The Casper Army Air Base was built quickly in 1942 to train bomber crews for World War II combat. The facility trained more than 16,000 men before the end of the war. Its population grew to a third of the size of Casper’s, bringing prosperity and a lively social life to the town. The base closed in 1945, when the war ended.
Historic Spots & Monuments
Browse Articles about Historic Spots & Monuments
|Jensen, Henry, oral history||Dana Van Burgh|
|Johnson County, Wyoming||Brodie Farquhar|
|Kading, Joye Oral History||Casper College Western History Center|
|Kelly-Larimer Wagon Train, 1864 attack on||WyoHistory.org|
|Kendrick Mansion||Cynde Georgen|
|La Prele Creek, Oregon Trail crossing of||WyoHistory.org|
|Lander Trail, New Fork River Crossing||Clint Gilchrist|
|Lantz, Daniel, 1850 emigrant grave of||Randy Brown|
|Laramie Peak, Oregon Trail landmark||WyoHistory.org|
Historic Spots & Monuments
On Aug. 2, 1867, a large force of Oglala Sioux attacked woodcutters near Fort Phil Kearny. Soldiers assigned to protect the woodcutters took cover behind a ring of wagon boxes. After the intense battle, both sides claimed victory, and estimates of the dead and wounded varied widely.
Originally established as the Wyoming Insane Asylum by the Wyoming Territorial Legislature in 1886, the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston opened in 1889 and operates today on the same site. The institution evolved and the campus was built according to trends in psychiatric thought and therapeutic practices. Notable among its superintendents was Dr. C.H. Solier, who ran the hospital from 1891 to 1930, and successfully deflected allegations of patient abuse in the 1920s.
Two battles on July 26, 1865 near Platte Bridge Station near present-day Casper, Wyo., are best understood in the context of tribal response to the Sand Creek Massacre the previous November. Twenty-eight U.S. troops were killed that day including Lt. Caspar Collins, for whom Fort Caspar and the town of Casper were later named.
From 1942 through most of 1945, about 10,000 Japanese-Americans from the West Coast of United States lived behind barbed wire in tarpaper barracks at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center between Cody and Powell, Wyo. in Park County—one of ten such camps around the nation during World War II. The center was briefly Wyoming’s third-largest town. When hundreds of young men in the camp were drafted into the U.S. military, 63 resisted, feeling they had been denied their constitutional rights. They and seven more leaders of the group were sentenced to federal prison. In the 1980s, Congress passed a law granting an apology and $20,000 to every survivor of the camps.
Alcova Dam, a Bureau of Reclamation project, was completed in 1937. The reservoir opened in 1938 and a power plant was completed in 1955. The $20 million dam project didn’t achieve the high expectations of immense wealth that were forecast at the time of its inception, but continues to provide irrigation water for farmers and ranchers and generates hydropower for the area. Alcova Reservoir offers fishing, boating, camping and swimming opportunities for visitors.
Trail End, the mansion home of cattleman, banker and politician John B. Kendrick, was completed on a hilltop overlooking Sheridan, Wyo. in 1913, 16 months before Kendrick was elected governor. Kendrick later served three terms in the U.S. Senate and died in 1933. The Kendrick family continued to use the house until 1961. In 1968, the Sheridan County Historical Society bought the building, and in 1982 transferred ownership to the state, which operates the 14,000-square-foot mansion now as a state historic site.
Wyoming’s first state prison was located in Rawlins, Wyo., and housed inmates for 80 years, beginning in 1901. In 1988, a joint powers board turned the abandoned building into a museum and renamed it the Wyoming Frontier Prison. Visitors today can tour the cells and see the grounds where 13,500 prisoners, including 11 women, served time.
What’s now Crook County, Wyo., was crossed by Custer in 1874 on his expedition to the Black Hills, the spark that led to the final struggles of the Indian wars on the northern plains. Ranchers a few years later brought in cattle and later, sheep, and the county was organized in 1885, with its county seat at Sundance. Harry Longabaugh, a.k.a. the Sundance Kid, spent 18 months in jail there. Coal deposits were exploited in the 1890s and shipped by rail to gold smelters in nearby Lead and Deadwood, So. Dak. Devils Tower National Monument, established in 1906 as the first national monument in the United States and still a sacred place for the Sioux, is located in Crook County. Agriculture, mining and timbering still play significant roles in its economy.