The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Smoky skies over Wyoming

Smoky skies over Wyoming

August 2017

August, the month of fires in the West, routinely brings smoky skies to Wyoming—this year more than most. The smoke reminds us of our vast forest resources on public land. At the turn of the last century, the question of how best to manage those lands was as hot a question as it is now.
President Theodore Roosevelt made a risky choice when he appointed the wealthy, flamboyant, imperious and well-connected A.A. Anderson superintendent of the new Yellowstone Forest Reserve, just east of Yellowstone National Park. Continue reading at the link below for more on the consequences of Roosevelt’s choice.
We offer as well an article on another memorable fire—on the sagebrush plains west of the Continental Divide—when in October1857, Mormon guerrillas attacked a U.S. Army wagon train. And with high hopes that this month’s smoke won’t obscure the total solar eclipse, just days away as of this writing, we again offer our item on solar eclipses of Wyoming’s past.
Finally, from Wyoming’s historic trails, part of our ongoing collaboration with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office and TravelStorysGPS™ of Wilson, Wyo., this month we offer a new article a spot where warm water pooled in a pair of springs and thousands of emigrants, over the years, paused to rest and wash. Read on!

Conservation politics

Wealthy artist, hunter and conservationist A.A. Anderson was named superintendent of the new Yellowstone Forest Reserve in 1902. His love for wildlife habitat clashed with local timber and grazing interests, however, and, after much controversy, he lost his job. Wyoming and the nation might have benefitted if he’d found a way to bridge that gap. Read more in John Clayton’s new article, Conservation Politics: ‘Triple A’ Anderson and the Yellowstone Forest Reserve. Clayton’s new piece is a close companion to one we published in June, Yellowstone Park, Arnold Hague and the Birth of the National Forests.

Burnt wagons in the sagebrush

On Oct. 5, 1857, a band of Mormon militia attacked U.S. Army supply wagons at Simpson’s Hollow west of what’s now Farson, Wyo., burning 26 wagons and stampeding army mules. The army was advancing on Utah to enforce federal law there, and the Mormons resisted—all part of the bloodless Utah War. Read more in our new article Simpson’s Hollow, Flash Point in the Utah War

Scientists and moon shadows

Before 2017, three total solar eclipses have crossed Wyoming since territorial times—in 1878, 1889 and 1918. Two in particular drew prominent astronomers and scientific discoveries. These are especially interesting now, with the upcoming eclipse drawing people to a very different Wyoming from the one that last saw moon shadows in daytime. Read more in Rebecca Hein’s fascinating article, Moon Shadows over Wyoming: The Solar Eclipses of 1878, 1889 and 1918.

Washtub on the Oregon Trail

First described in 1842 by explorer John C. Fremont, Warm Springs, near present Guernsey, Wyo., is one of the most famous water holes on the Oregon-California Trail. Many emigrants stopped here to rest, bathe, wash clothes in the 70-degree water and carve their names on nearby sandstone bluffs. Read more in our new article, Warm Springs, Rest Spot on the Oregon Trail.