“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Green River in Sweetwater County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

Trona Precursors

Trona Trail Historic Mine Byway

Trona Precursors Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 10, 2015
1. Trona Precursors Marker
Captions: (center left) Green River sal soda plant, 1903.; (center right) Interior of sal soda plant, ca. 1905. The large caustic pot was used to heat soda brine, causing water and impurities to evaporate and leave sal soda behind.: (left side-bar) Construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad near the bridge at Green River with Castle Rock in the background, 1868.
Inscription. Just prior to World War II, the Union Pacific Railroad verified the existence of trona and the immense size of the trona patch through core drilling across its vast land holdings. Prior to development of the trona industry in the 1940s and 1950s, entrepreneurs in Green River tried their hand at several chemical and energy industries, including sal soda, a hydrated sodium carbonate used as a general cleanser.

Side-bar on the right
Sal Soda: The First
In pursuit of oil, the Green River Fuel and Oil Company drilled the first well at Green River in 1896. Instead of oil, the company found saline water that the State University at Laramie (now the University of Wyoming) identified as containing high-grade sal soda. Professors at the university valued the sal soda higher than oil. Sodium carbonate from the trona beds below probably combined with ground water to create the saline mixture.
In the early twentieth century, a series of owners and lessees attempted to profit from additional wells of sal soda, selling it to the Union Pacific Railroad as a water softener and to local laundries and soap manufacturers in multiple states.
A power plant was developed to support production of sal soda. This private utility provided Green River's first electricity. The efforts to produce saleable quantities
Trona Precursors Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 10, 2015
2. Trona Precursors Marker
of sal soda were only occasionally successful, and production of sal soda occurred sporadically in Green River during the early twentieth century.

Side-bar on the left
The City of Green River
Green River began as a stage station on the Overland Trail. The Union Pacific Railroad located facilities here in 1872, making Green River a busy U.P. town. Historic economic drivers for the region were the railroad and ranching. These eventually gave way to oil and natural gas development as well as trona mining and processing.
Erected by Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources.
Location. 41° 31.632′ N, 109° 27.99′ W. Marker is in Green River, Wyoming, in Sweetwater County. Marker is on East Railroad Avenue near North 2nd East Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 150 East Railroad Avenue, Green River WY 82935, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. John Wesley Powell (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Oregon Trail Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away); Green River Brewery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Riverside Swimming Pool (approx. 0.3 miles away); Green River City Hall - 1942-1954 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Norm Nevills & A.K. Reynolds - 1940's (approx. 0.4 miles away); The French Trio - 1938 (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Damsite Surveys (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Green River.
Regarding Trona Precursors. The Trona Trail is part of the Wyoming Historic Mine Trail and Byway System.

Trona (Na2CO3•NaHCO3•2H3O) is a water-bearing sodium sesquicarbonate mineral.
Additional keywords. mining
Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 29, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 190 times since then and 28 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 29, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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