Sweetwater County’s history is as rich and diverse as its mineral wealth and population. The area became a transportation pathway, with the early pioneer trails and the transcontinental railroad and today’s Interstate 80 serving as important trade and travel routes. Mining of coal and trona and the production of oil and natural gas have been and continue to be significant industries, contributing to the county’s economic wealth and to Sweetwater County’s position as one of the top three revenue producing counties in Wyoming.
A. Dudley Gardner, professor of history and political science at Western Wyoming Community College, earned his Ph. D. from the University of New Mexico in 2000. He has written several articles and books on Wyoming—including, with Vera Flores, Forgotten Frontier: a History of Wyoming Coal Mining, (Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press, 1989). For more information, visit his website on Wyoming history.