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UB-TAH SUMMER INSTITUTE FIELDTRIP DAY 4 (Under construction subject to change)
THURSDAY, JULY 17, 2008
Educational Material/Non Commercial

ITINERARY/LINKS:
Monday, July 14, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008

* UB-TAH RECOMMENDATIONS*
Every evening or morning we will share our learning experiences
Support Readings:
U.S. History, The West Timeline
Utah History and Ute History Timeline

Wyoming History Timeline
Plains Indians History Timeline
South Dakota History Timeline
Nebraska History Timeline
Core Curriculum
Suggested Primary Source:
Indian Affairs Laws and Treaties

Time

Event Stop Pictures

7:C0AM

Open Continental Breakfast/Questions?
 

   

7:30AM

Bus leaves from Custer City, South Dakota

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12

History of Custer City, South Dakota:

"Although there were French fur trappers and traders in the Custer area by 1796, there was no town of Custer until August 10, 1875. On that date General George Cook persuaded the miners illegally in the area to leave until the Black Hills became opened to white settlement. Cook allowed the assembled miners to lay out and name a town and allowed seven men to remain in the area to protect their mining claims.

Thomas Hooper laid out the town one mile square with a picket rope and a pocket compass. Lots were numbered and the miners present drew for the lot they could claim when the area would be opened for settlement.

When it came to naming the town, veterans of the Civil War who had served in the Union Army suggested the name of Custer to honor the general who had made a reputation for himself. Veterans of the Confederate Army suggested the town to be named Stonewall in honor of their Civil War hero, Stonewall Jackson. A vote was taken to decide the matter. There being more Union veterans than Confederate veterans--although the number was close to half and half--the name of Custer won.

The exodus of miners in August of 1875 was short-lived. Many of them returned to the area before it was officially opened to settlement by the government. They had been lured to the area by reports from the 1874 expedition to the Black Hills and Custer's report of the finding of gold on French Creek. Custer was followed within four months by the Collins-Witcher-Gordon party of pioneers who settled near Custer's former "permanent" camp. The Gordon Stockade was built by that party and it was the magnet that drew the miners to the area in 1875. The Gordon party was evicted from their stockade in April of 1875.

Rows of ramshackle cabins mostly made from green lumber soon appeared in Custer valley at the site of the present City of Custer. The city was thriving with an estimated 10,000 population by May of 1876, when a gold strike in Deadwood Gulch caused the miners to flock to that location, there were only fourteen people left in Custer--Sam Shankland, Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Albien, Mrs. S.M. Booth, General Scott, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Wright, Mrs. Charles Hayward, Frank Peterson, William Kraus, A.B. Hughes, Abram Yerkes, Joseph Reynolds and Bob Pugh. By the end of 1876, the town's population had increased to 123 people.

Merchandise was freighted to Custer from 1876 until 1890 when the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad reached the town. Ox teams pulling covered freight wagons--the reason for Custer's 100-foot wide streets designed so that teams could make U-turns--gave way to the railroad which gave way to truckers in the 1940s. Early businesses by December of 1876 included the Western Stage Line (Sidney, Nebraska to Deadwood, fares $10 to $20); a hotel, the Custer House; Lee, Turner & Company, grocers; Joseph T. Bliss, general second hand store; S.M. Booth, wholesale and retail commission merchant; Harlow & Co., clothiers, hardware, grain, feed, liquors and cigars; Dr. D.W. Flick and Dr. J.W.C White, physician and surgeon.

The first baby born in Custer was a girl born May 11, 1876 to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Sasse. They moved to Deadwood and the child died in November. Sasse freighted liquor to the Black Hills. The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage began regular runs to Custer in July of 1876. Custer's first school was taught in the summer of 1876 by Miss Carrie Scott, daughter of C.A. Scott who made the first coffin in Custer. The Scotts moved to Spearfish. The Rev. Henry Weston Smith gave the first sermon in Custer--in a saloon. He was killed that summer while on his way from Deadwood to Crook City to deliver a sermon.

