#Lookback: Louis Lake

by | Oct 18, 2019 10:35AM

A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community,

brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Visitors have enjoyed peace and quiet in the lodgepole forest surrounding the high mountain lake we know as Louis Lake for generations. Louis Lake is one of three bodies of water visitors pass along the Loop road.

Lithic scatter around the lake indicate aboriginal people used the area before Europeans arrived. Native Americans probably hunted and fished and gathered plants in the area and harvested lodgepole pines for their teepees.

The first white man to see the Lake was John Fremont when he and his party crossed South pass in 1842. Later in 19th century trappers, miners, livestock interests and recreationists used the area.

Emile Grainer was a civil engineer from France who spent a great deal of time in the area between 1884 and 1892. He raised $250,000 from investors in France to develop gold mining interests in the area of Atlantic City.

Grainer’s plan was to build a ditch to carry water from Christina Lake to Rock Creek close to Atlantic city to enable a hydraulic mining operation. He utilized both White and Chinese laborers to build his ditch. He completed the ditch in 1887 as promised, and it was quite a fete of engineering, but other problems made the mining operation unprofitable.

The venture bankrupted Emile’s company, and he returned to France. Emile named Gustov Lake, Christina Lake, and Louis Lake for members of his family. Grainner meadows is named after Grainer although the spelling is wrong on the forest signage.

In 1911 there was a great deal of excitement about a proposed hydroelectric dam project. The proposal was to build an 80 -foot-high dam spanning 450 feet across the Little Popo Agie River. The dam would have flooded Louis Lake. Huge promises were made including trolley service in Lander and surrounding communities.

By 1916 plans for the power plant were abandoned and at least one of the promoters, F. D. Foster spent time in jail for violating Kansas’s Blue-Sky Laws.

Jack Carmody was a noted sheep entrepreneur from the 1890s to 1930s and President of the Lander State Bank in the 1930s. He floated a 15-foot houseboat on Louis Lake to be able to catch the “big ones.” He died of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 23, 1934 after spending a day fishing on his beloved houseboat.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corp or CCC was enlisted to build the switch backs and improve the road we know today, this gave easier access to the lakes for recreationist such as fishermen, picnickers and campers. We have many photos of happy days from generations past spent fishing at Louis Lake in the Pioneer Museum collection.

Ralph Koester was granted a special use permit by the Forest Service to build Louis Lake Lodge in 1932. The Lodge consisted of cabins, office, corals and a dock. The lodge was built on 1938 and has had various owners through the years.

Today Steve and Vera Farber operate the lodge. They have made many improvements, but the lodge is still out of cell phone range, which makes the lodge a quiet place to get away from modern life and do some fishing with the grandkids.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums


October 17th, 6:30pm at the Riverton Museum, “Haunted Tales of Fremont County”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

October 19th, 1-3pm at the Dubois Museum, “Halloween Pumpkin Carving”

           Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

October 19th, 5:30pm at the Riverton Museum, “Haunted Trek through Riverton”

           Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek

October 25th & 26th at the Pioneer Museum, “Halloween Night at the Museum”

           Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series


Consider supporting The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander or the Riverton Museum with a monetary donation. The museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.

This County 10 Series is brought to you by:

Have a news tip or an awesome photo you’d like to share? 


[adrotate group="12"]


Fremont County Events


Top Deals in The 10


Places in Fremont County
    • image-767

    Outwest Hair Station

    • image-871

    Tony’s Pizza

    • image-526

    RE/MAX All-Star REALTORS – Riverton

Have a news tip or an awesome photo to share?