Starting in 1900, African-American homesteader Alonzo “Lon” Stepp built a prosperous ranch of about 1,700 acres on the Green River in Lincoln County, where Fontenelle Reservoir is now, triumphing in an era and a region where few blacks could claim such achievement. His descendants still live in the area.
Two highly educated families of African-American farmers founded Empire, Wyo., near the Nebraska line northeast of Torrington in 1908. 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.