The National Park Service’s Mission 66, initiated in 1956, modernized facilities, built new ones, built roads and added dozens more parks and historic sites. In Wyoming, architects designed buildings meant to enhance visitors’ experiences while protecting the wonders they came to see. The results recast Americans’ relationships with natural beauty.
Historic Spots & Monuments
Browse Articles about Historic Spots & Monuments
|Ada Magill Grave||WyoHistory.org|
|Airmail, U.S. in Wyoming||Steve Wolff|
|Albert, Prince of Monaco, hunts with Buffalo Bill, 1913||John Clayton|
|Alcova Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|Arthur, Chester A. and 1883 trip to Yellowstone||Dick Blust, Jr.|
|Atlantic City, Wyo.||Lori Van Pelt|
|Ayres Natural Bridge, Oregon Trail site||WyoHistory.org|
|Baker, Jim. Frontier Scout||Lori Van Pelt|
|Baker, Pvt. Ralston, pioneer grave of||Randy Brown|
Historic Spots & Monuments
Authorized by the territorial legislature in 1886 and designed initially by architects from Ohio, the Wyoming State Capitol in Cheyenne has been expanded twice and, beginning in 2016, totally renovated. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973, it is among the best of Wyoming’s historic buildings.
Chester A. Arthur, the first president to visit Yellowstone, traveled there in 1883 by stage and horseback from the railroad at Green River through the Shoshone Reservation and Jackson Hole. The trip generated political pressure to preserve the park in its natural state—and to stave off commercial development.
The Bighorn Medicine Wheel and its surrounding landscapes on Medicine Mountain in the northern Bighorns make up one of the most important Native American sacred sites in the United States. Twenty years of compromise and conflict on how best to preserve the site involved several governmental agencies and elders representing 16 tribes.
In 1904, when the Old Faithful Inn opened in Yellowstone Park, it was seen as a treasure: rustic and luxurious, breathtaking yet casual. It came to be a symbol of Yellowstone, and its building style, called parkitecture, spread quickly to other national parks, dude ranches, state parks and small museums.
In 1869 and 1871, John Wesley Powell led two expeditions from Wyoming Territory down the Green and Colorado rivers. These and other explorations brought him to a profound understanding of how the West’s aridity limits its economic prospects. He directed the U.S. Geological Survey from 1881-1894, and his ideas still affect land and water policy today.
With the buffalo gone and poverty, hunger and disease increasing, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes came under intense pressure in the 1890s to sell their land. In 1896, they sold the U.S. government a piece of their reservation ten miles square—including the splendid hot springs at present Thermopolis, Wyo.
In 1913, department-store tycoon Rodman Wanamaker and photographer Joseph Dixon hatched the idea of a statue of an American Indian in New York harbor higher than the Statue of Liberty—as a memorial to what they saw as a “vanishing race.” Dixon subsequently toured and photographed 89 Indian reservations—including Wyoming’s Shoshone Reservation—leaving a valuable record.