National Register of Historic Places


Reliance Tipple

Reliance

Date Added to Register

Thursday, May 23, 1991

Smithsonian Number

48SW6461

Read all about it

The Reliance Tipple consists of two distinct features. The first is a tipple constructed from steel and concrete in 1936. The second is the site of the first wooden tipple dating from 1910 to 1936 consisting of a sandstone foundation and historical artifacts buried in an adjacent tailings pile. The small coal mining town of Reliance, located a few miles north of Rock Springs, Wyoming, was first established in 1910 when mine operations at No. 1 began in earnest. In 1911 Reliance No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 were opened. Construction of structures at Reliance was at an advanced stage in 1912. By that year, a tramline, tipple, warehouse, scales, hay barn, lumber yard, and granary were evident. Coal production totals at the Reliance mines rose steadily until the end of World War I. Then they began to decline. The Depression hit the Wyoming coal industry a decade before it hit the rest of the country, and this contributed to the decline of coal production at Reliance. Not until the mid-1930s did the mines at Reliance begin to recover. In 1936 a new mine, the No. 7, was opened just east of Reliance. The new steel and concrete tipple was also erected. The opening of the new mine coupled with the building of the Reliance Tipple led to increased production. By 1943, 1.4 million tons of coal were being produced at Reliance. By the end of World War II, however, coal production again began to decline. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the Union Pacific Railroad accelerated its ongoing program of scrapping steam locomotives and replacing them with more efficient diesel-electric locomotives. The loss of the largest consumer of coal resulted in the closure of the Reliance mines. Coal production continued to decline steadily until the mines were closed in 1955. The tipple was abandoned at that time.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources