National Register of Historic Places


New Fork

Near Boulder

Date Added to Register

Thursday, July 16, 1987

Smithsonian Number

48SU438/439

Read all about it

The New Fork townsite consists of several log and wood frame structures representing one of the earliest settlements and commercial centers in the isolated upper Green River Valley. The small ranching settlement was established by John Vible and Louis Broderson in 1888 near the New Fork and East Fork Rivers. Both men were Danish emigrants who had come to America in 1884. They met while working on the Oregon Shortline in western Wyoming and Idaho. The two men pooled their meager resources into an informal partnership. They planned to file on homesteads in order to raise cattle and to start a mercantile business by locating a store close to the Lander Cut-off of the Oregon Trail. The partners built a small log structure which served as the store, trading post, and living quarters. The location became known as New Fork. By the end of 1908 the town boasted a school, a saloon, a hotel, a barbershop, a livery and a blacksmith shop, and a woodframe house with a bay window owned by the saloon keeper Frank Seabolt, in addition to the Vible stores and residence. In 1909-1910 John Vible contracted with locally prominent carpenters to build a large frame dance hall. He named it Valhalla after the Norse Heaven populated by heroes slain in battle. The dance hall became the focal point of community activity including dances and political rallies.

By 1918 the post office was discontinued and mail was then delivered to nearby Boulder. New Fork had gradually been eclipsed by other communities, including Pinedale which became the county seat when Sublette County was created in 1921. Transportation patterns had changed over the years, and the Lander Cut-off fell into disuse. Railroad transportation never reached the upper Green River Valley. A scarlet fever and diphtheria epidemic struck the Vible family in late 1915, and John Vible, his daughter and two elder sons died within a period of two weeks. These factors contributed to the demise of New Fork.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources