Thousands of pioneers journeyed over 1,000 miles to reach this point. Illness and death were common. Everywhere along the trail people died and were buried.
It is estimated that one out of ten emigrants who started on the trail died before . . . — — Map (db m95503) HM
Located in central Wyoming's North Platte River Valley, Alcova Reservoir plays an important role in water conservation, irrigation, and hydroelectric generation. Alcova Reservoir was originally proposed in 1904 as part of a series of irrigation . . . — — Map (db m95576) HM
The Legend of Devil’s Gate
American Indian legend says a powerful evil spirit in the form of a tremendous beast with enormous tusks ravaged the Sweetwater Valley, preventing the Indians from hunting and camping. A holy man told the . . . — — Map (db m95488) HM
From here to Split Rock, a day's journey west, the Oregon Trail followed two routes; one close to the Sweetwater River, and the other a little further from it but more direct.
Capt. Howard Stansbury commented August 1, 1852:
"...Frost . . . — — Map (db m95515) HM
The grave of F.R. Fulkerson was noted by forty-niner J.G. Bruff on July 26, 1849, as he traveled through what he termed "Pass of the Rattle-Snake Mountain to the left of Devil's Gate." The survival of the large granite boulder used as the Fulkerson . . . — — Map (db m66997) HM
Fremont Canyon was named after General John Charles Fremont, who explored the canyon in 1842 when he was a Lieutenant in the Army. Pathfinder Dam located three miles upstream was also named for the explorer known as the "Pathfinder" who was . . . — — Map (db m95573) HM
Fremont Canyon Power Plat is located behind this door at the end of a 1,692 foot (516m) tunnel. Water used to power the plant's two hydraulic turbines is received fro Pathfinder Reservoir through a 3 mile (4.8km) long tunnel as is discharged into . . . — — Map (db m95574) HM
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 . . . — — Map (db m62149) HM
Probably discovered by returning Astorians, 1812. Given its name by emigrants who celebrated Independence Day here July 4, 1825. Capt. Bonneville passed here with first wagons 1832. Whitman and Spalding, missionaries with their wives stopped here . . . — — Map (db m95548) HM
Survivors of Captain Edward Martin's Handcart Company of Mormon emigrants from England to Utah were rescued here in perishing condition about Nov. 12, 1856. Delayed in starting and hampered by inferior carts it was overtaken by an early winter. . . . — — Map (db m95487) HM
Two miles to the northwest nestled at the foot of the Sweetwater Rocks, lies Martin's Cove. Here Captain Edward Martin's exhausted company of Mormon handcart emigrants sought shelter from a severe early winter storm in 1856. The Martin Company, low . . . — — Map (db m95501) HM
Pathfinder Dam represents the earliest attempts by the United States government to develop the nation’s great river basins for irrigation, water storage, power production and recreation. The Federal Reclamation Act of 1902 authorized the Reclamation . . . — — Map (db m95578) HM
Of all our magnificent big game animals, only the pronghorn antelope cannot be traced back to Eurasia. Other big game animals are believed to have migrated to the continent via the now sunken Bering land mass located between Siberia and Alaska. . . . — — Map (db m95479) HM
In front of you is the Sun Ranch, one of the first large open range ranches in Wyoming. The original ranch building, which today makes up part of the Mormon Handcart Visitor Center, was constructed in 1872.
Tom de Beau Soleil (a French Canadian . . . — — Map (db m95502) HM
The Oregon Trail passed over the ridge to the east of Devil's Gate. Good grass, water and the shelter of the hills made this a popular campsite.
Explorer Brevet-Captain John C. Fremont, 1842:
"In about three miles, we reached the . . . — — Map (db m95504) HM
In 1852 an estimated 50,000 pioneers passed Independence Rock on their way west. Among this number was the family of 21-year-old Ezra Meeker, recently of Eddyville, Iowa, but natives of Indiana. Meeker, his wife Eliza, and their infant son, arrived . . . — — Map (db m95546) HM
An important landform like Independence Rock is protected and preserved only through the efforts of many people and organizations. Not all attempts at preservation and commemoration are acceptable by current standards, however, and some actions left . . . — — Map (db m95551) HM
Large numbers of cattle populated this country prior to the devastating storms of the 1880’s. Sheep were far more profitable than cattle and sheep herds began to multiply. However, the terrible winter of 1919 and predators took their toll on . . . — — Map (db m86920) HM
Here the present-day highway crosses what remains of an all but forgotten road. That road led to the remote goldfields of western Montana, booming since 1862. The government, in 1859, ordered Captain W.F. Raynolds, Topographical . . . — — Map (db m86918) HM
It is not coincidence that Wyoming supports over two-thirds of the world’s population of pronghorn antelope and sage grouse. The only vast expanses of sagebrush-grassland habitat left on the North American continent are found in Wyoming, . . . — — Map (db m88983) HM
From the moment humans first saw these red buttes, an enduring memory and sense of place was created. Gone for centuries now are the aboriginal people that hunted bison on the plains around you, and trappers that ventured here seeking beaver, mink, . . . — — Map (db m91980) HM
Daunting to some, invigorating to others, the view from here gave emigrants a sense of the dramatic beauty and grand scale of the West. Many pioneers, tired after having climbed four hundred feet above Willow Springs, were humbled by this panorama. . . . — — Map (db m95598) HM
"Sunday Jun 15. Traveled 25 miles, about one mile from the springs is Prospect Hill. It is a delightful view, and here you can see the range of Sweet water mountains..." Excerpt from the 1851 journal of Amelia Hadley in Covered Wagon . . . — — Map (db m95597) HM
Battle of Red Buttes
which occurred across
North Platte River
July 26, 1865
Headquarters 2d, Corps Area
United States Army
which reenacted the battle at
Governor's Island N.Y.
June 21, and 22, . . . — — Map (db m92009) HM
Throughout history, humans have followed river banks in search of resources to support commerce. Rivers made possible the exploration and mapping of North America. Major waterways served as trade routes for native peoples, corridors for European . . . — — Map (db m91949) HM
The eighteenth century brought competition among Spain, France, England and the fledgling Unites States for control of North America. Domain over the continent's rivers, seaports, forests, rich soils, and wildlife resources was key to the growth of . . . — — Map (db m95596) HM
Many travelers along the Oregon, California, and Mormon Pioneer trails relied on maps and reports made by explorers or guides who knew the way. William Clayton provided early emigrants with a detailed written record of his travels. As a member of . . . — — Map (db m91950) HM
Many travelers along the Oregon, California, and Mormon Pioneer trail relied on maps and reports made by explorers or guides who knew the way. William Clayton provided early emigrants with a detailed written record of his travels. As a member of . . . — — Map (db m95600) HM
Bessemer (1888-1892) was one of many small towns that grew quickly in late nineteenth century Wyoming. Early explorers and traders had discovered crude oil seeping to the surface of the ground in this area. One nearby oil spring drew the attention . . . — — Map (db m91990) HM
Permanent settlers began claiming this region by the late 1870s, at the end of the Plains Indian wars. The nearby Goose Egg Ranch dates to 1877 when the Searight Brothers Cattle Company trailed more than 20,000 head of cattle into Wyoming Territory. . . . — — Map (db m91979) HM
In this location wagons, carts, livestock, and emigrants forded the North Platte River during organized migrations through the Rocky Mountain West. Congressional prodding to occupy the Oregon Territory in the early 1840s, and the lure of fertile, . . . — — Map (db m91971) HM
Field exploration by scientists in the late 1800s illuminated the American West. One of the most charismatic of these men was Dr. Ferdinand Vandiveer Hayden. Born in 1828 in Massachusetts and trained as a physician, Dr. Hayden first journeyed to the . . . — — Map (db m91976) HM
The eighteenth century saw competition for control of North America among Spain, France, England, and the fledgling United States. Following a forty-year period of wars, treaties, territorial purchases, and establishment of trading posts, the future . . . — — Map (db m91947) HM
After the last crossing of the North Platte River in the present Casper area, twenty to twenty-five miles east of here, wagons followed the Oregon-California Trail entered a dry, dreary alkali area where fresh water was scarce. Willow Springs was . . . — — Map (db m95592) HM
Around this loop trail you can learn more about this place called Bessemer Bend. Consider the history that has unfolded around you, and match each numbered site on the map above with the event described below.
