In 1869 and 1871, John Wesley Powell led two expeditions from Wyoming Territory down the Green and Colorado rivers. These and other explorations brought him to a profound understanding of how the West’s aridity limits its economic prospects. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881-1894, and his ideas still affect land and water policy today.
Mountaineer Finis Mitchell shared his love of the Wind River Range through postcards, public talks and a famed, hip-pocket hiking guide. He ran a fishing camp, worked on the railroad, stocked mountain lakes with fingerling trout and served in the Wyoming House of Representatives. Mitchell Peak was named in his honor.
Recent, surprising discoveries including a prehistoric village in the Wind River Range above Dubois, Wyo., suggest humans—most likely ancestors of today’s Shoshone people—lived high-mountain lives as long as 10,000 years ago.
Crossing what’s now Wyoming in sub-zero cold, Elizabeth Cumming suffered a badly frostbitten foot in November 1857. She and her husband Alfred—the new governor of Utah Territory—and about 2,000 U.S. troops were unsure if they’d be welcomed in Salt Lake City—or faced with armed resistance.
Three total solar eclipses have crossed Wyoming since territorial times—in 1878, 1889 and 1918. Two in particular drew prominent astronomers and scientific discoveries. These are especially interesting now, with the August 21, 2017 eclipse likely to draw huge crowds to a very different Wyoming from the one that last saw moon shadows in daytime.
Ever see the bucking horse and rider? In Wyoming you can’t miss it. The logo appears everywhere—license plates, web pages, the university, military insignia and all kinds of signage and merchandise. Ever wonder where it came from? For starters, try France—and Lander.
Patriotic feelings soared in Wyoming during the years of the Great War, bringing generosity toward the people of war-torn Europe and the soldiers who fought. Pacifists, however, and people of German heritage often suffered the scorn of fervent fellow citizens.