On July 26, 1990 President George H W Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among other things, the ADA has accessibility requirements for public places—such as stores or restaurants. But the Elk Mountain Trading Company was built 1895, long before the idea of handicap accessibility. Nancy Casner, who owns the Crossing Café housed in the building, recalls what it meant to add a ramp to the historic building.
Pat and Phyllis McKee both grew up in ranching families in Elk Mountain. As kids, they avoided each other, but that didn't stop a whirlwind romance when they got older. They were married in 1990 and have three daughters.
Not long ago, in an unexpected turn of events, Rawlins resident Sherrill Bailey adopted her grand-nephew. In this story, she explores the rewarding and complicated destiny of becoming a parent at 65 years old.
Lorin and Mary Ann Moench work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Martin’s Cove Historic site. This spot in south-central Wyoming marks an important point along the Mormon trail. European converts sailed to the East Coast of the U.S., purchased supplies and handcarts, and traveled with handcart companies to Salt Lake City. In 1856 two handcart companies began their journey late, causing them to face unforgiving Wyoming storms.
Dick Sedar grew up in Casper, in a working-class neighborhood called “the Sandbar.” His parents emigrated from Croatia in the early 1920’s to seek work in the coal and oil industries. Dick was one of 16 children and tells the story of his childhood in Casper.
One of Dick’s Sedar’s brothers, Mike, worked in the Douglas Prisoner of War camp during World War II. Dick remembers his brother’s experience working with the prisoners, and the lasting friendships he made.
Linda Fleming was the first woman to be appointed or elected for public office in the Carbon County town of Baggs. After her long tenure as both mayor and county commissioner, she turned her leadership talents to ministry.
Women in the United States have been fighting for equal wage rights since the early 1900s. In 1963 the government passed the Equal Pay Act, which aimed to abolish wage disparity based on sex. But the act excluded professional careers. Starting in 1971, Marilynn Deiss juggled work as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy and as a single mother. She tells her daughter, Debra Swedberg, how gender discrimination affected her life.
Darrell Moore grew up in the historic Hotel Wolf in Saratoga, Wyoming. Fredrick G. Wolf, a German immigrant, built the hotel in 1893. Since then, the hotel has had only four owners. Moore’s father bought the Wolf in 1937, and his family maintained the place for 40 years. The hotel and restaurant has hosted hunters, fishers, and ranchers through the years, and is still open to adventurers today. Moore shares his memories of growing up at the Hotel Wolf.
Dan Kinneman is from Rawlins. His father was one of Wyoming’s longest-serving legislators. In this story, Kinneman—himself a former legislator—describes a childhood visit to Cheyenne during a treacherous winter.
Martin Ellbogen grew up in Worland, Wyoming. In high school he played basketball against the future Wyoming Senator Al Simpson. Once Ellbogen determined his career was not in basketball, he came to the University of Wyoming to study pre-med and finished his medical degree in Omaha. Ellbogen then joined the Navy as a doctor. He shares memories of being a medical assistant on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After his tour, Ellbogen moved to Casper to set up a general practice medical firm. He retired in 1996, and sold the practice to his son.
Abbie Taylor moved to Sheridan as a kid, when her father decided to take over the family business. Because of a lifelong disability Taylor developed a unique relationship to jukeboxes -- as well as the whole region where her father installed and repaired them.
Joan Paige’s family has lived in the Equality State for almost as long as it’s existed. In 1889, her grandfather, John Mahoney, was stationed just outside of Rawlins at Fort Steele. In this story, she tells of circumstances that brought him west, and the dubious nature of late-19th century frontier towns.
The Stagecoach Bar in Wilson has kept Jackson Hole fed, watered, and entertained since 1942. The historic bar is home to cowboys, hippies, and the famous Stagecoach Band, which has played every Sunday night for over 40 years.
Sixty-two-year Sheridan resident Mary Burgess spent much of her youth in the Philippines where her father was a politician. As she tells her friend Val Burgess, when she was thirteen, she was living at an Episcopal boarding school in Baugio when she, her sister, and two other women decided to take a long walk north.
Mary Burgess moved back to the US for college, and eventually joined the WWII effort as a part of the American Red Cross. In this story, she tells her friend Val Burgess about her experience as a woman behind the front lines.
Gretchen Wheeler grew up in Nebraska and moved to Wyoming to teach in the Communications Department at Casper College. As a “non-native” Wyomingite, Gretchen shares her observations of the cultural differences between Wyoming and Nebraska.
UW Professor of history Phil Roberts tells the story of how Thomas Boylan—the late owner and operator of The Fossil Cabin outside of Medicine Bow—protected the identity of local Japanese Americans from relocation officers during World War II.
In 1967, Rawlins resident Duane Shillinger was hired by the Wyoming State Penitentiary as a counselor. Later, through an unexpected turn of events, he ended up serving as warden for seventeen years. In this story, he remembers the transition from the 19th century facility to the current one, and the relationships he formed with inmates.
Like many Wyoming natives, Pat and Ellie Noonan met at a college party in Laramie—almost sixty years ago. In this story, the couple describe the misadventures of their first encounter.
The Noonans remember the summer that city officials dug up the century-old corpse of outlaw Big Nose George.
From the early 1960s to the late 80s, Pat Noonan was employed by the First National Bank of Rawlins, first as a teller and later as its inaugural Computer Operations Manager—which was a wholly alien pursuit for a small town bank in 1971.
When John Simms moved to Jackson, he started a business giving tours of the Flag Ranch. After getting married, he started Jackson White Water Trips. In this story, John tells his daughter Morrison about an unexpected late night visit to their Jackson home.