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Energy

Wyoming's First Coal Bust

Wyoming’s coal mining industry was secure until the early 1950s, when the Union Pacific switched to diesel-powered locomotives. Laid-off miners and their families struggled; little company towns disappeared. Eventually, trona mining expanded and replaced many of the coal jobs—and in the 1970s, coal came roaring back.

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Encyclopedia | Wyoming’s coal mining industry was secure until the early 1950s, when the Union Pacific switched to diesel-powered locomotives. Laid-off miners and their families struggled; little company towns disappeared. Eventually, trona mining expanded and replaced many of the coal jobs—and in the 1970s, coal came roaring back.
Encyclopedia | Batiste Gamara, 19, emigrated from the Italian Piedmont to New York in 1907. He mined copper and coal in Pennsylvania, Michigan and, finally, near Kemmerer, Wyo. There, tragically, he was killed by falling coal in 1915. His great nephew tells his story. 
Encyclopedia | Another high heating bill? A newspaperman wondered why. What he found led the Casper Star-Tribune on a probe in 1984 that revealed how a gas company was passing the cost of its own mismanagement on to Casper customers. It saved residents money, and earned a Pulitzer nod.
Encyclopedia | After flying combat missions in World War II, Tom Bell launched another battle—to preserve western lands. The founder of the Lander, Wyo.-based High Country News managed to keep the publication afloat and conservation in the minds of its readers. His legacy and the magazine continue today.
Encyclopedia | A short line with a short life, the 40-mile-long Wyoming North and South Railroad began quietly during the oil-boom years of the 1920s. It helped the Salt Creek area thrive for a time, but unsound construction, better roads for cars and trucks, bad weather and the Great Depression sealed its demise.
Encyclopedia | The late 20th-century history of the Teapot Dome Oilfield, long after the end of the political scandal that made it famous, demonstrates an interesting public-private partnership that continued through eight and a half decades of the oil business in Wyoming and the West.
Encyclopedia | In August 1922, five U.S. Marines “invaded” the U.S. Naval Petroleum Reserve at Teapot Dome in central Wyoming to evict oil drillers the government had determined were there illegally. Bribery connected with acquiring those drilling rights eventually led to the Teapot Dome scandal—one of the worst in U.S. politics.
Oral Histories | Edna Garrett was born in Salt Creek, Wyo., in 1926, and grew up with her eight siblings in a house with no running water in a boomtown going bust, where her parents ran a secondhand store. This interview was conducted two years before her death in 2013. 

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