Jim Brown

Jim Brown grew up in Connecticut and holds degrees from Williams College and the University of Southern California, where in 1968 he received a Ph.D. in geology. He joined Conoco as an exploration geologist and worked in Alaska, Colombia, California, Oklahoma City and Denver before transferring to Casper in 1979, where his sons Andrew and Matthew started school. In 1982 he took a Casper College course in Wyoming history, taught by the great storyteller Bill Bragg. Jim transferred overseas in 1984 and returned to Casper 15 years later following exile in London, Scotland, Texas and Oklahoma. He is now retired but maintains an office outside the home to the relief of his wife, Karen. He maintains an interest in Wyoming history, having for the past eight years volunteered in various efforts to locate the site of the Battle of Red Buttes (July 26,1865) west of Casper.

A short line with a short life, the 40-mile-long Wyoming North and South Railroad began quietly during the oil-boom years of the 1920s. It helped the Salt Creek area thrive for a time, but unsound construction, better roads for cars and trucks, bad weather and the Great Depression sealed its demise.

Wyoming gets its name from a green valley in northeast Pennsylvania originally purchased from the Iroquois by a Connecticut land company. An Ohio congressman in 1865 first proposed the name—but later, after he saw our dry, wide plains, he wasn’t so sure he’d had the right idea.