By 1915 W.R. Woods had completed a telephone line in Custer, connecting eventually with the Deadwood line. Up to that time communcition was by telegraph, pony express, or horse and buggy.

Electricity was generated by the Dakota Power Company in the 1920s.

Sanitary Sewer plants replaced the gutters into which refuse, solid and liquid, was thrown into the streets prior to about 1920. Septic tanks were used by individual households. The city water mains were first of routed out logs joined with fitted ends, later with metal pipes that rusted and now with plastic pipes. Water comes from deep wells.

The city police force progressed from a lone constable to a force of four or five men until it was combined with county law enforcement in the 1970s.

Dirt was replaced by gravel on city streets by the 1915s when main street was levelled and boardwalks gave way to concrete sidewalks. Paving began in the 1940s. An airport was built in the 1940s and has steadily increased in services and facilities.

Two city parks evolved from a need for a place for farmers to have picnics when they brought produce to town in the 1930s, the removal of a feed and grain store that was falling to ruins, rerouting of French Creek, and a donation of land for the present Harbach park.

Since the 1880s Custer has had a volunteer fire department, first with hose cart and runners, then with wagon and teams and finally with hose trucks, smoke estractors, etc. For years, Leo Harbach as fire chief, guided the destiny of the department which included constant training and upgrading of methods and equipment.

Custer's early Commercial Club was replaced by the Custer County Chamber of Commerce, now the Custer Area Chamber of Commerce which promotes tourism in the city. Custer is the county seat of Custer County. Its 1881 courthouse has housed many famous trials and incidents over the past 92 years. Twenty seven years ago a new courthouse was constructed at the south side of Way Park, a legacy of a Custer County official and former miner.

Custer's population is of about 1,800. The town is a friendly place to do business in the midst of spectacular Black Hills scenery."

Author: Custer City Website
Source: Custer City Website
Educational Material/Non Commercial
 

   
8:30AM Arriving in Rapid City, South Dakota

History of Rapid City, South Dakota:
The public discovery of gold in 1874 by the Custer Expedition brought an influx of settlers into the Black Hills region of South Dakota. Rapid City was founded (and originally known as "Hay Camp") in 1876 by a group of disappointed miners, who promoted their new city as the "Gateway to the Black Hills." John Brennan and Samuel Scott, with a small group of men, laid out the site of the present Rapid City, which was named for the spring-fed Rapid Creek that flows through it. A square mile was measured off and the six blocks in the center were designated as a business section. Committees were appointed to bring in prospective merchants and their families to locate in the new settlement. Although it began as a hay camp, the city soon began selling supplies to miners and pioneers, and its location on the edge of the Plains and Hills, with a large river valley made it the natural hub of railroads arriving in the late 1880s from both the south and east. By 1900, Rapid City had survived a boom and bust and was establishing itself as an important regional trade center.

Although the Black Hills became a tourist destination in the late 1890s, it was a combination of local boosterism, the popularity of the automobile, and construction of improved highways that brought tourists to the Black Hills in large numbers after World War I. Gutzon Borglum, already a famous sculptor, began work on Mount Rushmore in 1927, and his son, Lincoln Borglum continued the carving of the presidents' faces in rock following his father's death in 1941, but work was halted and the massive sculpture was declared completed in 1941, due to pressures leading to the US entry into World War II. Although tourism sustained the city throughout the Great Depression of the 1930s, the gas rationing of World War II had a devastating effect on the tourist industry in the town, but this was more than made up for by the war-related growth.

The city benefited greatly from the opening of Rapid City Army Air Base, later Ellsworth Air Force Base, an Army Air Corps training base. As a result, the population of the area nearly doubled between 1940 and 1948, from almost 14,000 to nearly 27,000 people. Military families and civilian personnel soon took every available living space in town, and mobile parks proliferated. Rapid City businesses profited from the military payroll. During the Cold War, missile installations proliferated in the area: a series of Nike Air Defense sites were constructed around Ellsworth in the 1950s. In the early 60s the construction of three Titan missile launch sites containing a total of nine Titan I missiles in the general vicinity of Rapid City took place. Beginning in November 1963, the land for a hundred miles east, northeast and northwest of the city was dotted with 150 Minuteman missile silos and 15 launch command centers, all of which were deactivated in the early 1990s. [6]

