Carbon County

Como Bluff
“The Fossil Cabin” was built on the Albany/Carbon County line in 1932 by Thomas Boylan and his son, they built the cabin using 5,796 dinosaur bones found in the nearby Como Bluff; one of the largest fossil beds in the world. The cabin was built adjacent to the Boylan’s home that they built in 1930. This was a roadside attraction intended to entice motorists into stopping, buying fuel, and other sundries. It was promoted by Ripley’s Believe or Not! In 1938 as “The World’s Oldest Cabin”. Thomas Boylan died in 1947, his widow Grayce continued to operate the cabin and gas station until she sold the property in 1974. (1)

“Como Bluffs, Wyoming – Front Exterior of Fossil Cabin and Sign with a Dinosaur on it”
“Como Bluffs, Wyoming – Front Exterior of Fossil Cabin and Sign with a Dinosaur on it” c.1940. Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
The World's Oldest Cabin
The World’s Oldest Cabin
Color photo of building at gas station. Wyoming Recreation Commission Collection, Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
Como Bluff, Wyoming, c.1961. Color photo of building at gas station. Wyoming Recreation Commission Collection, Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.
LH_Como_Home
The house and garage for the proprietors of the Fossil Cabin.

Medicine Bow
“In this location, the Indians came great distances to obtain the unusually straight timber of that part of the region from which to fashion their bows and arrows. It was considered “good medicine” to use that timber for the making of their weapons – “good medicine bows.”(2)
1915 LHA: New York: 2099 miles San Francisco: 1285 miles
Pop. 150. Alt. 6,566 feet. Carbon County. Two hotels, accommodations for 100. Virginian. $1.00 up, Eu.; O’Connor, $1.50, Amer. One garage; storage, 50c; washing, $1.50; Gas, 25c; Oil, 75c. Route marked through town and county; signs at approach of town. One R.R. crossing at grade, not protected. One bank, 1 R.R. 1 Exp. Co., 1 Tel. Co., 1 public school, 20 automobiles owned. Camp site[sic]; good trout fishing.
The Virginian Hotel takes its name from Owen Wister’s novel of that name, the manuscript having been written here. (End LHA) (3)

MedicineBow East Gateway
Welcome to Medicine Bow is the way that travelers on today’s U.S.30 are greeted when entering from the Laramie side of the highway. Medicine Bow is the only town with gateway signs that are different on either side of the Lincoln Highway.
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“Hotel Medicine Bow, Wyoming. Photo [was] taken by E. Lovejoy at the end of a test run (November 27, 1914).” (4)
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The Virginian Hotel has been a staple of the Lincoln Highway since before the final route of the highway was finalized. The Union Pacific railroad depot dates to around 1868.
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The Trails End cemetery in Medicine Bow has been in use since at least 1889.
Medicine Bow Service Station
No service today…none to be found for several years, in fact. This service station was originally built in 1947; when Interstate 80 opened between Walcott Junction & Laramie in October of 1970, business rapidly declined.
Little Dip Diner
“Raised in 1981” is what the engraving reads next to the door. Today, it sits abandoned and for sale.
St. Malachy’s Catholic Church faces the start of another day in Medicine Bow.
St. Malachy’s Catholic Church faces the start of another day in Medicine Bow.
Medicine Bow West Gateway
This sign greets drivers heading towards Laramie on the current U.S. 30; this sign tells a story that is familiar around the state; energy. First, coal was found in this area, and was exploited by the Union Pacific Railroad; followed by oil, and finally wind power. Medicine Bow was home to the world’s largest wind turbine constructed in 1982. It was ironically felled by a large wind gust on January 14th, 1994.

