Thursday, August 12, 2010

South Pass City

After our day of fishing and our night camping, we drove towards Lander, Wyoming, and visited South Pass City.  Here's what Wikipedia says about South Pass City ("Wikipedia is the best thing ever. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject. So you know you are getting the best possible information," - Michael Scott, 'The Office'):
South Pass City sprang into existence as a stage and telegraph station on the Oregon Trail during the 1850s. The site of this first settlement was about 9 miles south of present-day South Pass City at what is today known as Burnt Ranch. Burnt Ranch was located where the Emigrant Trails crossed the Sweetwater River for the last time and ascended toward South Pass.[2]
In 1866 gold was discovered in the vicinity, and a year later prospecting began on what would become the Carissa mine. Prospectors and adventurers quickly arrived and founded what is today known as South Pass City. Within a year the community's population had swelled to about 2,000. One of those who arrived in 1869 was Esther Hobart Morris. In 1870 she was the first woman in the U.S. to serve as a Justice of the Peace.[3] In 1869, William H. Bright, a saloon owner and representative to the Wyoming Territorial Constitutional Convention, introduced a women's suffrage clause into the territorial constitution. When the constitution was approved by Territorial Governor John A. Campbell in December 1869, Wyoming became the first U.S. territory to recognize a woman's right to vote.
Within a decade the city's population shrank dramatically as the large gold deposits that had been hoped for failed to materialize. By the mid 1870s South Pass City's population was reduced to about 100 people. Over the next century the population of South Pass City declined further and many of the city's homes, mercantile stores, hotels and saloons fell into disrepair. A few businesses continued to operate in South Pass City with the last of the pioneer families finally moving on in 1949.
At the end of the 20th century steps were taken to renew the community and turn it into a historic site. As a result the community today consists of two areas: South Pass City, in which a handful of residents live, and South Pass City State Historic Site, which preserves more than 30 historic structures dating from the city's heyday in the 1860s and 1870s. In 1970, the community was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Sign upon entrance to South Pass City
Inside one of the closed off mines

Bryan looks like such a miner, doesn't he?

One room school house; apparently teachers were hard to come by, so occasionally children had to be sent to live with family members if they wanted to attend public school.

Old school kitchen.  Don't those green beans look REAL? (no.)

The next few pics are from a hotel that was very popular in South Pass City.  I thought the quilts were really neat, but got a bit grossed out when I read that the people who stayed here didn't have heat, and often slept in a bed with strangers to save money and keep warm.  GROSS.  And the only way to stay clean was a sponge bath.  Not sexy.  But that wallpaper is pretty awesome, I have to say.

The pitcher and wash basin is for your fabulous sponge bath.  Woohoo!!

I love this quilt.  I wish I had the patience to learn how to quilt like this.  Maybe when I'm older.

For some reason, I really like this rug.  Even though it's totally worn out.

A bar in town.  A very patriotic bar in town.

Apparently gambling was popular... and dangerous

I really like how this one came out.

Tomorrow:  Miner's Delight and pictures from the drive back to Jackson

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