National Register of Historic Places


Jay Em Historic District

Jay Em

Date Added to Register

Thursday, April 12, 1984

Smithsonian Number

48GO23

Read all about it

Located in eastern Wyoming 30 miles north of Fort Laramie on Rawhide Creek, Jay Em is an early 20th century agricultural community typical of those which sprang up in the pre-depression era as farmers flocked to homestead previously unsettled regions of the arid west. Jay Em was developed in response to the need for contact with the outside world by Lake Harris, who had moved to southeastern Wyoming in 1905 and filed a homestead claim in 1912. Jay Em was a service community composed of simple structures providing necessities and very little else. The streets were never paved or graveled, there were never sidewalks, curbs or gutters, there was no municipal organization or community center. But there was a bank, a repair shop and gas station, a water tower, a general store, lumber yard and post office, and a few residences. Jay Em's buildings were constructed with the materials at hand. They are vernacular and demonstrate a rare consistency of architectural design. The district is a tightly knit commercial district with all buildings within a block of each other. Jay Em began its decline in the late 1930s, with the improvement of transportation in southeast Wyoming. The spread of the automobile and improvement of roads enabled area residents to travel to larger commercial centers like Lusk, Lingle, and Torrington, and one by one, the businesses of Jam Em closed their doors.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources