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Niobrara County

 

Brian Beadles
Historic Preservation Specialist
(307) 777-8594

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  • Agate Basin Site

     

     
     

    Read All About It:

    In 1916 William H. Spencer of Spencer, Wyoming found a number of well-worked prehistoric stone blades, and blade fragments eroding from a bank close to a spring in Moss Agate Arroyo. About 1931 he picked up another specimen not far from his original find. But it was not until the summer of 1941 that Spencer reported his finds to Robert E. Frison, who was at that time deputy game and fish warden at Newcastle. The following April Frison visited the site and subsequently wrote to Dr. Frank H. H. Roberts of the Bureau of American Ethnology, Smithsonian Institution, concerning the prehistoric site. In 1942 Roberts tested the area where the artifacts had been found and where bones were eroding from the bank. Not until the fall of 1958 was the site again brought to the attention of archaeologists. Excavations by a team from the University of Wyoming began in 1959. Multiple occupation levels were reported, including Agate Basin and Folsom. The site was a bison kill and procurement location dating to Paleoindian times. A long-term investigation of the site began in the mid 1970s under the direction of Dr. George C. Frison.

    National Register form available upon request.

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    Date Added to Register:
    Friday, February 15, 1974
     
    Location:
    Niobrara County
     
    County:
    Niobrara County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48NO201  

     

  • Bridge Over Cheyenne River

     

     
     

    Read All About It:

    The forty bridges in this thematic study are the best of their types which were still in use on the state and county road systems in Wyoming when the study was completed in 1982. Selected from a statewide survey of all functional vehicular trusses and arches using a specific evaluation criteria and methodology, most represent superlatives of their generic engineering types (i.e. truss configuration and connection types) while typifying bridgebuilding and transportation trends in the state. All were built in the first three decades of the twentieth century (1905-1935). Although bridges were put up during the earlier periods of overland wagon emigration, they had not begun to proliferate in the state of Wyoming until the early twentieth century with the emergence of the automobile as a principal form of transportation. All the listed bridges display a remarkable homogeneity of construction and operational histories. Generally, county-built trusses were contracted through competitive bidding among several Midwestern bridge erectors and built from standardized designs using prefabricated components. After creation of the Wyoming Highway Department in 1917, the role of the counties in truss bridge construction diminished. The later highway department bridges were typically designed from standard plans maintained by the department and built by local contractors from components fabricated in the same Midwestern foundries.

    One feature that all steel truss bridges shared was their versatility. Quickly erected, they could also be dismantled and moved if necessary. Many county road bridges in Wyoming had begun service as railroad bridges, sold or given to the counties as obsolete structures. Similarly, early highway bridges which had become unsuitable to handle increasing volumes of traffic were sometimes replaced with new trusses, with the older bridges demoted to places along less traveled roads. After World War II, new trussbuilding was rare in Wyoming. Today trusses have been largely superseded by more sophisticated engineering designs and are seldom erected. The remaining highway and roadway truss bridges are remnants of past technologies, whose numbers are continually dwindling through attrition.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Friday, February 22, 1985
     
    Location:
    Niobrara County
     
    County:
    Niobrara County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48NO293  

     

  • C&H Refinery District

     

     
     

    Read All About It:

    The C & H Refinery historic district is an intact industrial complex including the original house/office, refinery building and equipment, related storage tanks, and operation structures in their original locations. The refinery began petroleum distillation operations in 1933 and has recently been restored to operating conditions. In July 1999, the Guinness Book of World Records, Ltd. listed the C & H Refinery as the smallest functioning oil refinery in the world.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Tuesday, January 16, 2001
     
    Location:
    Lusk
     
    County:
    Niobrara County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48NO410  

     

  • Cheyenne-Black Hills Stage Route Historic District

     

     
     

    Read All About It:

    The Cheyenne-Black Hills Stage Route Historic District encompasses the Running Water Stage Station and Rawhide Buttes Stage Station and the section of the original Cheyenne-Black Hills route between the two stations deemed to have significant historic value. The stage route was in operation from 1876 to 1887 between Cheyenne, Wyoming and Deadwood, South Dakota. Thousands of passengers, tons of freight and express, and millions of dollars in gold passed over this trail until it was superseded by a railroad. During the years the trail was in use, it became the scene of numerous Indian and outlaw depredations. East of Rawhide Buttes, the Texas Trail ran northward and intersected the Cheyenne-Black Hills road just north of Running Water Station. During the era of the great trail drives, thousands of cattle reached Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas over this trail. Rawhide Buttes Stage Station served as an important U. S. mail distribution point north of Cheyenne. Approximately fifteen miles north of Rawhide Buttes Station, the Running Water Stage Station became the scene of a small but lively mining boom during the 1880s. It developed as a frontier community until the Chicago-Northwestern Railroad chose nearby Lusk for its terminal. On February 19, 1887, the last Black Hills stage coach pulled out from the Inter-Ocean Hotel in Cheyenne for the final regular trip north. When the wheels stopped rolling over the Cheyenne-Black Hills route, most of the stations became ranch headquarters.

    Photo on file at the State Historic Preservation Office

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Wednesday, April 16, 1969
     
    Location:
    Niobrara and Goshen Counties
     
    County:
    Niobrara County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48NO4  

     

  • Ferdinand Branstetter Post No. 1, American Legion

     

     
     

    Read All About It:

    Ferdinand Branstetter Post No. 1 of Van Tassell has not only the distinction of being the first American Legion Post organized in Wyoming but this little post was the first to be organized in the United States. The first meeting of the Post was held June 28, 1919. A motion was made and carried that the Post be named in honor of Ferdinand Branstetter. He came to Wyoming from Nebraska about 1914 and filed on a homestead south of Van Tassell. Inducted into the service during World War I, he was one of the first from the Van Tassell area to fall in action. In 1921 the Van Tassell Post held Memorial Day Services and through the years many impressive ceremonies were conducted by the members of the Post. Post No. 1 assumed the caretaker responsibilities for the Van Tassell Cemetery for many years. The Post was also responsible for many improvements in the community. The structure that originally housed the Van Tassell American Legion Post is no longer in existence.

     
     

     

    Date Added to Register:
    Tuesday, September 30, 1969
     
    Location:
    Van Tassell
     
    County:
    Niobrara County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48NO5  

     

  • Lusk Water Tower

     

     
     

    Read All About It:

    The Lusk Water Tower is significant for its association with the Chicago and North Western Rail Line (C&NW), a major railroad that stimulated Wyoming's settlement and development of rail transportation corridors. Massive water towers and windmills were regular features of station sites during the age of steam. The Lusk Water Tower was built by the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railway (a subsidiary of C&NW) in 1886 when it extended its line from Chadron, Nebraska to Lusk, Douglas, and Casper, Wyoming. The redwood water tank is supported on timber piles; water was pumped from a well to the tank by windmill and then discharged into steam locomotives for boiler water. Originally, the water tower ws built in the center of Lusk near the depot. The water tower was moved to its location near the east boundary of the town of Lusk in 1919 when the depot was rebuilt. The Lusk Water Tower is Wyoming's only surviving railroad structure of its type.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Monday, August 12, 1991
     
    Location:
    Lusk
     
    County:
    Niobrara County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48NO146 

     

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