1. Ten thousand years ago nomadic . . . — — Map (db m91948) HM
The discovery of gold in Montana in 1862 created a rush of miners traveling to Virginia city. The most direct routes were through Wyoming on the Bridger and Bozeman trails. In the spring of 1863, John Bozeman, a miner from Georgia, pioneered a route . . . — — Map (db m91813) HM
Drilling rigs of this type were used from about 1878 into the 1950's. With the drilling of deeper wells, starting in the 1920's, cable-tool drilling was gradually replaced by more modern rotary-drilling methods. This replica was built using plans . . . — — Map (db m95586) HM
On April 9, 1889, application was made to have the town of Casper incorporated. John Merritt made the application in Rawlins, Wyoming since Casper was in Carbon County at that time. On July 8, 1889, Casper was incorporated and George Mitchell was . . . — — Map (db m91890) HM
The summer of 1942 work was begun on an air base in the Casper area. In four months, four thousand workers constructed two hundred buildings, laid utility lines, built streets and laid out runways heavy enough for the largest military planes. On . . . — — Map (db m91893) HM
Shaped by History
Salt Creek oil brought prosperity to Casper, in addition to people and industry. Despite the closure of Casper refineries as well as reduced output of Salt Creek oil in recent years, oil history . . . — — Map (db m92055) HM
The city of Casper, established near the site of old Fort Casper, formerly Plate Bridge Station, was named in honor of Lieut. Casper Collins, who lost his life in an Indian battle there on July 26, 1865. The fort was one of the small army posts . . . — — Map (db m86899) HM
The Casper division of the Civilian Conservation Corps was arranged by the efforts of the Casper Chamber of Commerce in 1937. Work done by the C.C.C, on Casper Mountain and at Alcova consisted of building bridges, improving roads, and reducing fire . . . — — Map (db m91892) HM
Eadsville, a mining ghost town, is situated 12 miles due south of Casper on top of Casper Mountain. It was founded by Charles W. Eads in 1891 after he had staked a 600’ x 1,500’ mining claim around a large spring. Word had spread that large deposits . . . — — Map (db m91891) HM
On Saturday, July 20, 1889, Ellen L. Watson, popularly known as “Cattle Kate”, was hanged with James Averell in Spring Canyon. The site is located 50 miles southwest of Casper near Independence Rock.
Ella and Jim had adjoining . . . — — Map (db m91817) HM
This larger-than-life sculpture, “The Pony Express”, was conceived and created by the heart and hands of Avard Tennyson Fairbanks (1897 – 1987). Born into an artistic family in Provo, Utah, Avard Fairbanks showed childhood talent . . . — — Map (db m86900) HM
The Goose Egg Ranch first received some notoriety when Owen Wister featured it in his book, The Virginian. In the novel, this is where the cowboys exchanged the babies’ blankets, and after the dance, the mothers carried home the wrong . . . — — Map (db m91816) HM
The center piece of the Platte Bridge Station and Fort Caspar was the bridge built here by Louis Guinard in 1859-1860 and used until Fort Caspar was abandoned in 1867. The bridge superstructure stood on 28 timber cribbings filled with rock and . . . — — Map (db m91712) HM
This unique setting of natural beauty cover approximately 320 acres. Viewed from a point of maximum depth, its walls and pinnacles show soft and varied hues comparable to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.
