The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

A tie flume, a Prohibition case and an African-American town

A tie flume, a Prohibition case and an African-American town

August 2016

This month WyoHistory.org shows us the 1930s timber business in the Wind River Mountains, offers a look at links between bootleggers and public officials in Prohibition Wyoming and a tells the story of some African-American farmers, their high hopes and the fate of their town.

Fast chutes and high trestles carried 300,000 railroad ties per year

From 1929 to 1942, the Warm Spring Canyon tie flume carried 300,000 railroad ties per season down from mountain camps to the Wind River near Dubois, Wyo., for floating to Riverton and the railroad in big log drives each spring. The flume was abandoned in 1942; dramatic chutes and trestles remain. Read more in public historians Robert and Elizabeth Rosenberg’s account, “The Warm Spring Canyon Tie Flume.

Top Casper and Natrona County officials faced federal Prohibition charges

The onset of Prohibition in 1919 not only didn’t stop drinking in Wyoming, it added new layers of lawlessness—bribery, corruption, murder. Enforcement officials had to battle crime in their own ranks, too. One high-profile federal case charged corruption at all levels in Casper, but the jury refused to convict. Read more in WyoHistory.org Editor Tom Rea’s account that focuses on a high-profile federal case, “Booze, Cops, and Bootleggers: Enforcing Prohibition in Central Wyoming.”

African-American farming families founded a town

Two highly educated families of African-American farmers founded Empire, Wyo., in 1908 near the Nebraska line northeast of Torrington. At one time it boasted school, church and post office. But drought, low crop prices and, evidence shows, the racial prejudices of their neighbors drove the people away; all were gone by 1930. Read more in Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office intern Robert Galbreath’s account, “Making a Home in Empire, Wyo.

Travel Wyoming this summer with WyoHistory.org

As you travel Wyoming, take WyoHistory.org with you with our downloadable travel itineraries. Use QR codes in the brochure to quickly access our website on your smart phone or tablet for in-depth articles, maps, directions and photo galleries—all with info on these historic sites and landmarks.  We offer four routes, each with a brochure you can print out and take with you, featuring QR-coded links to articles about each of a dozen or so sites on the routes: Oregon Trail; Historic Southern Corridor; Black Hills to Yellowstone; and Historic Indian Wars.