The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Thirteen ways to think about Reshaw’s Bridge

Thirteen ways to think about Reshaw’s Bridge

Quiz Yourself

Here are some questions to ask before you visit Reshaw’s Bridge, while you’re there, and again after you return:

  1. Early accounts say the original Reshaw’s Bridge was 1,000 feet long. How wide is the river now, do you think?
  2. Why did the original bridge need to be that long?
  3. Why was the bridge so important to the pioneers?
  4. What was the Oregon Trail? The California Trail? The Mormon Trail? Were they separate trails or all one road at this point? 
  5. How long did the pioneers follow the North Platte River? How many times did they cross the North Platte River?
  6. Assuming a wagon train was heading west from Missouri or Iowa, how long would they have been traveling at this point?
  7. How far did they have to go to reach Oregon? To reach California? To reach Utah?
  8. Looking at the reproduction bridge in Reshaw’s Park in Evansville, Wyo., can you imagine the original bridge? How would it have been different? How the same?
  9. What was life like for the travelers who camped here with their wagon trains?
  10. What was life like for the people who lived and worked at the trading post here?
  11. What was life like for the soldiers who lived here?
  12. The Richard brothers collected tolls for the wagons and livestock that crossed their bridge. Can you work up a rough estimate of how much money they made in a year? See the Jefferson Glass article about the bridge for clues.
  13. Besides bridge tolls, what other ways did the Richard brothers make money? What does that tell us about life here in the 1850s?

THERE ARE TONS of more good questions a person could ask about Reshaw’s Bridge.

SEND US three interesting Reshaw's Bridge questions of your own. Be sure to identify your school and classroom teacher or note if you are home schooled when you send in questions. Contact editor@wyohistory.org for information on a 2014-2015 contest for submitting the most questions.

Note to teachers:

This lesson addresses a number of the Wyoming State Social Studies Standards detailed in the 2013 draft of Wyoming Social Studies Content and Performance Standards, benchmarked for the ends of grades 2, 5, 8 and 12. All are available at http://edu.wyoming.gov/sf-docs/publications/DRAFT_2013_Social_Studies_Standards.pdf?

More specifically, the lesson addresses Content Standard 4, Time, Continuity and Change, under which students analyze events, people, problems, and ideas within their historical contexts, and Content Standard 5, People, Places and Environments, under which students apply their knowledge of the geographic themes (location, place, movement, region, and human/environment interactions) and skills to demonstrate an understanding of interrelationships among people, places, and environment.

Under Content Standard 4, the lesson addresses standards SS5.4.4. SS8.4.4 and SS12.4.4, which call for students to discuss, identify or describe historical interactions between and among individuals, families, and cultural/ethnic groups, and standards SS5.4.5, SSD8.4.5 and 12.4.5, which call for students to understand the difference between primary and secondary sources, and how to use them in their research.

Under Content Standard 5, this lesson addresses the Human Place and Movement standards SS2.5.3, SS5.5.3 (which specifically mentions American Indians and the Oregon Trail), SS8.5.3 and SS12.5.3, and the Environment and Society standards SS2.5.4, SS5.5.4, SS8.5.4 and SS12.5.4, which call on students to understand how people in Wyoming adjust and have adjusted to their physical and geographical environment.