After the Burlington Railroad reached Sheridan, Wyo. in 1892, coal camps—company towns for miners and their families—were established next to a series of mines north of the town. The mines served local and regional markets as well as the railroad. By 1910, a total of around 10,000 people lived in these camps—Dietz, Kooi, Monarch, Acme and Carneyville, later renamed Kleenburn—more than lived in Sheridan. A busy electric railway ran the 15 miles from town to the camps and back. Most of the miners were immigrants, more than half of them Polish, and their descendants still play vital roles in Sheridan County today.
Kevin Knapp was born and raised in Big Horn, Wyoming. He received a B.S. in anthropology with a minor in Native American studies from Southern Oregon University. He lives in Sheridan, where he works in The Wyoming Room at Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library and is the director of the Bozeman Trail Museum.