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.

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.

Fort Caspar

The U.S. Army established Platte Bridge Station in 1862 to protect the Oregon/California/Mormon Trail crossing of the North Platte River and the new transcontinental telegraph. After Lt. Caspar Collins was killed there by Cheyenne and Lakota Indians in 1865, the post was renamed Fort Casper, misspelling his first name. The fort was abandoned two years later, but reconstructed in 1936—and renamed Fort Caspar—with funds from the Works Progress Administration. Fort grounds and a museum are open to the public.

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.

Point of Rocks Stage Station

Point of Rocks Stage Station, 25 miles east of present Rock Springs, Wyo., was built in 1862 by the Overland Stage Company. The station was attacked and burned at least once by Indians, and stagecoach passengers were supposedly robbed and murdered nearby by the notorious outlaw and onetime stage-line superintendent Jack Slade. Point of Rocks Stage Station has been a school, freight station, store, ranch headquarters and a home. It is one of the only stage stations remaining intact on the Overland Trail. This site is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Piedmont Charcoal Kilns

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.

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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 | Devils Tower, a basalt column rising 1,267 feet above the nearby Belle Fourche River, was the nation’s first National Monument and remains important to tourists and the many tribes that hold it sacred.
Encyclopedia | Home to 19 of Wyoming’s first families, the Historic Governor’s Mansion was occupied from 1904 through 1976, opened to the public in 1977 and extensively renovated in 2004.
Encyclopedia | The Ames Monument, a 60-foot-high granite pyramid, was completed in 1882 at the highest point on the Union Pacific Railroad, to honor railroad financiers Oakes and Oliver Ames. The tracks have since been moved, but the monument is still easily visible and accessible from Interstate 80 between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyo.
Encyclopedia | Cantonment Reno, at the Powder River Crossing of the Bozeman Trail in present Johnson County, was renamed Fort McKinney after the death of Lt. J.A. McKinney in 1876. That site was abandoned in 1878, and the fort’s name moved with the troops to a new site west of present Buffalo, Wyo. The fort closed in 1894, and in 1903 the site was taken over by the Veterans’ Home of Wyoming, which remains in operation there today.
Encyclopedia | The White Mountain Petroglyphs in the Red Desert north of Rock Springs, Wyo., feature hundreds of images carved into a rock face between 1,000 and 200 years ago. The site is on Bureau of Land Management land, and is open to the public.
Encyclopedia | 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.
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.

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