.3 Sliding Hill is an old name for the slope to the west, where keeping the road free after landslides has been a problem since the park was new.
As recently as December 1999, a slide on the east side about 6 feet (2 m) deep and 40 feet long (12 m) closed the road for several days. The river carries away the sediment as fast as it comes down, but in doing so, continually cuts away its own banks and often undercuts the road as well, especially during the spring runoff. A small lake (appropriately called Slide Lake) perches above this point; its see must contribute to the landslides.
Yellowstone Highway Robbery Photo Gallery
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