Pacific music and a German cattleman

This month we feature a wave of interest in Hawaiian music and an early rancher.

Sunny tunes and South Sea breezes

Hawaiian cowboys, competing at Frontier Days in 1908, kicked off Wyoming’s Hawaiian music (and culture) craze. The “paniolo” dominated the world championships that year. Wyomingites bought ukeleles, phonographs and records and attended Hawaiian plays, musicals, dances and concerts for decades. Interest was still strong well into the 1950s. Read more in James H. Nottage’s article, “Grass Skirts and Steel Guitars: the Wyoming Craze for Hawaiian Music.”

Bighorn Basin cattle baron

In 1878, the enterprising Otto Franc described Wyoming as “the finest & wildest country . . .  abounding with fish & game.” From conflicts with rustlers through the beginnings of irrigation and the end of the open range, his Pitchfork Ranch would come to dominate Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin. Read more in Brian Beauvais’s article, “Otto Franc and the Pitchfork Ranch.”

Calendar Events

Fort Caspar Museum, Casper, Wyo.
Candlelight Christmas
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, 5:30-8:30 p.m. 
Join us in person for the return of Casper’s favorite holiday tradition: “Candlelight Christmas at the Fort.”

“We’ve had to hold our event virtually for the past two years, so we are thrilled to welcome the public back to the fort,” says fort Manager Rick Young. “All are invited to this free event where they will experience a 19th-century Christmas on the western frontier.”

See a livestream performance at 4:00 p.m. before the in-person event. Find a link to the virtual event on the Fort Caspar Museum Association’s Facebook page, or join by clicking on the link posted on the FCMA’s website. For more info call (307) 235-8462.

Dubois Museum, Dubois, Wyo.
Open House, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Take advantage of free admission to learn more history of the Dubois area. Refreshments provided by Friends of the Dubois Museum. For more information, click here.
Natrona County Historical Society 
December Banquet, Casper Country Club
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, Social hour at 5:30 p.m.; banquet at 6:00 p.m. 
Con Trumbull will present “The History of Railroads of Central Wyoming.” For more information, call or email Becky Steensland, 307-259-3350,
Campbell County Rockpile Museum, Gillette, Wyo.
Dry No More: The Repeal of Prohibition
Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, 5:30 p.m.
December 5 is known as National Repeal Day, or the day that the nation was “dry no more,” the U.S. Constitution’s Amendment 21 was ratified and Amendment 18 was repealed that day in 1933. Join us as we celebrate the event with a talk by historian Lucas Fralick about state and local Prohibition history. Fralick holds an MA in history from the University of Wyoming, works as program coordinator for Wyoming Humanities, serves on the Rockpile Museum board and has lived in Gillette for most of the last two decades. 

Appetizers will be available, and people over 21 may purchase Prohibition-era drinks. All ages are welcome at the event. Click here for more information or call 307-682-5723. 

Wyoming State Archives
Jordan Meyerl, roving archivist
Read Meyerl’s Nov. 22, 2022, blog post here.
For more information about the Roving Archivist Program, click here.

Trail End State Historic Site, Sheridan, Wyo.
Christmas with the Kendricks
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16, 17 and 18, 2022, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tour the Kendrick Mansion by electric candlelight and step back in time to see what Kendrick family members and their staff might have been doing on Christmas Eve.
First Day Hike
Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. 
Participants will walk through the northwest corner of town, including the Trail End grounds, the buffalo and elk pasture, the fairgrounds and new and historic neighborhoods. Includes several short, history-oriented talks.
Click here for more info on the two events above. 
Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Cody, Wyo.
Photographer Michael Francis book signing
Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Michael Francis will be signing copies of the books Yellowstone Collectibles and Found Photos of Yellowstone. For more information, click here.
Bob Richard: Sunlight and Crandall Country
Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Bob shares stories from the Crandall and Sunlight Basin country to the northwest of Cody. For more information, click here.
Exclusive Tours: Christmas with Winchester
Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Cody Firearms Museum Curator Danny Michael shares stories and rarely exhibited artifacts from the Cody Firearms Museum collection, showcasing the winter wonderland that is “Christmas with Winchester.” For information on the Dec. 15 event, click here. For information on the Dec. 17 event, click here.
Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, Jackson, Wyo.
Closed until Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022
Special exhibit: William Henry Jackson, Pioneer Photographer, on view through March 2023 in our Community Co-op Corner.
The exhibit “Wyoming Women” from the University of Wyoming’s American Heritage Center highlights 30 framed historical photos of Wyoming women in leadership roles in the outdoors and their communities.
For other information on these two exhibits, click here. Then scroll down.
South Pass City State Historic Site, South Pass City, Wyo.
First Day Hike
Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, 1:00 p.m.
On this hike, a guide brings history to life, talking about the day-to-day lives of miners at South Pass City. For more information, click here.
Goshen County Homesteaders Museum, Torrington, Wyo.
Teachers, take a field trip to the museum. Students will learn about our community, our history and more. For more information, click here. Then scroll down.
Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum, Casper, Wyo.
Speakers Series: Wyoming’s Wings of War
Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, 2:00 p.m.
Presented by Mike Kassel, Assistant Director, Cheyenne Old West Museum.
For more information, call the museum at 307-472-1857.