In 1949, city officials envisioned the city as a retail and wholesale trade center for the region and designed a plan for growth that focused on a civic center, more downtown parking places, new schools, and paved streets. A construction boom continued into the 1950s. Growth slowed in the 1960s, but the worst natural disaster in South Dakota history, the Black Hills Flood led to another building boom a decade later. On June 9, 1972, heavy rains caused massive flooding of the Rapid Creek. More than 250 people lost their lives and more than $100 million in property was destroyed.

Debris along Rapid Creek after 1972 flood.The devastation of the flood and the outpouring of private donations and millions of dollars in federal aid led to the completion of one big part of the 1949 plan: clearing the area along the Rapid Creek and making it a public park. New homes and businesses were constructed to replace those that had been destroyed. Rushmore Plaza Civic Center and a new Central High School were built in part of the area that had been cleared. The rebuilding in part insulated Rapid City from the drop in automotive tourism caused by the Oil Embargo in 1974, but tourism was depressed for most of a decade. In 1978, Rushmore Mall was built on the north edge of the city, adding to the city's position as a retail shopping center.

In the 1980s, growth was fueled by an increase in tourism, increasingly tied to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, followed by another decline in the late 1990s. Fears for the closure of Ellsworth AFB as part of the massive base closure process in the 1990s and 2000s led to attempts to expand other sectors of the economy, but growth continued and the city expanded significantly during this period.

Today, Rapid City is South Dakota's primary city for tourism and recreation. Urban flight from neighboring towns has greatly benefited the growth of Rapid City and the city continues to expand both commercially and residentially. With the approval of a Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory at the Homestake Mine site, Rapid City has a future of great advancements in technology, medicine, and scientific research.

Cars jumbled together by the 1972 flood.On June 9-10, 1972, extremely heavy rains over the eastern Black Hills of South Dakota produced record floods on Rapid Creek and other streams in the area. Nearly 15 inches (380 mm) of rain fell in about 6 hours near Nemo, and more than 10 inches (250 mm) of rain fell over an area of 60 square miles (160 km˛). According to the Red Cross, the resulting peak floods (which occurred after dark) left 238 people dead and 3,057 people injured.[7] In addition to the human tragedy, total damage was estimated in excess of $160 million (about $664 million in 2002 dollars), which included 1,335 homes and 5,000 automobiles that were destroyed. Runoff from this storm produced record floods (highest peak flows recorded) along Battle, Spring, Rapid, and Box Elder Creeks. Smaller floods also occurred along Elk Creek and Bear Butte Creek. Canyon Lake Dam, on the west side of Rapid City, broke the night of the flood, unleashing a wall of water down the creek. The 1972's flooding has an estimated recurrence interval of 500 years.(Burr and Korkow, 1996), which means that a flood of this magnitude will occur on average once every 500 years. Every year there is a 0.2 percent chance (1 in 500) of experiencing a similar event. To prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future, the city's flood plain is no longer allowed to be built upon. Today the flood plain features golf courses, parks, sports arenas, and arboretums where neighborhoods and businesses once stood.

In 2007, the Rapid City Public Library created a 1972 Flood digital archive that collects survivors' stories, photos and news accounts of the flood.

Author: Chamber of Commerce and Wikipedia
Source: Online Resource
Educational Material/Non Commercial

 
Yes South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
8:45AM Visiting Downtown in Rapid City, South Dakota    
  Visiting Presidential Walk in Rapid City, South Dakota

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12



"Since more than two million people visit Mount Rushmore every year, it seems a natural progression for nearby Rapid City to include life-sized bronze sculptures of the American presidents along its downtown sidewalks. Not only does it keep with the presidential theme, but the sculptures, created by local artists, allow for an up-close photo opportunity while showcasing the talents of South Dakota's artist community. The ten-year project was begun in 2000, and presidents already on the streets include George Washington, John Adams, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon."

