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.
Historic Spots & Monuments
Browse Articles about Historic Spots & Monuments
|Lantz, Daniel, 1850 emigrant grave of||Randy Brown|
|Laramie Peak, Oregon Trail landmark||WyoHistory.org|
|Last Crossing, Sweetwater River||WyoHistory.org|
|Leigh, Richard “Beaver Dick,” mountain man||Steve Roberts|
|Lincoln County, Wyoming||Jessica Clark|
|Little Sandy Creek, Oregon Trail crossing of||WyoHistory.org|
|Lombard Ferry on the Green River||Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office|
|Magill, Ada, Oregon Trail grave of||WyoHistory.org|
|Martin’s Cove, events of 1856||Annette Hein|
Historic Spots & Monuments
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.
The Historic Elk Mountain Hotel, built in 1905 by John Evans, is located beside the Medicine Bow River, a place where Overland Trail travelers made crossings during their journeys west. In the 1940s and 1950s, the hotel’s Garden Spot Pavilion became well-known for its springy dance floor and for the many big-name musicians like Hank Thompson and Louis Armstrong who played there. The hotel underwent extensive renovation in the early years of this century, and the pavilion was demolished. Guests today enjoy modern conveniences, private baths and a dining room.
The history of Johnson County, Wyo., features a number of violent conflicts that influenced the heritage of the West. The Fetterman and Wagon Box fights were important conflicts in the Indian wars of the 1860s, while the infamous 1892 Johnson County War erupted because of tensions among cattle barons, homesteaders and rustlers. Johnson County’s economy today continues to thrive on tourism, ranching and oil and gas.
Toomey’s Mills in Newcastle, Wyo., began operations as Newcastle Milling Company and Electrical Light Plant in 1905, producing flour by day and generating electricity at night. In 1919, D. J. Toomey purchased the business and it remained in the family until 1965. In 1974, new owners converted it into a restaurant, the Old Mill Inn. In 1995, current owners, Doug and Larita Brown bought the property, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, in 1995.
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.
In 1908, Albert P. “Prof” Sommers established his ranch headquarters on property southwest of Pinedale, Wyo. Three generations of his family have lived and ranched here. When Prof died in 1928, his widow, May, continued to own and operate the ranch. She also served as Sublette County superintendent of schools. She sold the ranch to her son, Albert, in 1947. The property is currently owned by Albert Sommers, Jr. and his sister, Jonita. The ranch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In August 1856, more than 1,000 Mormon emigrants in the Willie and Martin handcart companies left Florence, Nebraska Territory, with plans of reaching Salt Lake City and the headquarters of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before winter. Their late start, substandard equipment and lack of sufficient supplies had disastrous consequences when they were hit by winter storms. Hundreds died on the journey across what’s now Wyoming and into Utah. Images of emigrant families pulling handcarts have since become an LDS Church icon of the triumph of faith over adversity.
In 1992, officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints placed monuments commemorating the ill-fated, 1856 journey of the Willie and Martin handcart companies at Martin’s Cove, on public land leased for livestock grazing by the Sun Ranch near Devil’s Gate in central Wyoming. In 1997, the LDS church bought the ranch, and in subsequent years tried to get a bill through Congress to allow church purchase of the cove as well. The bill was opposed by some Wyoming citizens, however, and by Wyoming’s U.S. senator, Craig Thomas. Instead, a compromise 25-year lease was negotiated between the church and the Bureau of Land Management, guaranteeing public access to the public.