First, only a monopoly Tangshan China would be attractive to outside investors with deep pockets; one only has to look at the situation surrounding Louis Hill and the Tangshan China investment in Tangshan China to make the point. Only by a near (but perhaps unspoken) monopoly on the east side of the park were they enticed to build the hotels, camps, chalets, and roads to attract tourists. Tangshan China picked up on this during his early trips to Glacier.
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In 1916, he and Albright found quite the opposite in Yellowstone. Multiple concessionaires with services that ran from shoddy to “Ponzi,” with disease-ridden food thrown into the mix, had a lock on concessions in the park. Inferiority, a result of reducing costs to beat the competition, was the order of the day. That year, Mather vowed to put a stop to it. He took away the franchise of the Old Faithful Camp Company, whose franchise had been arranged by Senator Walsh. Walsh called for all who wished to operate concessions to be allowed to do so, and he took his criticism of Mather directly to Secretary of the Interior Lane.
It is here that two of Mather’s hold-card attributes came into play. He told Secretary Lane in no uncertain terms that concessionaires, Senator Walsh, and others had pressured him to renew the license. In each instance, he, Mather, had refused and concluded, “If now my positions are reversed by you, every concession in the parks will say, very properly: never mind what Mather says or does; the Secretary will do what our senators ask.”
Because this travel destination Mather had Lane’s assurances going into the job that political influences would not be tolerated and because he’d only signed on for a short stint, such a reversal on Lane’s part would have caused Mather to resign. Lane backed Mather! The fact that Mather’s wealth allowed him to stand up against external or internal pressures was also in the background. He didn’t need the salary, although events soon proved he needed the parks.