Superior, Wyoming Photos

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Superior, Wyoming, approx. 1913.

See Bird's Eye view at bottom of page. Superior, 23 miles northeast of Rock Springs, like many towns in Sweetwater County was economically dependent upon coal mining for the UPRR. Prior to the depression, the Superior area consisting of Superior, South Superior and adjcent Dog Town boasted a population of approximately 3,000 and the largest coal mine west of the Mississippi. The Northern Bar, pictured above, was a part of the Hotel Grand containing a few rooms for travelers.

The Union Hall, pictured to the right, constructed by the six locals of the United Mines Workers, featured a dance hall and stage on the second floor, as well as a saloon, grocery store, bowling hall and doctor's and dentist's office. Pictured below is Western Meats which burned on December 28, 1913 and the Dairy. The Town also had a bank, hospital, and opera house.

With the Depression came a reduction of both freight and passenger trains on the UPRR and the closure of many mines in Sweetwater County. As a result Superior declined from a population of 1580 in 1920, to a population of only 241 in 1930. In 1931, the Central Coal and Coke Company in Rock Springs closed. The towns of Gibralter and Gunn for all practical purposes disappeared. Gunn, with a population of 500, was located nine miles north of Rock Springs. The last mine in Superior, C. O. Clark, closed in 1963.

Although many of the miners in Superior were Italian, miners in many of the other coal mining towns of Wyoming were from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Chief among them were the Slovenes. In 1912, the Reverend J. M. Trunk in his History of Slovene Communities reported that the Slovenes in Rock Springs had formed five lodges including St. Allysius with 303 members, St. Joseph with 65, and Heart of Virgin Mary. Slovene Lodges existed in many of the western mining towns and received their start in the 1880's providing not only fraternal fellowship but affordable insurance. Chief among the Slovene fraternal orders, and still in existence today, were the KSKJ (Kranjsko Slovenska Katcliska Jednota, Carniolan Slovene Catholic Union) now known as the American Slovene Catholic Union, and the SNPJ (Slovenska Narodna Podporna Jednota, Slovene National Benefit Society) which today has a national membership of approximately 44,000.

Anglo fraternal orders, discussed on Cheyenne III, were also formed at an early date in western mining towns. The Masons were the earliest and in Wyoming date to the formation of the Territory. Others included the Odd Fellows and The Grand Army of the Republic which had 10 posts in Wyoming. The Elks, shortly after the turn of the century, had lodges in Sheridan, Laramie, Rawlins, Rock Springs and Cheyenne.

Western Meat Market, after fire of December 28, 1913, Superior, Wyo.

Superior, Wyo., Dairy, approx. 1913.

South Superior, 1910

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