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

Wild Times In Benton!

For the Railroad and Town

 
 
Wild Times In Benton! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 9, 2015
1. Wild Times In Benton! Marker
Captions: (top left) Street scene, Benton, Wyoming Territory. Stores of Galleger and Megeath, A.H. Huyett, T.A. Kent, A.J Ware and Co.; (bottom right) Benton, Wyoming Territory - the town that grew in a day and vanished in a night, but it was red hot while it lasted.
Inscription. In 1868 the Union Pacific Railroad was rapidly moving west with the short lived railhead towns leading the way. In early July, General Dodge ordered the citizens of Brownsville to move three miles from the river to the edge of the Dry Desert. This was to become the town of Benton. With the move came all the amenities of a railroad town including the "Big Tent" which has seen service in Julesburg, Cheyenne, and Laramie. It was 100 feet long and forty feet wide, housing a bar with every variety of liquors and cigars, cut glass, mirrors, and wall pictures of eastern cities. At the back of the tent was a band stand and room for tables devoted to monte, faro, fortune wheels and other games of chance.
As with these types of towns commodities were expensive and life was cheap. Water cost 10 cents a bucket, but whiskey cost only 25 cents a glass. Therefore water was used only for cooking and cleaning. The housing prospects amounted to tents and plank shacks. The streets were ankle deep in alkali dust with no grass, brush or trees. Death and murder was a daily occurrence and in its short 60 day existence the cemetery's population rose to nearly 100 unfortunate sinners calling Benton home.
 
Erected by Wyoming Recreation Commission.
 
Marker series. This
Wild Times In Benton! Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 9, 2015
2. Wild Times In Benton! Marker
This marker is on the right.
marker is included in the Transcontinental Railroad marker series.
 
Location. 41° 46.703′ N, 106° 56.872′ W. Marker is near Sinclair, Wyoming, in Carbon County. Marker is on County Route 347 near 80, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sinclair WY 82334, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. This January 1880 plan of Fort Fred Steele... (here, next to this marker); The Great Lincoln Highway... (here, next to this marker); The Passenger's Railroad (here, next to this marker); Officer's Quarters (within shouting distance of this marker); Officers Who Commanded Fort Fred Steele (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Steele Schoolhouse (within shouting distance of this marker); Enlisted Men's Barracks (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Fred Steele (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sinclair.
 
More about this marker. This marker, among a grouping of a four other markers, is located at Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site. The site is on County Road 347, north of the Interstate 80 Exit 228 and on the north side of the railroad tracks.
 
Also see . . .  Benton, Wyoming - GatheringGardiners.
The Big Tent image. Click for full size.
By Lithograph, circa 1868
3. The Big Tent
Benton... lasted only three months from July to September 1868, and attained a population of 3,000. During that period, however, it provided an interesting contrast. On one hand, it had twenty-five saloons and five dance halls. During its brief existence, reputedly over 100 souls met their Maker in gunfights. One visitor referred to Benton as "nearer a repetition of Sodom and Gomorrah than any other place in America." (Submitted on October 24, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
 
Additional keywords. Hell on Wheels
 
Categories. Railroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 24, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 247 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 24, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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