“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Alcova in Natrona County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

Independence Rock

Independence Rock Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, July 31, 2010
1. Independence Rock Marker
Inscription.  Thousands who traveled the Oregon Trail in central Wyoming were unaware that they were the beneficiaries of a long series of geological events. The granite peaks around you are mountains that rose, sank and then were buried in sand and ashy sediments. Erosion exposed their summits and created the Sweetwater Valley, part of an east-west passageway through the Rockies. The route was used by game animals, Native Americans and fur trappers, followed at mid-century by wagon train and handcart emigrants, stagecoach passenger and Pony Express riders. For some this was the halfway point in a 2000-mile trek from the Missouri River to the West Coast. Arriving here early in July, emigrants celebrated Independence Day. In July, 1841, Jesuit missionary Pierre Jean De Smet wrote of this granite landmark: "The first rock which we saw, and which truly deserves the name, was the famous Independence Rock. It is of the same nature as the Rocky Mountains. At first I was led to believe that it had received this pompous name from its isolated situation and the solidity of its base; but I was afterward told that it was called so because the first travelers who thought
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of giving it a name arrived at it on the very day when the people of the United States celebrate the anniversary of their emancipation from Great Britain...lest it might be said that we passed this lofty monument of the desert with indifference, we cut our names on the south side of the rock under initials (I.H.S.) which we would wish to see engraved everywhere, and along with a great number of others, some of which perhaps ought not to be found anywhere. On account of all these names, and of the dates that accompany them, as well as of the hieroglyphics of Indian warriors, I called this rock on my first journey 'The Great Record of the Desert."
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentExplorationRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the California Trail, the Mormon Pioneer Trail, the National Historic Landmarks, the Oregon Trail, and the Pony Express National Historic Trail series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1841.
Location. 42° 29.609′ N, 107° 8.215′ W. Marker is near Alcova, Wyoming, in Natrona County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 220 at milepost 63,, 2½ miles south of Buzzard Rd (County Route 410). Marker is located in Independence Rock State Historic Site / Rest Area. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Alcova WY 82620, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least
Independence Rock image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, July 31, 2010
2. Independence Rock
(View from the Rest Area)
8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Geologic Story (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Naming a Landmark (about 600 feet away); The Ox-Team Monument Expedition (about 800 feet away); Oregon Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named Independence Rock (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Preservation of Independence Rock (approx. ¼ mile away); Frederick Richard Fulkerson (approx. 4.9 miles away); Ella Watson (approx. 5.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Alcova.
Regarding Independence Rock. Independence Rock is a short 1/3 mile hike from the marker / rest area.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 26, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 936 times since then and 159 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 26, 2012, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 9, 2023