A major route for emigrants, freighters, the military, stagecoaches and mail, the Overland Trail across present southern Wyoming saw heavy traffic in the 1850s and 1860s. At different stations along the way, coach drivers obtained fresh horses, the wives of station masters fed dusty travelers and soldiers fought attacking warriors.
Historic Spots & Monuments
Browse Articles about Historic Spots & Monuments
|Ada Magill Grave||WyoHistory.org|
|Airmail, U.S. in Wyoming||Steve Wolff|
|Albert, Prince of Monaco, hunts with Buffalo Bill, 1913||John Clayton|
|Alcova Dam and Reservoir||Annette Hein|
|Arthur, Chester A. and 1883 trip to Yellowstone||Dick Blust, Jr.|
|Atlantic City, Wyo.||Lori Van Pelt|
|Ayres Natural Bridge, Oregon Trail site||WyoHistory.org|
|Baker, Jim. Frontier Scout||Lori Van Pelt|
|Baker, Pvt. Ralston, pioneer grave of||Randy Brown|
Historic Spots & Monuments
Historical monuments and markers often enrich our travels with information on a local place, person, or event—but each marker also hints at the thinking of whoever set it there in the first place. The formal marking of historic spots in Wyoming dates back before statehood, and the process continues today.
A ford, ferry and stage station made up bustling little Green River Station, where the Oregon/California/Mormon Trail crossed the Green River—part of Green River County, Utah until Wyoming became a territory. Serving emigrants, passengers, freighters and the Pony Express, the station died after the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869.
Beginning in 1858, a group of Iowa-based German Lutherans worked to establish a ministry on Deer Creek near present Glenrock, Wyo. Plagued by sparse funding and widening Indian wars, the effort finally collapsed. Three converted Cheyenne boys returned to Iowa with the missionaries and died there; their families never knew what happened to them.
During World War II, the U.S. Army operated two large and 17 smaller prisoner of war camps in Wyoming. Prisoners worked on farms and in the camps, often for private employers, who paid a going rate for local wages. Some prisoners became friends with their supervisors, others with the farm families they worked for.
In 1913, the nation’s first transcontinental highway—initially more idea than road—followed Wyoming’s southern rail corridor. After its life as a named highway ended, the route lived on as U.S. 30. Since I-80 was finished in 1970, the Lincoln Highway has become a nostalgic touchstone for a friendlier, more easygoing way to drive.
As mass production of automobiles increased the demand for better roads, federal highway funds became available to states and “good roads” committees pioneered the identification, improvement and naming of likely tourist routes. Among the first of these, from the Black Hills to Yellowstone, was the Black and Yellow Trail.
During the Civil War, varying companies of soldiers from five states served at Fort Halleck on the Overland Trail in what’s now south-central Wyoming. They defended stagecoach stations, passengers, freighters and emigrant trains. Some died in blizzards, some witnessed a legal hanging and some lynched an African-American ambulance driver.
Nearly 1,100 Wyoming servicemen, representing every county, died in World War II. As in other states, Wyoming’s people gained a stronger sense of being part of the nation thanks in part to war bond drives, scrap metal drives, book drives, victory gardens—and their loved ones’ service at home and overseas.