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.
Cities, Towns & Counties
Browse Articles about Cities, Towns & Counties
|Highways, Wyoming’s Named||John Clayton|
|A.M.E. Church, Rock Springs||Brie Blasi|
|African-American women voters, early Wyoming elections||Wyoming State Archives|
|Airmail, U.S. in Wyoming||Steve Wolff|
|Albany County, Wyoming||Marguerite Herman|
|Atlantic City, Wyo.||Lori Van Pelt|
|Banking, Wyoming history of||Tom Rea|
|Barlow, Bill||Rebecca Hein|
|Barrow, Merris, editor of Bill Barlow’s Budget||Rebecca Hein|
|Beethoven celebrations, Wyoming orchestras and||Rebecca Hein|
Cities, Towns & Counties
In 1913, the nation’s first transcontinental highway—initially more idea than road—followed Wyoming’s southern rail corridor. After its life as a named highway ended, the route lived on as U.S. 30. Since I-80 was finished in 1970, the Lincoln Highway has become a nostalgic touchstone for a friendlier, more easygoing way to drive.
It began with a bowl of mush and ended in the murders of two men—one shot through the heart, the other dragged from the jail and lynched by a vicious mob of 300 to 400 people. Afterward, no one would testify to who was in the mob.
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.
In 1904, a Laramie mob hanged African-American Joe Martin from a light pole near the courthouse, drawing a crowd of 1,000 people or more. Despite having called several witnesses, a grand jury brought no indictments. And lynchings of Black men became more and more frequent in Wyoming in the coming two decades.
Nearly 1,100 Wyoming servicemen, representing every county, died in World War II. As in other states, Wyoming’s people gained a stronger sense of being part of the nation thanks in part to war bond drives, scrap metal drives, book drives, victory gardens—and their loved ones’ service at home and overseas.
In 1870, three months after the Wyoming Territorial Legislature gave women the rights to vote and hold office, six women were called to serve on a grand jury—the first time in history. Lawyers objected, but Justices Howe and Kingman, strong supporters of women’s rights, stood firm and the women served.