Author: Online Resource (VacationsMadeEasy.com)
Educational Material/Non Commercial

 
Yes South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
9:30AM The Journey Museum, South Dakota
222 New York Street
Rapid City, SD 57701
Phone: 605-394-6923
Fax : 605-394-6940
Museum Virtual 360° Tour

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12

"The Journey Museum is the education venue that serves as a forum to preserve and explore the heritage of the cultures of the Black Hills region and the knowledge of its natural environment to understand and value our past, enrich our present, and meet the challenges of the future."

"Interactive exhibits and dramatic displays present the geography, people and events that shaped the history and heritage of the region. Indian and non-Indian cultures are factually presented. Hands-on examples of rocks, fossils, artifacts and memorabilia encourage each individual to experience the history of the "Paha Sapa" through sight, sound and touch. Open daily, year round."

Author: The Journey Museum Website
Source: The Journey Museum Website
Educational Material/Non Commercial

 
Yes South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
  LUNCH    
12:45AM Deadwood City, South Dakota
 

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12

History of Deadwood, South Dakota:
"Deadwood started off illegally, as its location was, at the beginning of its history, part of Native American territory. The Treaty of Laramie of 1868 had guaranteed ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota people. However, in 1874, Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Hills and announced the discovery of gold on French Creek near present-day Custer, South Dakota. Custer's announcement triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush and gave rise to the lawless town of Deadwood, which quickly reached a population of around 5,000.

In early 1876, frontiersman Charlie Utter and his brother Steve led a wagon train to Deadwood containing what were deemed to be needed commodities to bolster business, including gamblers and prostitutes, which proved to be a profitable venture. Demand for women was high, and the business of prostitution proved to be a good market. Madam Dora DuFran would eventually become the most profitable brothel owner in Deadwood, closely followed by Madam Mollie Johnson. Businessman Tom Miller opened the Bella Union Saloon in September of that year.

Another saloon was the Gem Variety Theater opened April 7th, 1877 by Al Swearengen who also controlled the opium trade in the town. After the saloon was destroyed by a fire and rebuilt in 1879, it burned down again in 1899, causing Swearengen to leave the town.

The town attained notoriety for the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, and remains the final resting place of Hickok and Calamity Jane, as well as slightly less famous figures such as Seth Bullock. It became known for its wild and almost lawless reputation, during which time murder was common, and punishment for murders not always fair and impartial. The prosecution of the murderer of Hickok, Jack McCall, had to be sent to retrial because of a ruling that his first trial, which resulted in an acquittal, was invalid because Deadwood was an illegal town. This moved the trial to a Lakota court, where he was found guilty and then hanged.

As the economy changed from gold rush to steady mining, Deadwood lost its rough and rowdy character and settled down into a prosperous town. In 1876 a smallpox epidemic swept through the camp, with so many falling sick that tents had to be set up to quarantine them. Also in that year, General George Crook pursued the Sioux Indians from the Battle of Little Big Horn on an expedition that ended in Deadwood, and that came to be known as the Horsemeat March.

A fire on September 26, 1879, devastated the town, destroying over 300 buildings and consuming everything belonging to many inhabitants. Without the opportunities of rich untapped veins of ore that characterized the town's early days, many of the newly impoverished left town to try their luck elsewhere.

A narrow gauge railroad, the Deadwood Central Railroad, was founded by Deadwood resident J.K.P. Miller and his associates in 1888, in order to serve their mining interests in the Black Hills. The railroad was purchased by the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad in 1893. A portion of the road between Deadwood and Lead was electrified in 1902 for operation as an interurban passenger system, which operated until 1924. Apart from a portion from Kirk to Fantail Junction, which was converted to standard gauge, the railroad was abandoned in 1930. The remaining section was abandoned by the successor Burlington Northern Railroad in 1984.

Some of the other early town residents and frequent visitors included Al Swearengen and his employees Dan Doherty and Johnny Burns, E. B. Farnum, Charlie Utter, Sol Star, Martha Bullock, A. W. Merrick, Samuel Fields, Harris Franklin, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, the Reverend Henry Weston Smith, Buffalo Bill, First Federal Judge Bennett, General Dawson, and Madame Canutson (woman bull-whacker)

The entire town was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961. The pressure of development may have an effect on the historical integrity of the landmark district."

Author: City Website and others
Source: City Website and others
Educational Material/Non Commercial
 

Yes South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
1:30PM Day of 76, Deadwood, South Dakota
17 Crescent Drive
Deadwood, SD 57732
Phone: 605-578-2872

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12


"Native American and Old West artifacts. Over 50 authentic horse-drawn vehicles, including the original "Deadwood Stage."

Author:
Deadwood City Website
Source:
Deadwood City Website
Educational Material/Non Commercial
 
Yes South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
2:45PM Lead City, South Dakota

History of Lead, South Dakota:
"The Black Hills were long overlooked by prospectors and explorers moving west due to hostile Indians and a government treaty with the Indians that kept out gold seekers. Once gold was discovered in the Deadwood area in 1876, the government ignored the treaties and moved the Indians out of the Black Hills. The result was a frenzied influx of treasure seekers and the Black Hills Gold Rush was on.

Lead was founded at the site of gold discoveries that eventually became the Homestake mine. The original claims were bought out by George Hearst, who developed them into the Homestake, the single greatest producing gold mine in America. The Homestake Mine closed in 2001 and today Lead relies on tourism as its primary industry."

Author:
Western Mining History Website
Source: Western Mining History Website
Educational Material/Non Commercial
 

Yes South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
3:00PM

 
Black Hills Mining Museum, Lead, South Dakota
323 W Main Street
Lead, SD 57754
Phone: 605-584-1605

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12

 
History of Mining in the Black Hill:

BEFORE CUSTER
"The area known as the Black Hills is a 4,500 square mile area located on the west central side of South Dakota and eastern edge of Wyoming. Archeological evidence indicates that the hills were home to human inhabitants as far back as 4,000 years.

The first white men on record to have visited the area were the French-Canadian Verendye brothers, who, in 1742, were searching for the Sea of the West. The explorers were guided by Mandan Indians from the Missouri River area. During their travels, the brothers encountered members of the Kiowa, Crow and Cheyenne tribes scattered around the Black Hills.

In the early 1800's white men traveled near the Black Hills on their way to Oregon. Fur trappers passed through on their way to the Yellowstone area. In 1887 a sandstone slab was found near Spearfish with a crudely carved message from Ezra Kind documenting the demise of his small group of prospectors in 1833. Kind and seven of his mates were attacked by Indians after gathering all the gold their ponies could carry. There is no indication that Ezra made it out of the area alive.

In 1868 a treaty between the U.S. and the Sioux called for the abandonment of military posts in the Indian territory and established all the land west of the Missouri River for use and occupation of the Sioux Nation. The government was then committed to preventing white men from encroaching in the territory.

The Custer Expedition of 1874 is contributed with the eventual withdrawal of the treaty and the opening of doors to the white man for exploration and colonization. Col. George Custer spent nearly two months exploring and recording the area around and within the Black Hills. It was during this trip that gold was discovered in French Creek in the southern Hills near the current town of Custer.

AFTER CUSTER
News of the spectacular find spread rapidly and demands were made for the government to open up the Black Hills to white settlement. People became impatient for negotiations with the Sioux to commence and by the end of 1874, a party of white prospectors known as the Gordon Party illegally entered the Black Hills and built a stockade by French Creek. The Army soon expelled the group, but the door had been opened and white settlers continued to flow into the area from every direction.

In an effort to determine the extent of gold and other precious ores in the region, the government sent a scientific expedition into the Hills in 1875. It found many illegal white prospectors throughout the region. The government was urged to establish posts quickly before the best lands were taken by the constant stream of incoming white settlers. It continued to verbally discourage further encroachment in the area, while at the same time it stopped physically expelling prospectors. By the end of 1875 it is estimated that approximately 4,000 whites were unlawfully living in the Hills.