1915 LHA: From MEDICINE BOW to RAWLINS the tourist encounters graded dirt roads; some dirt and gravel mixed. (End LHA) (3)

Allen Station
Railroad station named for William Allen, engineer.(5)
1915 LHA: New York: 2104 miles San Francisco: 1280 miles
Carbon County. No tourist accommodations. R.R. station, telegraph. Drinking water, radiator water. Camp site. (End LHA) (3)

The following images were made somewhere in Carbon County, on private property with permission of the land owner. Please do not ask either the exact location or for the property owners name.

Lincoln Highway Bridge
This bridge is believed to have been placed here in about 1913. Unusual for its time; it’s almost 40′ wide and could accommodate two vehicles simultaneously.
Somewhere in Carbon County 1
The original 1913 Lincoln Highway is still used as a ranchers two-track road in Carbon County, WY.
Somewhere in Carbon County 2
The original 1913 Lincoln Highway is still used as a ranchers two-track road in Carbon County, WY.

Carbon
The town of Carbon came into existence because of large deposits of coal that were found in the area. By 1899, the seventh mine that was opened two miles south of the town had finally given out. This and a fire that all but destroyed the town, it was abandoned in around 1902. All that remains are some foundations and the town’s cemetery.

Carbon, WY c.1875
Circa 1875, Carbon, Wyoming. Downtown Carbon with Houses in the Background. Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

1915 LHA: New York: 2110 miles San Francisco: 1274 miles
Pop. 117. Alt 6,825 feet. Carbon County. Meals, lodging, drinking water, radiator water. Camp site. (End LHA) (3)

Cities & Towns Carbon, Wyoming
Circa 1875, The Front of the Union Pacific Coal Company, People Standing in Front of the Building. Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources.

Hanna/Elmo
The town of Hanna was founded in 1889 named for businessman Mark A. Hanna. Aside from being a coal and shipping magnate, this former U.S. Senator from Cleveland, Ohio convinced officials of the Union Pacific that they should invest in the development of its own coal fields. Hanna was a company town, through and through. As such, the town was essentially vice free.

1915 LHA: New York: 2121 miles San Francisco: 1263 miles
Pop. 2000. Alt. 6,769 ft. Carbon County. One hotel, 20 rooms. Hotel Hanna, $1.50-$2.00, Amer. Gas, 25c, Oil, 75c, Route marked through town and county. One R.R. crossing at grade, not protected. One R.R., 7 general business places, 1 Exp. Co., 1 Tel. Co., 1 public school, electric lights. Camp site. Extensive coal deposits in the neighborhood. (End LHA) (3)
Elmo was a Finnish village that was incorporated in 1917 about a mile east of Hanna; out of the reach of the company regulations. Bars and brothels flourished.
There was a pair of tragedies that struck the town; the first was in 1903 when an explosion in the No. 1 mine took the lives of 159 miners. The second came in 1908 when 59 miners lost their lives in the same mine.

HannaGateway1
This gateway sign is on the east side of the former borough of Elmo. This is, interestingly enough, on the third alignment of the Lincoln Highway.
Two coal miners tenements sit vacated in the former village of Elmo.
Two coal miners tenements sit vacated in the former village of Elmo.
A bank building in Hanna waits for a new owner.
A bank building in Hanna waits for a new owner, (as of the date of image capture – 27Nov15).

Walcott

The town of Walcott was named for a conductor that was on the Union Pacific trains between Cheyenne and Green River. The Saratoga & Encampment Valley  Railroad terminated here; “During the copper mining development in the 1890’s and early 1900’s, more freight was handled at Walcott than any other Union Pacific station between Omaha and Ogden, Utah; mine and smelter machinery, coal, coke, and building materials came in; copper ore and smelter products went out.” (6)

1915 LHA: New York: 2143 miles San Francisco: 1244 miles
Pop. 150. Alt. 6,618 ft. Carbon County. One hotel, accommodations for 125. Hotel Walcott, $2.00 up, Amer. Gas, 30c; Oil, 75c. Route marked through county. Two R.R’s, 1 Exp. Co., 1 Tel. Co., 1 public school, 2 automobiles owned. Camp site. (End LHA) (3)

The Saratoga & Encampment Valley railroad ceased operations in late 1955.

