The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Beethoven, a Boundary Survey and a Black and Yellow Road

Beethoven, a Boundary Survey and a Black and Yellow Road

January 2021

This month, we feature two Beethoven anniversary concerts, a crew marking a straight line through jagged country and early automobile access across northern Wyoming.

Home-grown orchestras perform Beethoven

In the fall of 1970, two community orchestras in Wyoming celebrated the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. At a time of dedicated local involvement, audience turnout was good and civic pride for these performances overflowed. Read more in Rebecca Hein’s article “Beethoven’s Birthday in Wyoming.”

Hacking off branches and losing provisions

Through some of Wyoming’s roughest terrain in 1874, future Gov. William A. Richards surveyed the western boundary of the territory. Felling trees, clambering through canyons, dodging lightning bolts and watching mules flip from cliffs were only a few of the challenges he and his party endured. Read more in Lucia McCreery’s article “'The Roughest Mountains & Deepest Cañons:' William Richards and the Boundary Survey of 1874.”

Scenic stretches with tourist attractions

As mass production of automobiles increased the demand for better roads, federal highway funds became available to states and “good roads” committees pioneered the identification, improvement and naming of likely tourist routes. Among the first of these, from the Black Hills to Yellowstone, was the Black and Yellow Trail. Read more in Robert G. and Elizabeth L. Rosenberg’s article “‘Let Us Ramble:’  Exploring the Black and Yellow Trail in Wyoming.”

Timely Books

A Story Nearly Told: Histories of a Wyoming Homestead, by Christine Scoggan Gillette. Published by author, 2020, 322 pages. $25.00 paperback. This history of the Dumbrill Ranch in Weston County by a niece of longtime Wyoming State Historical Society members Dick and Lucille Dumbrill collects first-hand stories and accounts of one family’s experiences homesteading on the Wyoming prairie, starting in 1910. The book describes sheep raising, bentonite mining, land reclamation, cattle grazing and more.  The narrative interweaves stories of families, relationships, music and how all have worked together to preserve the ranch for over a century. Both Dick, now deceased, and Lucille Dumbrill have served the historical society in many ways. This book will help to continue their family history for many years to come.

Empire: The Pioneer Legacy of an American Ranch Family, by Jefferson Glass. Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., A Twodot Book, 2020. $26.95 hardcover. WSHS member Glass’s new book describes how Martin Gothberg wisely invested in the future of the young frontier. He started with a 160-acre homestead near what’s now Casper in 1885 and expanded and developed the ranch until eventually it covered tens of thousands of acres of deeded land. Glass, who has written a number of books on Wyoming history and an article for WyoHistory.org on Reshaw’s Bridge, brings to life through the Gothberg family the history and changing economy of the West.

Union Pacific’s Cheyenne Facilities, 1868-2015, by James Ehernberger and A.J. Wolff. Withers Publishing, 2015. 128 pages, $79.95. WSHS members Ehernberger and Wolff look at the Union Pacific Railroad’s Cheyenne facilities from the steam era though today’s modern diesels. This beautiful book is a mix of black-and-white and color images showing buildings, locomotives and the people that maintain the UP fleet of equipment. Perfect for the train lover in all of us.

Homesteading and Ranching in the Upper Green River Valley, by Ann Chambers Noble and Jonita Sommers. Laguna Beach, Cal.: Laguna Wilderness Press, 2020. 329 pages, $55. WSHS members Noble and Sommers, both WyoHistory authors and both members of longtime ranching families in the Green River Valley, discuss the extensive history of ranches and homesteads on the many drainages near the river’s headwaters in western Wyoming. This beautiful hardcover book features many historical photographs. Proceeds go to the Green River Valley Program of the Jackson Hole Land Trust.