The automobile age arrived in Wyoming almost unnoticed. While the Spanish American War dominated headlines, Elmer Lovejoy was building Wyoming’s first car in his Laramie bicycle shop during the winter of 1897-98. Townspeople thought the machine an “interesting toy,” but Lovejoy stuck with his tinkering, with some surprising long-term results.
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|Highways, Wyoming’s Named||John Clayton|
|Airmail, U.S. in Wyoming||Steve Wolff|
|American Indian tribes, trade among||Samuel Western|
|Arnold, Thurman, Laramie lawyer and New Deal trustbuster||Dee Pridgen|
|Atlantic City, Wyo.||Lori Van Pelt|
|Automobile, Wyoming’s first||Phil Roberts|
|Banking, Wyoming history of||Tom Rea|
|Barlow, Bill||Rebecca Hein|
|Barrow, Merris, editor of Bill Barlow’s Budget||Rebecca Hein|
|Big Muddy Oil Field||Rebecca Hein|
Business & Industry
Black strikebreakers were imported to the company coal town of Dana on the Union Pacific line in February 1890, but may instead have joined a strike there against unfair pay. Their presence made Dana the only coal town ever in Wyoming with a Black majority. Later, many settled in Hanna and Rock Springs.
The Casper-based Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s roots reach back to an all-amateur, no-budget ensemble of local musicians in the 1920s. Now, with a half-million dollar budget, an endowment fund and planned giving, the symphony performs difficult repertoire on few rehearsals—with a substantial number of its musicians from Colorado.
In the early days of motorcars, promoters gave names to auto routes to boost tourist travel. Several named highways crossed significant portions of Wyoming, with Yellowstone Park a prime attraction. But by the mid-1920s the system had become chaotic. The government began numbering routes instead—gaining efficiency and sacrificing romance.
Laramie-born attorney Thurman Arnold became head of the U.S. Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in 1938. Later he served as a federal judge in Washington, D.C. Earlier, Arnold had practiced law in Laramie, served in the Wyoming House of Representatives and helped found the University of Wyoming College of Law.
Stephen Leek’s efforts to save the starving elk of Jackson Hole came at a time when survival of the species was very much in doubt. The founding of the National Elk Refuge in 1912 was one result—a huge achievement. But feeding wildlife in herds leads to disease, we now know. And Leek himself was a decidedly complicated man.
Rock Springs was bursting in 1977 when “60 Minutes” came to town to cover sleaze and alleged corruption. Soon after, top cop Ed Cantrell shot his undercover agent, Mike Rosa, in a police cruiser in front of the Silver Dollar Bar. The crime, the trial and its drama fixed boomtime Wyoming in the national imagination as a new kind of wild West.
When present Wyoming was still part of Dakota Territory, hunters already were killing elk, deer and antelope by the thousands, often to sell the meat and hides. Tentatively at first and then more strongly, Wyoming territorial and state legislatures began passing game laws—and providing for their enforcement.