 

Ft.  Frederick Steele
“Fort Fred Steele, new U.P. crossing of North Platte River. Established by Richard I. Dodge in 1868 as a protection to the builders of the railroad, Major General Frederick Steele of Civil War fame.” (7)

Forts _ Ft Fred Steele-1
“Fort Fred Steele, Wyoming Territory, 1868 Three forts were built in southeastern Wyoming Territory by the Federal government in order to protect the UP railway workers. These three were Fort Russell (west of Cheyenne), Fort Sanders (south of Laramie) and Fort Steele (east of Rawlins). Fort Steele was established in late June, 1868. The soldiers were quartered in tents until more permanent log buildings could be built. In the center of this photograph, on top of the hills one can see the frameworks of some of the wooden buildings.” (Photograph by Arundel C. Hull, pioneer photographer). Photograph, Box Number 31, Folder: Ft. Steele, Clarice Whittenburg papers, Collection Number 400066, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

1915 LHA: New York: 2143 miles San Francisco: 1241 miles
Pop. 200. Alt. 6,510 feet. Carbon County. One hotel: Ft. Steele Hotel, $1.50-$2.00. Gas, 25c; Oil, 75c. Route marked through town and county. One R.R. crossing at grade, not protected. One. R.R., 4 general business places, 1 Exp. Co., 1 Tel. Co., 1 public school, electric lights, 5 automobiles owned. Camp site. Good trout fishing.
Near this point are the Saratoga Hot Springs, a favorite resort for invalids, the waters being heavily charged with medicinal properties. Fort Steele was established on June 30, 1868, by Colonel R.I. Dodge, of the Thirteenth U.S. Infantry, and it afforded a good strategic point, as well as a convenient base of supplies, in the wars with the Indians. This post was abandoned in 1886, only an agent being left to protect the Government property. (End LHA) (3)

The Lincoln Highway would adopt a local wagon road about a mile and a half south of Fort Fred Steele; using a truss bridge to cross the North Platte River. There was a small community located at the former fort until around the time of WWII. One story from the Denver Post in 1971 reported that the writer and his family had purchased the officers quarters in 1956; restoring the building so as to be made habitable. He sold the property two years later; only to learn that it was destroyed by fire in April of 1970. (8)

LH_FFS_PRB_7Dec14
This truss bridge has been here since 1930 when it replaced another, older truss-type bridge that is still in use near Saratoga as a foot bridge over the North Platte River, about fifteen miles south.

Today, Ft. Fred Steele is owned and operated by the State of Wyoming Parks Department. It’s open for self-guided tours from May 1st through November 15th. There is a rest area for travelers on Interstate 80 and a section of the L.H. with a truss bridge over the North Platte River that was placed here in 1930.

Lakota, (Benton)
“…Named for Thomas Hart Benton, western promoter, once a station on Overland stage route; for a few moths in 1868 an end-of-the-track town, with dusty streets echoing the curses of men seeking solace from hard labor, bawdy laughter of women after easy money, and too often the sharp crack of a gun ending a dispute. Brawling Benton grew in a day, and vanished in a night when carted away to Rawlins.”(9)

Benton_Town_ACHull_CW
“Benton, Wyoming Territory. No other town along the first Union Pacific Railway line the impact of the infamous “Hell on Wheels” more than Benton. No jail was built to hold its criminals but the little cemetery sheltered more than one man forced to wear his boots to grave. Benton became a ghost town when a mere infant three months old. The depot was moved westward[sic] to Fort Fred Steele and both the work camp and temporary tent houses disappeared.” (Photograph by Arundel C. Hull, pioneer photographer). Photograph, Box Number 31, Folder: Benton, Clarice Whittenburg papers, Collection Number 400066, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.
1915 LHA: New York: 2150 miles San Francisco: 1234 miles
No tourist accommodations. Railroad Section House. Drinking water, radiator water. (End LHA) (3)

