Aven Nelson, one of the University of Wyoming’s original faculty, became a world famous botanist. He founded the Rocky Mountain Herbarium on campus, which contains 1.3 million plant specimens from throughout the world. From 1917-1922, he served as university president, but was happy to return to botany when he got the chance.
Lori Van Pelt
Lori Van Pelt
Just before sunset, on Oct. 31, 1903, a sheriff’s posse and a band of Oglala Sioux families from the Pine Ridge Reservation engaged in a brief, sharp gunfight near Lightning Creek, northeast of Douglas, Wyo. Seven people died, and a U.S. Senate investigation followed.
Ever since its 1868 founding, Atlantic City, Wyo., near South Pass, has endured mining booms that brought thousands and busts so severe that only a couple of residents stayed. Of three early gold-mining towns in the area, one is a ghost town, one is a state historic site—but Atlantic City survives as a community.
In 1919, Lt. Col. Dwight D. Eisenhower and an Army truck convoy crossed Wyoming and the nation to determine the condition of the nation’s roads—which were terrible. In the 1950s, with memories of that trip vivid in his mind, President Eisenhower successfully pushed Congress to back a system of interstate highways.
Union Pacific locomotives still rumble through Cheyenne, as they first did 150 years ago. But after the railroad arrived in November 1867, skeptics questioned whether the town would last, as so many other end-of-tracks communities had died once the graders and tracklayers moved on.
Thirty or more people were killed Sept. 27, 1923, when a Chicago, Burlington & Quincy passenger train nose-dived into Cole Creek from a washed-out bridge 16 miles east of Casper, Wyo. It was the worst train wreck in the state’s history. Some of the bodies were never recovered.
The mining town of Kirwin, Wyo., once a thriving concern, held promise of gold and other riches during its heyday in the late 1800s, but went into decline in the early 1900s. The scenic beauty of the area drew aviatrix Amelia Earhart to the Double Dee Ranch nearby in the 1930s, but her dreams of a vacation cabin there were never realized.