Along the
North Platte

From Wyoming Tales and Trails

This Page: Douglas, Glendo, Guernsey, Torrington.

Visit these other Photo Collections*
Casper College*
Union Pacific* Big Piney, 1885-1920*

Home Big Horn Basin Black Hills Thermopolis Buffalo Cambria Casper-N. Platte Valley Centennial Cheyenne Chugwater Cody Encampment Evanston Deadwood Stage Douglas Dubois Ft. Bridger Ft. Fetterman Ft. Laramie Ghost Towns Tom Horn Jackson Kemmerer Lander Laramie Lusk Medicine Bow Photos II Photos IV Photos V Rawlins Rock Springs Rudafeha Mine Sheepherding Sheridan Sherman Shoshoni Superior USS Wyoming Yellowstone

*Linked, use browser back button to return

Sheep, Douglas, 1912

As noted on the previous page, settlement in the Douglas area began in 1867 at Fort Fetterman while Douglas, itself, was established in 1886 with the arrival of the Railroad. Originally known as Tent Town, it was named Douglas, as was Douglas, Georgia, in recognition of Stephen A. Douglas's support for the transcontinental railroad. In the Senate, Douglas was responsible for the extension of the Illinois Central to Chicago, thus, making Chicago the rail hub on North America.

As noted above, Glendo, pictured approximately 1920 to left, is on the site of the Horseshoe Station, an early Pony Express and Overland Stage station. The station was the location of the first telegraph station in the Territory and also the home station for the Rocky Ridge Division of the Overland Stage and, thus, the place of residence of Jack Slade (see discussion on Ghost Towns page with regard to Point of Rocks Station which he robbed). It was here, in fact, that Slade employed young Billy Cody as a rider.

Sir Richard Burton, the 19th Century British adventurer, in his 1860 log book of his cross-country stage trip, commented on his overnight stay at Horseshoe Station:

"We were informed that ‘lady travelers’ were admitted into the house, but the ruder sex must sleep where it could or not sleep at all if it preferred. We found a barn hardly fit for a decently brought up pig; which had no door and a damp floor. Into this disreputable hole we were all thrust for the night even the federal judge amongst us whose position procured him only a broken down pallet."

Sir Richard Burton August 14, 1860 9:30 PM

Fort Laramie Military Bridge
Military Bridge photos courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

The above-view is of the northwest side of the bridge. Lower photo is looking northwest. By 1873 Cheyenne had become a center for freighting. Concern grew, however, that because of difficulties in crossing the North Platte that freighting might move to other cities on the Union Pacific that did not have such difficulties. When Laramie County refused to construct a bridge, the territory's congressional delegate, William Randolph Steele (1842-1901), secured the support of Secretary of War Belknap for a bill requiring the military to build a bridge. Orders for the construction of the bridge were issued the day after President Grant signed the bill. The Fort Laramie Bridge was constructed by the King Bridge and Manufacturing Co. of Cleveland, Ohio between July 1875 and February 1876 at a cost of $10,500. The bridge is the oldest military bridge west of the Mississippi. The last military unit was withdrawn from Fort Laramie on March 2, 1890. Thereafter in 1894, the bridge was turned over to Laramie Country. Maintenance assumed by newly-formed Goshen County in 1911. The bridge remained in use until completion of a new concrete bridge in 1958, visible at the left in the above-left photo. In 1961, the bridge reverted back to the United States which continues to maintain it under the United States Park Service.

Steele, a Democrat, served as a captain during the Civil War and was awarded the brevet rank of Lt. Colonel. A lawyer, he moved to Wyoming in 1869 and served in the Territorial Legislative Council from 1871 to 1873. until he was elected as concressional delegate. He was defeated for reelection in 1876. He thereafter moved to Deadwood where he served as mayor 1894-1896. Upon the formation of South Dakota he declined the Democratic nomination as congressional delegate.

Present day Guernsey is on the site of "Emigrant's Tub," a place along the Oregon Trail where, in the 1840's, pioneers would stop to bath and wash their laundry.

Guernsey, 1930's, right.

One mile south of the town are the Oregon Trail Ruts where wagon ruts made by the emigrants were literally worn into the rock. Three miles from town are Register Cliffs where emigrants placed their names. The earliest, believed to be that of a French trapper, is dated July 14, 1829.

Guernsey, as a town, however dates only to 1902. It was founded by the Lincoln Land Co., a subsidiary of the Burlington Railroad and was named after Charles A. Guersey, a state representative and who owned a ranch at Register Cliffs. The Lincoln Land Co. also founded a number of towns along the Burlington all across Nebraska as well as Kansas and eastern Colorado, chief among them Scottsbluff.

Torrington, 1930's

Compare with earlier photo to lower left. Torrington was founded by William G. Curtis in 1889, who named it after his hometown in Connecticut. Curtis was also the first postmaster, maintaining the post office at his homestead.

Torrington, undated, photo by H. Yoder

H. Yoder is believed to refer to Hiram W. "Hi" Yoder. Yoder conducted the band at the laying of the cornerstone for the Goshen County Courthouse in 1913. By that time motor cars had arrived, with the first cars being owned by Dr. C. H. Platz, J. T. Snow and Joe Amery. In 1913, J. P. Nolan owner of a local garage ran an advertisement in the Torrington Telegram advising persons not to "ruin" the automobiles in his garage by striking matches on the paint.

The Burlington began passenger service in May 1900, with George King serving as station agent. See 1913 view of railway station, water tank and coal chutes lower right. The Town was incorporated in 1906 with Curtis being elected as the first mayor. Curtis also served one term in the state legislature. By 1910 the town had a population of 155. With the town becoming the county seat in a hotly contested election with Lingle, five years later population had almost tripled to 443. Between Torrington and Lingle was the Texas Trail along which cattle were brought from Texas to Northern Wyoming and Montana.

Torrington railway station, 1913

Goshen County is, apparently, not named after the biblical land of Goshen. Instead, the area on the Nebraska-Wyoming border along the North Platte was originally named Goshe's Hole. John C. Frement reported that his expedition camped on July 14, 1842 in what he supposed was Goshen's Hole. By the turn of the century the valley had become Goshen Hole, which name is still used with reference to the Goshen Hole Reservoir south of Yoder and the Goshen Hole Ditch to the east of Yoder. The 1895 Atlas of Wyoming reflects the existence of a town named Goshen on the west side of Horse Creek. The Atlas while indicating the presence of a post office also failed to show any population.