#Lookback: Railroad

by | Nov 22, 2019 1:49PM

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.

On May 10, 1869 at 12:47 pm the golden spike that joined The Union Pacific Railroad from the east and The Central Pacific Railroad from the west was driven in by a railroad worker at Promontory Summit, Utah. Telegraphs carried the news; the transcontinental railroad was finally completed. The transcontinental railroad cut across what would become Wyoming from Cheyenne, to Laramie, to Rawlins, to Rock Springs and Green River and Evanston. The tracks were laid to take advantage of the coal seams along the route. Steam Engines needed coal.

A passenger could journey from coast to coast in less than a week instead of months by covered wagon or by steamship. This is the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad. To celebrate the event the Union Pacific Railroad is sending Big Boy, a restored steam locomotive on a commemorative run. Big Boy was originally built in 1941.

The new railroad changed the west. Settlers soon made their way west. The buffalo were soon decimated and without the buffalo the Native Americans were confined to reservations and became dependent on the US government for sustenance. Small towns grew along the tracks to service the train.

Fremont County had to wait 35 years for the train to arrive, but the arrival of the train changed Lander forever. The train came through Casper, and created the towns of Lysite, Shoshoni, Center City, later to be renamed Riverton, Hudson. Lander was its terminus.

The train arrived in Lander on October 10, 1906. The first train carried many dignitaries including Eugene Amoretti Sr., one of Lander’s founding fathers. A wooden archway was built to welcome the train and a bottle of champagne was broken on the engine. A parade was organized with a band from Lander and neighboring communities leading the way. Native Americans lead by Dick Washakie, Chief Washakie’s son paraded and performed a wolf dance at the corner of Third Street and Main Street. After a community picnic the crowd adjourned to the Opera House in the Orchard Building to listen to speeches.

The coming of the railroad brought tourist and the need for hotels to accommodate them. Stage coaches and horse drawn freighters soon became obsolete. Wool and oil could be exported by train and soon Sears and Montgomery Ward catalogues made world’s goods accessible to residents of Fremont County.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums


December 7th at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Open House”

December 7th at the Pioneer Museum, “Old Fashioned Christmas”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

December 14th at the Riverton Museum, “Old Time Christmas Decorations”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

December 14th at the Riverton Museum, “Christmas Open House”


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.

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Fremont County Events



Places in Fremont County
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    Pingora Behavioral Health Clinic

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    Porter’s Supply Co.

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    My Store Belles & Beaus

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