Summer Exhibit Series: Highways in Laramie

The railroad is what most of Laramie’s early history is focused on as it allowed new peoples and industries to grow the burgeoning city. Even so, a few decades after the railroad first came to Laramie, a new form of transportation came through that would cause Laramie to be a stop on a major highway system.

The historic Lincoln Highway started as one of the earliest transcontinental highways in 1913. Cutting across the southern part of Wyoming, it allowed travelers to go from East to West with a new-found freedom that came with the invention of the automobile. Laramie was just one of the many stops in southern Wyoming but held a claim to fame with the highest point on the highway being only miles outside of the growing town.

AHCPhotoFiles_LincolnHighway

Signpost along the Lincoln Highway. Photo File: Lincoln Highway, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

By the late 1950s, the historic Lincoln Highway was set to be replaced by the new Interstate 80. The second longest interstate in the country, I-80 would wind its way through southern Wyoming, bringing with it large truck travel and various others that wanted to make the trek cross country.

Both highways boasted fast travel but the weather in Wyoming could either help or hinder that travel. Large amounts of snow and wind called for special structures to keep roads clear, although it wasn’t always effective.

These highways follow historic paths, such as the Oregon Trail, and have made a mark on Laramie’s history through those that have come to Laramie on these paths and the stories the highways have given Laramie’s residents.

LincolnHighway_10869_bx1_Map

Map cover advertising the Lincoln Highway. Lincoln Highway Collection, Accession #10869, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

The Highways in Laramie exhibit will run from August 20 to September 4. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room. Reading Room hours are Monday 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and Tuesday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

– Submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department.

Posted in found in the archive, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Lincoln Highway, Oregon trail, Transportation history, Uncategorized, Western history, Westward migration, Wyoming history | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Who Climbed the Grand Teton First?

One hundred and twenty years ago, on August 11, 1898, William O. Owen (federal surveyor and outdoorsman), Reverend Franklin Spencer Spaulding, and Jackson Hole ranchers Frank L. Petersen and John S. “Jack” Shive reached the summit of Mount Owen of the Grand Tetons, the first documented climb of that peak. The climb was sponsored by a climbing association, the Rocky Mountain Alpine Club.

Ascending party

Photo captioned: “The Ascending Party.” Left to right: Frank Petersen, Thomas Cooper, William Owen, Hugh McDerment, and John Shive. Franklin Spaulding not shown. At the Lower Saddle, Thomas Cooper decided not to continue, and Hugh McDerment elected to go no further at the Upper Saddle. William O. Owen papers, Box 4, Folder 3, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

Party on summit

William Owen, John Shive and Frank Petersen at the summit. Note Rocky Mountain Alpine Club pennant. William O. Owen papers, Box 4, Folder 2, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

Teton route

William O. Owen captioned this photograph showing the party’s path of ascent. William O. Owen papers, Box 4, Folder 1, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

Publication of the news in the New York Herald met with an immediate spat between Owen and Nathaniel P. Langford. Langford, together with James Stevenson, claimed to have reached the summit on July 29, 1872. In June, 1873, an account of the climb was published in Scribner’s Magazine.

NathanielPLangford

Portrait of Nathaniel P. Langford from THE VIGILANTE, THE EXPLORER, THE EXPOUNDER AND FIRST SUPERINTENDENT OF THE YELLOWSTONE PARK. BY OLIN D. WHEELER. (1912) From the text of an presentation given by Wheeler to the Montana Historical Society. Date of portrait is thought to be 1870. Extracted from PDF Public Domain version from the Internet Archive.

However, their description and sketches seem to match the summit of the Enclosure (named after a man-made rock palisade of unknown Native American construction), a side peak of Grand Teton.

The Enclosure

Photo captioned by William O. Owen of The Enclosure. William O. Owen papers, Box 4, Folder 1, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

The debate continues on, as it is not possible to discount or prove Langford’s earlier claim, while Owen’s later one is an established fact.

Owen plaque_ah002987

Photograph of the W.O. Owen plaque that was placed at at the Grand Teton in 1929. The plaque was paid for by Owen and his wife. A person or persons unknown stole the plaque in 1977. It has never been recovered or replaced. American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming, Photofile: Mountaineering – Teton Mountains.

Somewhat missed in this debate is that another rival claim exists on the part of Captain Charles Kieffer of the U.S. Army. In a letter to Owen dated April 3, 1899, Kieffer claimed that he, Private Logan Newell, and a third man, probably Private John Rhyan, climbed the peak on September 10, 1893.

Kieffer letter

Captain Charles Kieffer’s letter to William O. Owen, April 3, 1899. William O. Owen papers, Box 3, Folder 1, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

Kieffer excerpt

Excerpt from Captain Kieffer’s letter shown above stating, “I climbed the Grand Teton on or about the 10 day of September 1893…” William O. Owen papers, Box 3, Folder 1, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

Kieffer’s military records show that he was stationed at Fort Yellowstone during the summer of 1893 and, hence, presumably did have the opportunity to make the ascent. If Kieffer’s drawing, which accompanies his letter, is to be taken literally, it shows his route to have been the Exum Ridge! (This technically difficult route was named for Glenn Exum’s remarkable solo ascent in 1931.)

Kieffer map

Captain Kieffer’s sketch of his ascent. William O. Owen papers, Box 3, Folder 1, American Heritage Center Center, University of Wyoming.

Kieffer’s letter also indicated that he returned in 1895, but failed because “the gradual snow field…had fallen and left a steep jump off that we could not climb.”

It’s interesting to note that Owen did not publish or reveal the letter, and it came to light only when it was uncovered in 1959 in the Owen papers at the UW American Heritage Center (then the Western History Research Center).

 

Posted in found in the archive, Grand Tetons, Mountaineering, Uncategorized, Western history, Wyoming history | Tagged | Leave a comment

Calling All Former Employees!

Are you a former employee of the American Heritage Center?

As part of the Centennial Complex 25th Anniversary Celebration there will be a private event on September 14, 2018 that former employees are invited to, but we need your help! If you are a former employee & would like to receive an invite, please send us your mailing address at ahc@uwyo.edu

Not a former employee? Don’t fear! We are holding an open house September 14 from 1-4 pm. Learn more as the event gets closer or invite friends from our Facebook event page: Centennial Complex 25th Anniversary Celebration

Color photograph of a cone-shaped building being constructed, with U.S. flag mounted on top.

Centennial Complex being constructed in 1992. From the AHC photo files.

Posted in announcements, Centennial Complex, events, University of Wyoming | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Summer Exhibit Series: Ranching in Laramie

While the railroad was the main hub of employment early in Laramie’s history, the cattle and sheep businesses helped grow the economy of the burgeoning town. Names such as Philip Mandel, Thomas Alsop, Charles Hutton, Robert Homer, and the Bath brothers became tied to ranches that caused stockyards to be built in Laramie to aid in the shipping of cattle and sheep to markets. Eventually, the stockyards would be expanded and the railroad would build and run an ice plant to assist in the refrigeration and transportation of produce from Laramie.

ah400055_000459

FSK & Keiser with two more, King Brothers Ranch, Albany County, Wyoming. B. C. Buffum Papers, Accession #400055, Box 20, Item 48, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Old ranchers and newcomers would mingle and continue to grow the livestock industry in Laramie. These ranchers relied on businesses in town for their needs, continuing to grow the town’s economy in more ways than just ranching. By the 1880s, ranching had reached its peak in Laramie, but the cattle marketing collapsing in 1886 dealt a blow to the industry in Laramie.

Agriculture had continued to play a role in Laramie’s economy and history, although a much smaller role than in its early years. This can be seen at events around Laramie and UW’s large agricultural programs. Agriculture was a part of the Western way of life and for many around Laramie, it is still their livelihood.

ah400055_001647

Range horses in corral on Dr. H.L. Steven’s Ranch, Sybille, Albany Co., Wyoming, June 1904. B. C. Buffum Papers, Accession #400055, Box 43, Item 2, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Over the next two weeks, collections and items reflecting Laramie’s ties with ranching and agriculture will be showcased in the exhibits. Brands, ranch stories, and images are just some of the items representing the varied history of agriculture around Laramie that the American Heritage Center holds.

The Ranching in Laramie exhibit will run from August 6 to 20. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room. Reading Room hours are Monday 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and Tuesday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

– Submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do Feed the Bears – The Arthur E. Demaray Collection

Arthur E. Demaray was a National Park Service Administrator who worked as the liaison between the Park Service and Congress. He worked for the park service from 1917 to 1951.

adhi-b3a

Arthur E. Demaray in the 1930’s. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

Demaray’s writings offer insights into Yellowstone National Park during the first half of the 20th Century. During this time period, the parks did not have strict policies against feeding animals.

ah002305

Bear cubs begging for food along the roads in Yellowstone Park were once a common sight. Photofile: Yellowstone-Wildlife, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Demaray describes a game he witnessed children playing. The children would drag string along the ground with string at one end. Ground squirrels would grab the string and the children would lift the squirrels off the ground.

Demaray also discusses his first encounter with bears. He and his wife did not know bears lived in the wild in Yellowstone. When they saw one outside their tent they thought it had escaped its cage.

When Demaray consulted a park pamphlet, he read “even the grizzlies, which are generally believed to be ferocious are not proved by our national parks’ experience to be inoffensive if not attacked.”

ah001605

Tourist hand feeding bears at Yellowstone National Park. Karl C. Allan papers, Accession #7636, Box 2, American Heritage Center. University of Wyoming. 

Demaray writes that at the time, tourists could walk to the garbage dump to see a dozen bears feeding. He says the smaller bears had to wait their turn and says in this way bears are much like people. One bear would stand in the road and force visitors to pay a toll of food to pass.