THE BOOM
Initially, prospecting was centered in and around the French Creek area where gold was initially discovered by Custer's party. By late 1875 mining had spread north to Whitewood Creek near the current day Deadwood. Placer claims were staked throughout the area and experienced prospectors began looking for the original source of the gold - otherwise known as the Mother Lode.

On April 9,1876, Moses and Fred Manuel located the Homestake claim (near the current town of Lead) - the richest source of gold in the area. In June, 1877 George Hearst purchased the Homestake Mine from the Manuel brothers for $70,000.

By 1880 the rich placer deposits were depleted and hard rock mining processes were established. The most profitable mining operations were located within a few square miles of the towns of Lead and Deadwood. Many mines were established during the early years of the boom and many played out quickly. Most of them closed in the very early 1900's due to the lack of high grade ore and increasing costs. Only the Homestake Mine in Lead continued to operate almost continuously for 126 years. In 2002, it too, ceased operations due to increased production costs.

BLACK HILLS MINING TODAY
While mining has ceased to be the primary support of local economies in the area, it still continues on a much smaller scale. In the spring and summer, it is not unusual to see panners working the rivers and creeks for small pieces of gold that have eroded from the hills. Some people have set up elaborate dredges and sluices on their own private property. One surviving gold mining company is nearing completion on the last significant effort to extract gold from the hills near Lead.

Today many of the towns and mining camps that sprung up around mines are nothing more than ghost towns. Others, such as Lead, Deadwood, Custer and Keystone continue to thrive by promoting the rich mining heritage of the area and providing visitors with activities reminiscent of the exciting mining era."

Author:
Black Hill Mining Museum Website
Source: Black Hill Mining Museum Website

Educational Material/Non Commercial
 
Yes
 
South Dakota Map

South Dakota Indian Reservations and Federal Lands Map
5:00 PM Leaving Lead, South Dakota No  
6:00 PM Newcastle City, Wyoming

History of Newcastle, Wyoming:
"Newcastle is a city located in Weston County, Wyoming, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 3,065. It is the county seat of Weston County.ming became a state on July 10, 1890."

Source: Wikipedia Website
Educational Material/Non Commercial

 
No Wyoming Map

Indian Reservations and Federal Lands in Wyoming
Map
 

8:30 PM Arriving to Casper City, Wyoming

Core Curriculum K-4 Standards
Core Curriculum K-5-12 Standards
Core Curriculum Historical Thinking K-5-12
Utah Core Curriculum K3-6 (New Core Curriculum)
Utah Core Curriculum K 7-12


History of Newcastle, Wyoming
"Before there were people, there was the river—the North Platte River begins its meandering journey in the mountains near Casper, running east across the Great Plains to merge with its sister river, the South Platte, to become simply the Platte River. Water, mountains, and plains were a lure from the beginning; evidence of human occupation dates back more than 12,000 years with the Clovis peoples, followed by the Folsom and the Eden Valley peoples. A mix of hunting and gathering tribes occupied the area until approximately 500 A.D., eventually morphing into Native American tribes more familiar in today's world.

The original residents of Wyoming were nomadic Plains Indians, including tribes as disparate as the Arapaho, Sioux, Cheyenne, Crow, Lakota, Blackfeet, Kiowa, Nez Perce, and Shoshone. The tribes relied on the land and the roaming buffalo herds for sustenance; when European explorers and hunters began a wholesale slaughter of the buffalo, coinciding with an interest in herding native peoples to a containment area in Oklahoma, armed conflicts escalated in the clash of cultures and interests. In 1812, fur trappers had followed beaver and buffalo populations to the northern Rockies. The Oregon Trail had been scouted out in 1823, and its ever-deepening ruts reflected the entrenched U.S. belief in its manifest destiny to expand westward.

The Western Civil War
By 1847, a network of travel routes converged at a spot just west of present-day Casper; here the Emigrant Trail crossed from the south side to the north side of the North Platte River. When the first Mormon wagon train passed through this area on its way to what would become Utah, Brigham Young arranged for a ferry to be set up for the use of future travelers. The Mormon Ferry soon faced competition as more emigrants passed that way and decided to cash in on a good idea. One entrepreneurial French-Canadian trader named John Baptiste Richard decided to build a bridge across the North Platte and charge a toll for crossing it. The area was now not just a way-station but an encampment.

