National Register of Historic Places

Medicine Bow Depot

Medicine Bow

Date Added to Register

Monday, November 01, 1982

Smithsonian Number


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Built in 1912-19, the Medicine Bow Depot is a classic example of the type of train station built in Union Pacific towns. While Medicine Bow's history seems to be inextricably linked to the book, The Virginian, and the romance of the American cowboy, in actuality Medicine Bow is a product of the railroad. Founded 20 years before author Owen Wister visited the town, Medicine Bow began as a general store and saloon in July 1868. Both structures anticipated the coming of the Union Pacific Railroad by a short time and when the railroad finally pushed across the Laramie Plains, a five-stable roundhouse, service facilities and a watering tank for the locomotives were built there. Medicine Bow developed into an important freight center and in 1912, after the first depot burned, the Union Pacific constructed a new one. This structure served the Medicine Bow area for 68 years until the railhead closed in 1981. The Medicine Bow Depot remains as a reminder of events and people which made a significant contribution to our history, and also embodies the distinctive characteristics of plains railroad construction at the turn of the twentieth century.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources