Wyoming: Other Historic Sites Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

A list of important historic sites in Wyoming.

Expedition Island

Location: Green River, Sweetwater County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: This was the embarkation point of Major John Wesley Powell (1834-1902) for his 1871 expedition down the Green and Colorado Rivers and possibly for his 1869 trip as well. On these trips, Major Powell explored the last large land area unknown to European Americans in the mainland United States.

Fort Phil Kearny and Associated Sites

Location: Story, Johnson County

Relevant issues: American Indian history, western expansion

Web site: www.wavecom.net/philkearny/index.html

Statement of significance: Established in 1866 to protect travelers along the Bozeman Trail, the fort was under virtual siege (1866-1868) in the “Red Cloud War” as Sioux groups fought successfully to prevent white invasion of their hunting grounds. This was one of the few times when the Army was forced to abandon a region it had occupied.

Horner Site

Location: Cody, Park County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: This site has yielded evidence that several distinctive weapons and tools found in the Plains region were all part of a single prehistoric flint tool industry of Early Hunter origin. Initial age estimates place occupation of this site at approximately 5000 b.c.e.

Independence Rock

Location: Casper, Natrona County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: This is a well-known natural landmark on the Oregon Trail, 1,900 feet long and 850 feet wide. Numerous travelers painted, carved, or wrote their names on its surface over the years.

Medicine Wheel

Location: Kane, Big Horn County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: This represents one of the most interesting and mysterious remains of late period aboriginal culture. Its builders and function are unknown. Composed of loose, irregularly shaped, whitish flat stones placed in a circle, it is apparently little modified since its construction (c. 1800); twenty-eight linear spokes, seventy to seventy-five feet in length, radiate from the hub.

Obsidian Cliff

Location: Mammoth, Park County

Relevant issues: American Indian history

Statement of significance: Obsidian Cliff occupies a unique position in national prehistory as a singularly important source of lithic materials for prehistoric peoples of interior western North America. It is recognized as an exceptionally well preserved, heavily utilized lithic source that served the utilitarian needs and ceremonial requirements or early indigenous peoples over a large area of North America for twelve thousand years.

Oregon Trail Ruts

Location: Guernsey, Platte County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: Worn from two to six feet into an eroded sandstone ridge on the south side of the North Platte River, this roadbed gives clear physical evidence of the route followed by those who migrated westward across the Plains in the mid-nineteenth century.

Penney Historic District

Location: Kemmerer, Lincoln County

Relevant issues: Business and industry

Statement of significance: This district includes the Golden Rule Store and the home of James Cash (J. C.) Penney (1875-1971), who began here, in 1902, the retail chain that still bears his name.

Sheridan Inn

Location: Sheridan, Sheridan County

Relevant issues: Cultural history

Statement of significance: William F. (“Buffalo Bill”) Cody (1846-1917) operated this hotel from 1894 to 1896, catering principally to sportsmen. The frame building has a piazza on two sides.

South Pass

Location: South Pass City, Fremont County

Relevant issues: Western expansion

Statement of significance: This was the easiest passage through the Rocky Mountains, heavily used by westbound settlers, fur traders, and miners in the nineteenth century. The traffic through the pass helped establish an effective U.S. claim to the Pacific Northwest.

Upper Green River Rendezvous Site

Location: Daniel, Sublette County

Relevant issues: Business and industry, western expansion

Statement of significance: Of the fifteen annual meetings held by mountain men of the Rocky Mountain fur trade from 1825 to 1840, this was the most popular rendezvous site. The annual spring trading fair held here attracted Anglo-American traders and trappers, including Kit Carson and Jim Bridger, and Native Americans.

Wyoming State Capitol

Location: Cheyenne, Laramie County

Relevant issues: Political history, women’s history

Statement of significance: As a territory, Wyoming was the first major jurisdiction in the United States where women had full suffrage, and in 1889, an all-male group drafted a state constitution that included woman suffrage. When Wyoming Territory applied for statehood in 1890, Congress, after a close vote, passed the Wyoming statehood bill. This building represents that symbolic victory for the woman suffrage movement which commanded national attention.

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