Arthur E. Demaray’s attitude towards interactions between people and wildlife are endearing, but not supported by the National Parks today. His papers are available at the American Heritage Center.

beggar

“A summer beggar in Yellowstone National Park.” Arthur E. Demaray Papers, Accession #4031, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Posted in conservation, environmental history, found in the archive, National Parks, Natural resources, Uncategorized, Western history, Wyoming history, Yellowstone National Park | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Summer Exhibit Series: The Military in Laramie

The military, much like the Union Pacific Railroad, has close ties with Laramie’s history. Established two years before Laramie was, Fort Sanders was to protect those that traveled along the Overland Trail in southern Wyoming. When Laramie was established in 1868, the fort took on the new role of protecting those that worked for the Union Pacific Railroad.

SBM109KM18072010560_0001

Sketch of Fort Sanders dated 1875. Photo file: Fort Sanders, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming

Before Laramie was established, the fort was small in size but grew to include six companies and a guard house. Even so, the fort became less important with Fort D. A. Russell, now F.E. Warren Air Force Base, being built in Cheyenne. At that point, the days of Fort Sanders seemed numbered, but the War Department ran the fort until 1882.

Not much remains of Fort Sanders and that part of Laramie’s military history. Further north of Fort Sanders, on the University of Wyoming campus is where another military legacy of Laramie resides, along with other memorials across town. The students, faculty, and alumni of UW have a history of military service that can be seen reflected in collections such as UW Air Force ROTC and the University of Wyoming, Department of Military Science collections.

ah400055_000238

University of Wyoming Cadet Corp, Department of Military Science and Tactics, drills on campus, 1893 (Old Main and the Mechanical Arts buildings seen in the background). B. C. Buffum Papers, Accession #400055, Box 14, Item 35, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming.

Military history in Laramie is a history of many, far too many to showcase all those that took part in it. Over the next two weeks, various collections relating to Laramie’s military history will be showcased within the exhibits.

The Military in Laramie exhibit will run from July 24 to August 6. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room of the American Heritage Center. Reading Room hours are Monday 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. and Tuesday through Friday 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Closed Saturday and Sunday.

– Submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department.

 

Posted in announcements, Current events, events, found in the archive, Laramie 150th Anniversary, Local history, military history, Uncategorized, University of Wyoming, Western history, Wyoming history | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Caroline Lockhart Elected to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame

If there was ever a woman who epitomized the saying, “Well behaved women rarely make history,” that person is Caroline Lockhart. She also sought fame—if not infamy—and she recently took one more step closer to her aspiration.

It was announced on June 21, 2018, that Lockhart, the longtime Cody resident, newspaper owner, western novelist and controversial figure, has been elected to the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame as part of the Fort Worth, Texas-based organization’s class of 2018. Lockhart will be inducted Nov. 1 as part of a two-day event.

Lockhart was born in Eagle Point, Illinois, on February 24, 1871, and died in Cody on July 25, 1962. Before moving west, she tried her hand at acting, with poor results, and then turned her attention to authoring writing short stories and writing articles for newspapers in Boston and Philadelphia.

ah002658

A young Caroline Lockhart, ca. 1890. Caroline Lockhart Papers, Accession #177, Box 7.

She went to Cody in 1904 to do a newspaper story on the Blackfeet Indians. She must have fallen in love with the frontier town because that’s where she finally put down roots. She had always wanted to write novels, and in Cody she got her inspiration. Her second novel, The Lady Doc (1912), was purported by Lockhart to be fiction, but Cody residents saw themselves in the thinly veiled characters, and many were not happy about it!

ah003137

Undated photo with caption “Doc (Shady) Lane and me in Cody Minstrel Show.” Lockhart is seen to the left. Caroline Lockhart Papers, Accession #177, Box 5.

Lockhart was viewed as an eccentric by her fellow Cody colleagues. For her time period, she was certainly unconventional: working when other women didn’t, keeping company with a pet lynx, serving alcohol during Prohibition, never marrying, but having a series of boyfriends, and writing biting commentary in the pages of the Cody Enterprise, which she owned between 1920 and 1926. She was also a co-founder of the Buffalo Bill Cody Stampede rodeo. Lockhart is viewed as such an intriguing character that three biographies have been written about her.

ah00598_2348

Caroline Lockhart behind the bar in a poker scene with friends. Charles J. Belden Photographs, Accession #598, Box 21, Item 2348.

To learn more about Lockhart, you can research the AHC’s Caroline Lockhart papers, an 11 box collection that includes correspondence (1908-1960); diaries (1898, 1918-1942); ledgers (1941-1942); photographs, including four albums; manuscripts of articles and books; legal documents, including her 1953 will and a 1959 trust agreement; materials on the Cody Stampede; artifacts; and miscellaneous materials.

 

Posted in announcements, Authors and literature, Current events, found in the archive, Journalism, Local history, popular culture, Uncategorized, Western history, women's history, Wyoming history | Tagged , | Leave a comment