Robert Stuart and partners and employees of the fur magnate John Jacob Astor, traveling east in 1812 from the Oregon coast to St. Louis, crossed “a handsome low gap” in the Rocky Mountains in October of that year, after receiving a tip months before about its existence from a Shoshone guide. This marked the discovery by European Americans of South Pass, destined in coming decades to become the main route of American expansion to the West.
Historic Spots & Monuments
Browse Articles about Historic Spots & Monuments
|Medicine Wheel||Fred Chapman|
|Mexican Hill, Oregon-California Trail site||Randy Brown|
|Mission 66 in Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks||John Clayton|
|Modernization in Wyoming’s national parks||John Clayton|
|Mormon ferry, North Platte River||WyoHistory.org|
|Mountain View Hotel||Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office|
|Muir, John in Yellowstone||John Clayton|
|Murals, Casper Army Air Base||Eric Wimmer|
|Names Hill, Oregon Trail Inscription Site||WyoHistory.org|
Historic Spots & Monuments
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.
When Thomas Boylan started collecting dinosaur bones on his homestead in 1915, he first envisioned completing a dinosaur skeleton and using it to attract customers to his gas station on U. S. Highway 30 near Como Bluff. However, he was told that he didn’t have enough bones for that. Instead, he used more than 5,700 bones to build a structure that has become known worldwide as the Fossil Cabin. The historic Fossil Cabin was built in 1932 and stands about five miles east of Medicine Bow, Carbon County, Wyo. The cabin has been featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The T Cross Ranch north of Dubois, Wyo., on Horse Creek in the Absaroka Mountains was first homesteaded around 1900 by Ernest O. Hadden. In 1919, Henry Seipt acquired the property, named it “The Hermitage” and operated a dude ranch here. Robert Cox became the owner in 1929 and changed the name to “T Cross Ranch,” but continued the dude ranch. The ranch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is still operated as a dude ranch.
In 1929, Lloyd Huxtable, together with his wife’s brother, Charlie Olin, purchased the property south of Glenrock, Wyo. known as the Huxtable Ranch as well as the original 1887 water rights. Huxtable had worked for the second owner, Willard Heber White, who bought the ranch from its original owner, Charles Smith, in 1896. The ranch, was expanded to 1,500 acres under Huxtable’s ownership. Huxtable did not believe in acquiring unnecessary debt, and this thriftiness enabled him to own the ranch free and clear by the 1950s. He died in 1976. The Huxtable family sold the ranch in 1992, and it continues to be privately owned. The ranch is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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.
The Greybull Hotel, built in 1916, was the first and largest of its kind in downtown Greybull, Wyo., to be constructed with brick and concrete. Its main commercial space has served as a bank, a clothing store and a bar; during Prohibition there was a speakeasy in the basement. The hotel’s location--at the corner of Greybull Avenue and Sixth Street and at the intersection of Wyoming Highway 14 and Wyoming Highway 16/20—was of primary importance in the early days and remains so today.
The Hotel LaBonte opened in January 1914 in downtown Douglas, Wyo. Its purpose was to serve area ranchers, participants in county courthouse sessions and travelers on the Yellowstone Highway, and the hotel was created in the finest and most luxurious style of the day. The rooms had electric lights, steam heat and hot and cold running water. The structure was named for the LaBonte Pony Express and stage station on the Oregon Trail.
The Hyart Theatre in Lovell, Wyo., opened in 1951. The owner, Hyrum “Hy” Bischoff, used creative designs that were in fashion at the time. He included a curved screen for CinemaScope movies and stereophonic sound in the theater, which contained 1,001 upholstered seats. The Hyart also has a unique façade. The Bischoff family owned and operated the theater until the early 1990s, when it was closed. Through the efforts of a local nonprofit group, the Hyart was reopened Nov. 13, 2004, and continues to delight moviegoers and serve as a place for local entertainers to stage performances.