Local residents established a trading post along the Emigrant Trail in 1859, taking advantage of the growing stream of wagon trains. As the local population grew along with the number of emigrants, friction developed with local tribes of Lakota, Arapaho, and Cheyenne Indians. As a result, the trading post was transformed into a fort by the military, and two pitched battles between the army and the native tribes took place in 1865. In the first conflict, Lieutenant Caspar Collins was killed while attempting to rescue another soldier. Lt. Collins' father already had a fort named after him in Colorado, so the military named the Wyoming fort "Casper" in his honor, inadvertently using a misspelling that had been transmitted by telegraph. The seeds of present-day Casper had been planted.

Black Gold, Texas Tea
Casper in 1888 was a true Wild West town; a railroad had been built through the town in an effort to ease travel to riches of gold in California and fertile land in Oregon. Isolation and lawlessness attracted a rough crowd of renegades and outlaws, and the original township developed a main street lined with saloons on one side. By necessity, the first public building in Casper was a jail. Lynchings were not an uncommon occurrence.

Oil was struck in nearby Salt Creek Field in 1889, an event that has come to define Casper as the "oil capital of the Rockies." The city was flooded with an influx of claim jumpers looking to capitalize on the promised wealth. In 1895, the first oil refinery was constructed. Oil workers known as "roughnecks" followed, along with gamblers, prostitutes and corrupt businessmen. Cattlemen went to war against the sheepmen. The local law struggled to keep up with the shenanigans of the populace, passing laws to prevent women from walking on the saloon side of Main Street and to make illegal the discharge of firearms within city limits.

Local municipal leaders were set on Casper becoming the state capital and a centerpiece of the West. As the economy continued to thrive, construction was begun on some of the tallest buildings in Wyoming during the early 20th century. But, a city that lives on oil can die on oil.
Nearly a Ghost Town
Few communities escaped the repercussions of the Great Depression, and Casper was not an exception. In 1929, the city's population diminished by 50 percent; the struggle continued until World War II spurred renewed demand for oil and gas supplies.

The city has experienced cycles of boom and bust beginning in the 1960s, riding the wave of oil and gas prices. Today, Casper is profiting from U.S. conflicts with oil-producing nations and has additionally seen the growth of more consistent industries in the areas of health care, social services and tourism. Figurative fisticuffs have taken the place of literal gunfights as the oil industry negotiates its place in a city that is increasingly conscious of its finite and infinitely beautiful natural resources."

Author: Wyoming State Historical Society
Source: Wyoming State Historical Society
Educational Material/Non Commercial
 
Yes Wyoming Map

Indian Reservations and Federal Lands in Wyoming
Map
 

8:45PM Arriving in Casper, Wyoming
(You pay your own dinner)
 
Yes  
9:15PM Arriving in Casper, Wyoming
Double Occupancy Room

Free Accommodations/Already Booked:
Super 8 Motel West
3838 CY Avenue
I-25 Exit 188B S on Poplar
Casper, WY 82604-4322 US
Phone: 307-266-3480
Fax: 307-266-1778
E-Mail: generalmanager@wynhg.com 
 

Free High Speed Internet
Continental Breakfast
 

Yes

 
  Support Readings:

U.S. History, The West Timeline
Utah History and Ute History Timeline

Wyoming History Timeline
Plains Indians History Timeline
South Dakota History Timeline
Nebraska History Timeline
Core Curriculum
Suggested Primary Source:
Indian Affairs Laws and Treaties

 
   
       
       

If you need information about the UB-TAH the address is: 

UB-TAH, USU Uintah Basin Extension
987 East Lagoon (124-9)
Roosevelt, Utah 84066
E-Mail: Antonio Arce, Project Coordinator
Phone: (435) 722-1736

If you would like to collaborate in the development of this site and be an important part of the Uintah Basin Teaching American History Project (UB-TAH,) please contact us or call us (435) 722-1736

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