“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Big Piney in Sublette County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

Building the Lander Trail

Building the Lander Trail Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 2, 2016
1. Building the Lander Trail Marker
Inscription. The swale (small trench) running left to right in front of you is a remnant of the old Lander Trail. It is unknown if this swale formed by repeated wagon use or during trail construction. Unlike all previous western emigrant trails - which evolved from Indian trails - the US Government surveyed, engineered, and constructed the Lander Trail

New Wagon Road
In 1858, a crew of 115 men built 230 miles of new trail. They moved more than 62,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock - equal to 6,000 modern dump truck loads - and cleared 34 miles of heavy timber and willows. Construction cost $40,260, finished ahead of schedule, and came in under budget.

1850s Road Construction
Using techniques learned from building railroads back east, laborers first used mules for driving plows to break up the hard soil here. They then moved and leveled the dirt with mule-drawn buck and scoop scrapers. Men with picks and shovels also helped in rocky patches.

Summer Job
According to road superintendent Lander, laborers were paid $30 per month. Lander formed a road construction crew made of "lumbermen and bridge builders" from Maine, Mormons for Salt Lake City, Utah, and "destitute men who we met along the road" that he felt "compelled to feed and shelter."
Erected by Sublette County Historical Society.
Location. 42° 36.978′ N, 109° 51.162′ W. Marker is in Big Piney, Wyoming, in Sublette County. Marker is on Paradise Road near Wyoming 351 (Wyoming Route 351). Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1398 Paradise Road, Big Piney WY 83113, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 7 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Hear Was Hundreds of Emigrants" (approx. 0.2 miles away); 19th Century Interstate Highway (approx. 0.2 miles away); Crossing the New Fork River (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rising to the Challenge of the New Fork River (approx. 0.2 miles away); Sand Spring - A Stop on the Oregon Trail (approx. 9.9 miles away); “The Best Mountain Road in the West” (approx. 9.9 miles away); To All Pioneers Who Passed This Way to Win and Hold the West (approx. 9.9 miles away).
Also see . . .  The Lander Trail: National Road Building Comes to Wyoming - Wyoming State Historical Society. Many believed that construction of the Lander Cutoff was intended to provide a route that avoided the Mormon settlements in Utah Territory. Following the ill-fated events at Mountain Meadows in September 1857, wherein California-bound emigrants of an Arkansas wagon train were murdered by Mormon militia, many travelers may have welcomed an alternate route.
However, many of the laborers Lander hired to build the new road were themselves Mormons from the Salt Lake Valley, making it seem unlikely the Army had any motives other than building a road that was safer because it was shorter.
(Submitted on August 14, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Roads & Vehicles
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 107 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page was last revised on August 14, 2016.
Editor’s want-list for this marker. An overview photo of the Building the Lander Trail maker showing the swale and setting of the marker. • Can you help?
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