History

Wyoming State Archives

In recent years, more and more bills have been introduced in Wyoming’s legislature that would transfer the management of federal public lands into the state control. In fact, legislators will discuss a constitutional amendment to allow state management of public lands in Cheyenne on December 14.

Robert Kelly

As America contemplates its future with a new president, one man has been looking to the past for cues about our future. Robert Kelly, an archaeologist at the University of Wyoming, has written a new book called The Fifth Beginning.

In it, he argues humanity has encountered four transition points - or “beginnings” - in its history: the invention of technology, like stone tools, culture, agriculture, and the state. He sat down with Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard to discuss the period of transition humans are facing right now.

Edward S. Curtis

  

It’s been a long time since a large market book has tackled the history of the Indian Wars in the American West. But just last month, a new one hit bookstores, titled The Earth Is Weeping.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards chatted with author Peter Cozzens about why he felt it was time to get people thinking about this tragic era in American history.

Melodie Edwards

  

Look around Lynette St. Clair's Shoshone language and culture classroom at Wyoming Indian Middle School, and you’ll see this isn’t the usual Wyoming social studies class. There’s vintage photos of famous Shoshone people, a miniature tepee, and the white board is scribbled with Shoshone words and translations. And what the kids are learning is unusual too. The students are reading a speech by Shoshone chief Washakie from the 19th century. St. Clair teaches them key words from the speech in Shoshone.

Edward S. Curtis

A new history of the Indian Wars of the late 19th century hit bookstores on Tuesday. The author set out to debunk myths about the settling of the American West. Historian and author of The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, Peter Cozzens, said he wrote the book because he saw the need for an objective account of the Indian Wars.

Todd Guenther

It’s late afternoon at the base of Dinwoody Glacier, and its creek is roaring with melted ice nearby. It's been a long day of digging for archeology students Crystal Reynolds, Morgan Robins and Nico Holt. 

“We love digging holes!” they say, laughing. “We love playing in the dirt.”

“It's like playing hide and seek with people you never met,” says Holt.

Rebecca Huntington

In Grand Teton National Park, the White Grass Dude Ranch entertained visitors who came for mountain views and the chance to play cowboy. It closed in 1985 and soon the ranch's cabins and lodge started falling apart once people stopped using them.

That's how White Grass joined a backlog of some twenty-seven thousand historic properties nationwide that the National Park Service couldn’t afford to maintain. But things have changed.

Courtesy of the Wyoming State Archives

This week we have been celebrating the 50th anniversary of Wyoming Public Radio and in that time we’ve encountered some interesting characters, dignitaries, and just plain interesting folks. One person that qualified for all three of those categories was former Governor Ed Herschler. 

Cassidy Newkirk

The Arizona Final Salute Foundation has commissioned a University of Wyoming student to create a painting of the USS Arizona for the 75th anniversary of its sinking at Pearl Harbor. Cassidy Newkirk received the commission last October 17, 100 years to the day after the USS Arizona itself was commissioned.

thebrintonmuseum.org

  

There’s an old joke from the movie The Blues Brothers:  “What kind of music do you usually have here?” asks Elwood. “Oh, we got both kinds,” answers the bartender. “We got Country and Western!”

 

Donning

 

In 1914 John Woody started a Wyoming phone company that is now known as Union Wireless. These days it’s a multi-million dollar corporation and one of the state’s great success stories.

Author Terry Del Bene has written a book about the company called A Phone Where The Buffalo Roamed. He explains why this phone company survived for over 100 years while others have faltered. 

Photo courtesy Jennie Lawrence

In stories of the American Revolution, the Civil War, and westward expansion, the lives and roles of women often go untold.

Laramie Author Jennie Lawrence is aiming to change that a bit, with her new book Soap Suds Row: The Bold Lives of Army Laundresses 1802 – 1876. Wyoming Public Radio’s Caroline Ballard sat down for a conversation with the author about the secret lives of laundresses.

Courtesy of Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources

Ernest Hemingway is almost as famous for places he lived and visited—like Paris and Spain—as he is for his writing. Now, an article in Big Sky Magazine reveals Hemingway’s Wyoming connections. The article’s author, Darla Worden, became a Hemingway fan while attending high school in Sheridan. As she told Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer, the Sheridan area has its own Hemingway connection.

Spence Law Firm Historical Production

The University of Wyoming College of Law will hold  the second annual Spencer Law Firm Historical Trial Production. This year, it's a mock trial of John Wilkes Booth, who famously murdered President Lincoln. The objective of the mock trial is to apply modern evidence law standards to a trial that would have taken place in the 19th century.

UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING

Around 12,000 years ago, hunter gatherers began to settle in one place and farm the land. It’s widely thought to be the first time the human population began to grow at a faster rate. However, a recent study published in the scientific journal PNAS and funded by the National Science Foundation is challenging that idea.

Wyoming State Historical Society

This spring, the Wyoming State Historical Society plans to launch a new online database of oral histories from around the state. 

The database will be a catalog of Wyoming’s oral histories, categorized by criteria such as historical events, as well as where to find the recordings. 

Project Director Barbara Bogart spent over a year tracking down the stories from the state’s museums, private collections and libraries.

Miles Bryan

Head east from Cheyenne’s F.E. Warren Air Force Base for about thirty minutes and you will see a few wooden A-frame buildings sitting just off the highway. Go inside the big one and you’ll find a ladder. Climb down about a hundred feet, walk past the foot-thick metal blast door,  and you’re inside Quebec 1, a former launch control  center for one of the deadliest weapons ever made–a “Peacekeeper” intercontinental nuclear missile.

South Dakota Historical Society Press

  

One of the most controversial figures in the history of the American West is Ogalala chief Red Cloud. To some a brilliant warrior and politician, to others, to blame for the Ogalala’s loss of the Black Hills. Now, there’s a new biography called Red Cloud: Ogalala Legend.

Wyoming Public Radio’s Melodie Edwards talked with research historian John McDermott about how the Ogalala ended up in Wyoming, and why giving up these lands meant the end of their way of life.

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