Investigation has confirmed that in . . . — — Map (db m80126) HM
At the time of the great migration of emigrants through Wyoming to the Pacific coast and Utah, Indians were the largest group of residents in Wyoming. Many of these tribes such as Utes and Blackfeet, were semi-permanent and nomadic, traveling in and . . . — — Map (db m91720) HM
John C. Fremont, the “Pathfinder”, was born in 1813 and explored a large portion of central Wyoming including the Casper area. He made an independent survey to the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming in 1842, and the 13,743’ Fremont Peak of . . . — — Map (db m91722) HM
Originally located 3 blocks south of here, this monument was moved to this location in 1952. In an effort to rectify inaccurate information presented on the monument, the following corrections are provided. Oregon TrailThe 1849 date presented . . . — — Map (db m88148) HM
Originally known to trappers and explorers (1830-1847) as Upper Crossing of the North Platte River, it became the Mormon Ferry in 1847. Guinard built a bridge here in 1858, and troops from Platte Bridge Station guarded the telegraph line and . . . — — Map (db m91675) HM
Lt. Caspar Collins was killed July 26, 1865 about three miles from this spot. His body was removed by relatives to his old home in Hillsboro, Ohio. Bodies of soldiers killed from 1858 to 1867 were reburied at Fort D. A. Russell in 1899. Some still . . . — — Map (db m91686) HM
From 1840 to 1869, over 350,000 emigrants traveled past this area on the Oregon/California /Mormon Trails. The promise of free land, sudden riches, or religious freedom caused these pioneers to endure great hardships. Thousands of persons died in . . . — — Map (db m91723) HM
Two plaques and a medallion are located at this site:
Oregon- California Trail
During the years 1841-1867 over 350,000 persons passed through Casper on their way West. The majority of them traveled through what is now the lobby . . . — — Map (db m92022) HM
Pioneer Monument Erected on this site of the Old Oregon Trail in memory of the pioneers who blazed the way. Built by Natrona County Pioneer Association 1849 1911
Fort Casper ---------- U. S. Military Post Established about 1864 by . . . — — Map (db m86897) HM
You may be surprised that no one is buried under these stone markers. They represent some of the soldiers who died while stationed at Platte Bridge Station (Fort Caspar). The army removed the bodies originally located here and reinterred them at . . . — — Map (db m91676) HM
Today you stand where the Pony Express ran in 1860-61, when daring riders on swift horses carried the mail between St. Joe, MO and Sacramento, CA.
A January 30, 1860 news release read: “Have determined to establish a Pony Express to . . . — — Map (db m91812) HM
The first passenger train arrived in this area on June 15, 1888 as part of Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad System at the site of an “old town” that would later become Casper, Wyoming. A depot was built after the tracks were . . . — — Map (db m91889) HM
From Wyoming's very beginnings and with the completion of the first transcontinental railroad, the livestock industry was anticipated to secure a viable ecumenic base for the new territory. Most of the territory consisted of rangeland where buffalo . . . — — Map (db m91815) HM
These fort buildings were reconstructed on the original site in 1936 by the Works Progress Administration. The WPA was a government program created during the Great Depression to provide jobs for the unemployed.
Prior to his death on July 26, . . . — — Map (db m91702) HM
The military camps and Richard Bridge were located in the bend of the North Platte River about one-half mile north of Evansville, Wyoming. Locally known as Reshaw’s Bridge, the area is marked by a historical sign.
John Richard (Reshaw) . . . — — Map (db m91811) HM
Approximately eight miles southwest of here, Robert Stuart built the first cabin in the state of Wyoming. The cabin was built in a three day period in early November,1812, at a site on the North Platte River at Bessemer Bend.
Robert Stuart was . . . — — Map (db m91721) HM
The famous Salt Creek oil field is located in Natrona County, 40 miles north of Casper. Representative Stephen W. Downey was the first man to acquire land at Salt Creek in 1883, after the discovery of the Jackass Spring oil seep. The discovery oil . . . — — Map (db m91814) HM
Built by Louis Gurnard
Immediately south and west are the sites of Platte Bridge Station, First Overland Telegraph, Stage, and Pony Express Stations on the Old Oregon Trail
One half mile north and . . . — — Map (db m91710) HM
Casper’s unique National Guard Armory was built here in 1930 to house the Headquarters Troop of the 115th Cavalry Regiment. The indoor field provided room for training both horses and men, and even hosted the occasional polo match until the regiment . . . — — Map (db m91674) HM
Early on the morning of July 26, 1865 Lt. Caspar Collins led a troop of men to reinforce an army supply train coming into Platte Bridge Station. Only a mile west of the post, the group was ambushed by members of the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapahoe . . . — — Map (db m91691) HM
A desperate battle to save a supply train ended tragically the same day as the Battle at Platte Bridge. Sgt. Amos Custard and his men were bringing five supply wagons from the Sweetwater Station near Independence Rock. The group came into view of . . . — — Map (db m91688) HM
“….A Company have gone back about three miles to make two canoes on which they intend to build a boat to be used here till the next company comes up. Another company also went about half a mile up the river to make slabs or puncheons to lay on . . . — — Map (db m91693) HM
Brigham Young led the first group of Mormons west from winter quarters in Nebraska in 1847, finally settling in the Salt Lake Valley. When these pioneers crossed the river here, they left nine men to operate a ferry. This ferry served fellow Mormons . . . — — Map (db m91724) HM
Here was the bustling Platte Bridge Station (later renamed Fort Caspar) with a relay station for the Pony Express. The bridge was a catalyst drawing together wilderness wayfarers -- frontiersmen and immigrants -- to learn late news of the trail . . . — — Map (db m91660) HM
From the late 1840s through the 1860s, an exodus of more than 70,000 Mormons passed by here on their way to their “New Zion” in Utah. Starting from Nauvoo, Illinois in February 1846, the first group of at least 13,000 Mormons crossed . . . — — Map (db m91708) HM
The North Platte River that we see today is considerably different than the river that the 1847 pioneer party had to cross. As series of dams upstream from this site strictly regulates the flow of water on a year round basis.
(Map of Platte . . . — — Map (db m91704) HM
Native Americans were the first to use Wyoming's oil and later show early explorers where to find it. Sticky black liquids bubbling in natural seeps were used for liniments and paints. In 1832, Captain Bonneville found the "great tar spring' below . . . — — Map (db m95587) HM
(top panel:) no text(middle panel:)
Anticline & Domes
Salt Creek Oilfield is a classic “anticline.” Being oval in shape, this type of anticline is also called a “dome.” Soft, porous . . . — — Map (db m95637) HM
Canyons and the southward curve of the North Platte west of here forced emigrant wagon trains to cross to the north side of the river somewhere between present Glenrock and Casper. This region was known generally as the Upper Platte Crossing. Until . . . — — Map (db m92052) HM
Some Salt Creek oil wells in the 1910s-20s were uncontrollable gushers. Before pipelines, storage tanks, and advanced equipment, much oil soaked into the ground, ran into streams, and was burned to reduce runoff. A few . . . — — Map (db m95636) HM
Two memorial plaques are located on the base of the American Legion flagpole.
Orin Snyder • Wm. McClaffin • John M. Speckbacher
Who Died for Democracy
In Memory of those who paid the supreme . . . — — Map (db m95628) WM
“Get out and don’t come back!” was the message John Hunton and his oil prospecting party received in 1873 from a mounted band of Arapahoe Indians while filling glass jars with pure crude oil seeping from the sandy ground. This is the . . . — — Map (db m95627) HM
Stockmen were aware of pools of oil in the creek bottoms during cattle trailing days. These oil seeps led to the discovery of Salt Creek, one of Wyoming’s largest oil fields, nine miles long by five miles wide.
In 1883, the first claims were . . . — — Map (db m91657) HM
Stockmen were aware of pools of oil in the creek bottoms during cattle trailing days. These oil seeps led to the discovery of Salt Creek, one of Wyoming's largest oil fields, nine miles long by five miles wide. In 1883, the first claims were filed . . . — — Map (db m95626) HM
( top panel:)
Development of the Salt Creek Oilfield accompanied the nation’s evolving interest in the West from a romantic wilderness to a resource of mineral wealth. Placer oil claims were filed in the Salt Creek area beginning in . . . — — Map (db m95629) HM
Teapot Rock is an outcropping of sandstone whose general outline resembles a teapot—though harsh weather has collapsed both handle and spout. Taking place nearby, the Teapot Dome Scandal “erupted like a gusher” in 1924, rocking the . . . — — Map (db m92160) HM
In the early 1900s, hopeful oil workers flooded Salt Creek - especially "boomers" from "gone bust" oilfields in other states. Many companies built camps next to wells to house employees. As companies changed hands and shifted . . . — — Map (db m91659) HM
Many emigrant pioneers passed through this gap, or opening, in Emigrant Ridge between the 1840’s and the 1880’s as they traveled the Oregon-Mormon Trail by oxen-drawn wagons, on horseback, or on foot. The trail generally followed the North Platte . . . — — Map (db m92013) HM
First commercial ferry on the Platte River was established 1/2 mile south of here in June 1847 by “Mormon” pioneers on their way to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Brigham Young directed nine men to remain to operate the ferry. They . . . — — Map (db m91916) HM
In 1919 the Mills Construction Company purchased a major portion of this area to mine sand and gravel from the floor plain of the North Platte River. This material was hauled by horse and wagon to the Midwest refinery (now Amoco) to build roads and . . . — — Map (db m92010) HM