Benton_StreetScene_ACHull_CW
Street Scene in Benton, Wyoming Territory, 1869. (Photograph by Arundel C. Hull, pioneer photographer). Photograph, Box Number 31, Folder: Benton, Clarice Whittenburg papers, Collection Number 400066, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

This was truly one of the original “hell on wheels” towns that dotted the landscape during the time of the construction of the transcontinental railroad.  It was in existence for only three months from July to September of 1868. This town had a population of almost 3,000; and reportedly, over one hundred people died in gunfights here.

Today, there is nothing that remains to indicate anything was here. The plat had no date, but the file it came from stated that it might have been as recent as 1945, from the information found on the plat itself, (two different roads: one labeled; “main auto road”, the other; “Lincoln Highway”, would suggest this is probably accurate.

Granville (Parco/Sinclair)
Granville was “Probably named for Gen Grenville Dodge.” (10)

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“Stills at Parco, Wyoming.”  c.1925 (11)

1915 LHA: New York: 2154 miles San Francisco: 1231 miles
Railroad pumping house. Drinking water, radiator water. (End LHA) (3)

Sinclair Gateway
This gateway sign greets motorists as they enter town on the former Lincoln Highway from the west.

Mae Urbanek lists Grenville as “A railroad station named for Gen. Grenville Dodge, surveyor for the UP railroad; later named Parco. (12)

This location would become known as Parco, for the Producers and Refiners Oil Company on April 11th, 1923. It would be renamed as of July 1st, 1943 as Sinclair, in honor of the founder of the Sinclair Oil Company, Harry Sinclair.
The Sinclair Oil Company has a refinery here, “The West’s Most Modern Refinery”, is how it’s advertised. This town had a resort-hotel that was designed by Denver architects William and Arthur Fisher.

LH_SCB_20Apr15
The Corner Bar in Sinclair, WY was built in 1961; it’s still an operating neighborhood bar that sits on the west edge of town on Lincoln Avenue.

1915LHA: “From RAWLINS to POINT OF ROCKS the tourist encounters some roads which in fair weather are really excellent, but cause trouble in wet weather.” (3)

Citations:

1: The Builder of the “World’s Oldest Cabin” http://www.uwyo.edu/robertshistory/worlds_oldest_cabin_fossil.htm website, accessed 7Mar2015. 

2: Informational sheet, Box Number 442, Folder Number 10, James L. Ehernberger western railroad collection, 1862-2001, Collection Number 10674, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

3:  “The Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway”, (published by The Lincoln Highway Association, National Headquarters, Detroit, Michigan – copyrighted 1915), Box 98, Folder Number 1, Payson W. Spaulding papers, 1886-1980, Collection Number 01803, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

4: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/linchigh/x-lhc1048/lhc1048. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed: October 25, 2015.

5: Book: Wyoming Place Names, Pg. 3, 2004 Ed. Mae Urbanek, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, MT

6: Book: Wyoming Place Names, Pg. 215, 2004 Ed. Mae Urbanek, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, MT

7: Informational sheet, Box Number 440, Folder Number 20, James L. Ehernberger western railroad collection, 1862-2001, Collection Number 10674, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

8: Brundy, Clyde M.  “Our Love Affair with Ft.Steele”, Denver Post Empire magazine, September 5th, 1971, pp. 10-12.

9: Book: Wyoming Place Names, Pg. 15, 2004 Ed. Mae Urbanek, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, MT

10: Informational sheet, Box Number 442, Folder Number 18, James L. Ehernberger western railroad collection, 1862-2001, Collection Number 10674, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

11: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/linchigh/x-lhc1188/lhc1188. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed: October 25, 2015.

12: Book: Wyoming Place Names, Pg. 88, 2004 Ed. Mae Urbanek, Mountain Press Publishing Company, Missoula, MT

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