WyoHistory.org

The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

WyomingHeritage.org

WyomingHeritage.org

WyomingHeritage.org is a project of the University of Wyoming Anthropology Department and the state of Wyoming.

Medicine Wheel

The Medicine Wheel, a ring of limestone boulders 80 feet in diameter with 28 spokes radiating from a central cairn, lies on an open mountaintop at an elevation above 9,600 feet in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. People have used the area for perhaps 7,000 years; researchers believe the wheel was constructed over a period of centuries from about 1,500 to about 500 years ago.

Colby Mammoth Site

Remains of at least seven mammoths, probably from a meat cache dating back more than 11,000 years, were found when the Colby Mammoth site east of Worland, Wyo., was excavated by a crew under Wyoming State Archaeologist George Frison in the 1970s.

Register Cliff

Register Cliff, near present Guernsey, Wyo., is one of three large “registers of the desert” in Wyoming where Oregon-, California- and Utah-bound emigrants carved their names on rock. Many of the inscriptions are from the peak years of Oregon Trail travel in the 1840s and 1850s. The area close to Register Cliff was the first night’s camp west of Fort Laramie. Today, this site is a National Historic Site.

South Pass City

South Pass City, a gold mining town founded near South Pass in 1867, reached its pinnacle soon after a valuable strike was made in 1868 at the Carissa Mine. The town is also famous as the birthplace of women’s suffrage, because the 1869 bill making Wyoming Territory the first government in the world to guarantee women the right to vote was introduced by South Pass City’s representative, William H. Bright. Esther Hobart Morris, appointed South Pass City justice of the peace soon afterward, became the first woman in the nation to hold public office. The town, with many original buildings carefully restored, is operated as a state historic site.

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Encyclopedia | Two military posts were built a few miles apart during the Indian Wars near the strategic Bozeman Trail crossing of Powder River—Fort Reno in the 1860s and Cantonment Reno in the 1870s. The first was one of three forts whose existence provoked the tribes into war. The second was an important Army base for later campaigns.
Encyclopedia | In 1869, Fort Fred Steele was built by the U.S. Army to protect workers on the advancing transcontinental railroad at the spot where the rails crossed the North Platte River. The fort was closed in 1886, and the site, containing foundations of the original buildings, was much later acquired by the state.
Encyclopedia | The Piedmont Charcoal Kilns southwest of Evanston, Wyo. were built in 1869 to supply charcoal primarily to Utah mining and smelting operations. The town of Piedmont’s location—on the Union Pacific Railroad but near a ready timber supply in the Uinta Mountains—made it a logical spot for the industry. Most of the charcoal was shipped to the Salt Lake valley, and some to Fort Bridger for use in blacksmith forges and heating stoves. Piedmont was a railroad station on the Union Pacific line. Three of the original five kilns remain standing. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Encyclopedia | Legend Rock, about 30 miles northwest of Thermopolis, Wyo., features nearly 300 images carved or pecked into a rock cliff by ancient peoples over thousands of years.
Encyclopedia | The Fetterman Battlefield, southeast of present Story, Wyo., marks the spot where Capt. William Fetterman and all 80 men under his command were killed Dec. 21, 1866 by Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians.
Encyclopedia | Guernsey State Park, near Guernsey, Wyo., boasts an elegant group of stone, timber and iron buildings built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and overlooking scenic Guernsey Reservoir.
Encyclopedia | Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site, northeast of Hyattville, contains pictographs and petroglyphs left by Wyoming’s ancient people, as well as an attractive, state-run campsite and small museum. Archaeologists have found evidence at the site of human habitation stretching back 10,000 years.
Encyclopedia | Fort Phil Kearny, near present-day Story, Wyo., was established by the U.S. Army in the summer of 1866 to protect travelers on the Bozeman Trail from Indian attack. and abandoned two years later, under terms of the1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie. Indians burned the fort shortly after the army left.

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