In 1859-1860 Capt. William Raynolds led scientists, artists and soldiers who mapped much of present Wyoming and Montana. Their maps show a West frozen in time, home to Native people. But the maps were tools too of the nation’s sense of itself and its Manifest Destiny—to dispossess people who already lived here.
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After World War I, people in America’s fast-growing, car-purchasing middle class could afford pleasure trips and began sending home picture postcards. The cards reveal a great deal about the attitudes, class and prejudices of their senders and vendors, and hint at what Wyoming people wanted the world to see.
Fearless, determined Lizabeth Wiley served three terms in the 1920s as Greybull mayor. During her first, she opposed the Ku Klux Klan so successfully that by the term’s second half, she wrote, her job had become “tame.” Later, she weathered a bootlegging scandal and led relief efforts after a devastating flood.
Connecticut-born Edward Gillette came west 1878, eager for excitement. His expertise as a surveyor led eventually to his leading the party that located the Burlington Railroad route through northeast Wyoming. Though Gillette, Wyo., was named for him, he finally settled in Sheridan to a life of successful business and public service.
Frank Mondell’s popularity and political wit propelled him to represent Wyoming on the national stage for 13 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. Yet his legislation and political maneuvering concerning irrigation, dry farming and tribal land appropriation left a murky legacy. Read more about his life in politics.
Agnes Wright Spring believed women’s stories were “filled with romance and color;” the story of her life is no different. Undaunted by sexist barriers, Spring served as Wyoming state librarian, director of Wyoming’s Federal Writers’ Project and Colorado state historian. Read more about her dedicated and deliberate life.
“WOMAN MAYOR IS JAILED, CHARGED WITH BEATING MAN,” read the headline following 1922’s Fourth of July in tiny Cokeville, Wyo. How had the town’s new mayor, elected just a month earlier on a Prohibition and law-enforcement ticket, found herself in the middle of a street brawl?
The Historic Elk Mountain Hotel, built in 1905 by John Evans, is located beside the Medicine Bow River, a place where Overland Trail travelers made crossings during their journeys west. In the 1940s and 1950s, the hotel’s Garden Spot Pavilion became well-known for its springy dance floor and for the many big-name musicians like Hank Thompson and Louis Armstrong who played there. The hotel underwent extensive renovation in the early years of this century, and the pavilion was demolished. Guests today enjoy modern conveniences, private baths and a dining room.
A Nobel Prize, big business and scientific breakthroughs including Covid-19 tests and vaccines were decades in the future when microbiologist Thomas D. Brock began taking samples from Yellowstone Park’s hot springs in the summer of 1964.
U.S. Census taker James Clopper counted 366 people with military connections at Fort Laramie in 1860, and another 300 civilians outside fort boundaries. It weas a diverse group: Soldiers, Indians, traders and freighters lived there; stagecoaches carrying people and mail, westbound young families and a few handcart-pulling Mormons were all passing through.