National Register of Historic Places


Downtown Thermopolis Historic District

Thermopolis

Date Added to Register

Thursday, May 10, 1984

Smithsonian Number

48HO406

Read all about it

Thermopolis is located along the Northern Burlington railroad line, at the mouth of Wind River Canyon in northwest Wyoming, approximately 120 miles southeast of Yellowstone National Park. Buildings in Downtown Thermopolis Historic District are located in a compact area on the main street, Broadway, and on Fifth Street, which runs perpendicular to Broadway and forms the eastern boundary of the District. Broadway Street itself provides the setting for these buildings in much the same way today as it did in yesteryear. Built double-wide to accommodate teams of up to 16 mules or horses transporting freight, today, the same four-lane street is befitting for automobile traffic and ample parking. The buildings in the district are all commercial, and have both architectural and historical significance. They were constructed between 1898 and 1923 and portray a Victorian, transitional turn-of-the-century commercial architecture. Some buildings reflect a very elaborate Victorian style, while others represent the skills of a local bricklayer by their similar decorative bricked patterns on the second floors. Still others exemplify the work of one of the local stonemasons active at the turn of the century. Thus, the entire district is a representation of the different skills and materials available throughout the town's history.

Thermopolis was a planned community which began shortly after its site was sold to the U.S. Government by the Shoshoni and Arapahoe Indian Tribes, who had previously owned the property as part of their reservation. The old town, Andersonville, was located at the mouth of Owl Creek. After the Treaty of 1896 was ratified by Congress, this town picked up and moved to the present site, which had been platted and surveyed, provision being made for the growth of a large city. The town was organized under townsite laws, and the title was issued to corporate authorities, in trust. The present day town reflects the insight of its forefathers, both in its layout of streets and sidewalks, and in its proximity to the Big Horn Springs, often claimed to be the largest producing hot mineral springs in the world.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources