Wyoming Photographs
This Page: Dale Creek, Citadel Rock, the Wilcox and Tipton robberies.

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Dale Creek Trestle, 1869, A.J. Russell

As discussed below the Dale Creek trestle was the highest bridge on the Union Pacific. A. J. Russell was employed during the Civil War by Matthew Brady with some of the photographs commonly attributed to Brady being, in fact, taken by Russell. Following the war Russell served the Federal Government on some of the surveying expeditions in the west before being employed by the Union Pacific. For additional view of trestle see below right.

Plans and discussion for a transcontinental railroad linking California to the east date prior to 1853. Surveying for possible routes by the military as discussed with regard to G. K. Warren on Photos IV began at the impetus of Secretary of War Jefferson Davis. The necessity for construction of the railroad was clearly demonstrated during the Civil War. At the beginning of the war, Washington had serious concern that the military commander of California, Albert Sidney Johnston, might turn California over to the Confederacy. If such were to have happened the Union had no ability to transport troops to the West. Johnston, however, did not turn California over to the Confederacy. Instead he resigned, remained loyally on his post until his successor arrived and then returned to the South to accept a commission with CSA forces. Additionally, after the Trent Affair, British garrisons along the border between British North America and the United States were strengthened, raising the specter of a war with Great Britain at a time when the United States was otherwise preoccupied and the American west coast was practically defenseless.

The lack of a supply line that a railroad would have provided, resulted in the inability of the Confederacy to support its forces in New Mexico and present day Arizona, leading, in part, to Confederate withdrawal from the west. Lincoln strongly supported the construction of the transcontinental railroad and the northern Congress took action making the building of the railroad following the war possible.

Ironically, while fear of war with Britain may have spurred on the transcontinental railroad, the end of the Civil War and the construction of the railroad, resulted in a fear of annexation in Canada. This, in turn, was an impetus for the formation of the Canadian Confederation and the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. Canadian fears were not without foundation. In 1866, the House of Representatives passed a bill providing for the admission to the United States of the "States" of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Canada East, Canada West, and the ultimate admission to the Union of the States of "Saskathewan," Selkirk, and Columbia.

Early view of Railroad Yards, Laramie

Interior, UPRR Paymaster's Tent,
Laramie, 1868, A. J. Russell

Similar windmills to that depicted above were located at other stations including Cheyenne and Sherman. The windmills had a diameter of 20 feet. The tank would hold 50,000 gallons and would take approximately 10 hours to fill. The tank was equipped with a float connected to the windmill by cable which, when the tank was full, would automatically shut down the vanes. Another float would automatically start the windmill when the tank neared empty. In the background is a twenty-stall roundhouse and the machine shop.

Citadel Rock, A. J. Russell, 1868

Citidel Rock is, perhaps, A.J. Russell's most famous photo with it being featured in Geoffrey C. Ward's The West, an Illustrated History, as well as on PBS's The West website, although there divided into two seperate pictures.

Note that the locomotive is on a temporary wooden bridge while the stone piers and abutments for the permanent bridge are being constructed. For other Russell photos visit the Union Pacific Collection

.Dale Creek Trestle

The Dale Creek Trestle, originally built of wood, pictured at the top of the page, was later replaced with one made of iron pictured here. At the time it was regarded as an engineering marvel, 150 feet above the creek bed and the longest trestle on Railroad. The masonry foundation was commenced in December of 1867 and on April 21, 1868 the rails were laid across the bridge. While the original wooden bridge may have been the marvel of the age it was also terrifying. The bridge would sway in the wind and trains were required to slow to four miles per hour while crossing it. Today, the line has been relocated and nothing is left except the foundation piers.

Union Pacific Depot, Cheyenne, 1910

Laramie Stockyards, 1910

Just as the stages carrying gold on the Deadwood Trail attracted road agents, the railroad attracted the attention of train robbers, the most prominent being the Wild Bunch. Below right is pictured the remains of the express car of the Overland Flyer blown up by the gang of Harvey Logan, aka "Kid Curry", Lonny Logan, Ben Kilpatrick, Elza Lay and Ben Benson on June 2, 1899, near Wilcox, Wyoming. Some question exists as to whether the Butch Cassidy directly participated, although it is generally accepted that he was involved in the planning. Positive identification of all members was not possible since they wore face masks made from white napkins possibly stolen from a Harvey House Restaurant. The gang flagged down the Flyer and ordered the engineer to pull the train ahead where the gang separated the express car from the rest of the train with explosives. After surrounding the car, the attendant by the name of Woodcock was ordered by the gang to open the door. When he refused, the car was blown up. Woodcock, from the concussion received in the explosion, was unable to remember the combination to the safe. Whereupon, the safe was blown up and robbed of $30,000. During the pursuit by a posse Sheriff Joe Hazen was shot. The gang was, however, able to excape, albeit, on foot, they having lost their horses to the pursuing posse, photo to left.

On August 29, 1900, members of the Wild Bunch, using the same modus operandi robbed the Union Pacific No. 3 train near Tipton, Wyoming of $50,000. As fate would have it, Woodcock was again the express car attendant. This time he opened the door. On July 3, 1901, members of the Wild Bunch blew up the Adams Express car on the Great Northern Flyer near Wagner, Montana, getting $40,000.

Lonnie Logan was killed by a posse at Dodson, Kansas (now a part of Kansas City), on February 28, 1900. Robert E. "Bob" Lee, aka Bob Curry was sent to prison for passing bank notes stolen in the Wilcox robbery. Debate still rages as to the fate of Butch and Sundance; that is, were they the Yanqui banditos killed in Peru, or did they ultimately return to the U.S.

More railroad photos are on the Laramie, Encampment, Rawlins, and Green River Pages.