The federal government finally entered the irrigation business in 1902, after it became clear that large infusions of public funds were needed to build projects big enough to be effective in the arid West. The eventual result was a dozen dams across Wyoming, but crop agriculture here remains scarce.
Browse Articles about Agriculture
|1949, Blizzard of||Rebecca Hein|
|Alcova Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|Anchor Dam, History of||Annette Hein|
|Banditti of the Plains, The||Rebecca Hein|
|Banking, Wyoming history of||Tom Rea|
|Belden, Charles, photographer||Lori Van Pelt|
|Bighorn Basin, Mormon colonizers in||Darcee Barnes|
|Blizzard of 1949||Rebecca Hein|
|Boysen Dam, History of||Annette Hein|
|Buffalo Bill Dam||The National Park Service|
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.
Cowboy photographer Charles Belden co-owned the massive Pitchfork cattle and dude ranch near Meeteetse from 1922 to 1940. Even more than ranching, however, he cared about taking pictures. His images show working cowboys, sheepherders, dudes, cattle and sheep—and a spirit of western romance and adventure that the public was hungry for.
In 1905, Congress ratified an agreement with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho by which the tribes ceded 1.5 million acres of reservation land north of the Big Wind River. Tribal leaders questioned the final terms, however, and payments were slow in coming and fell far short of promised levels.
Congress in 1887 passed the Dawes Act, setting up a framework for dividing up tribal lands on reservations into plots to be held by individual Indian owners, after which they could be leased or sold to anyone. Critics saw it as a method clearly intended to transfer lands out of Indian hands.
Laramie, Wyo., was founded in 1868 with the arrival of the Union Pacific Railroad and won early fame as the place where women first voted and served on juries. It’snow known for its nationally ranked university and proximity to the Medicine Bow Mountains.
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.