History & News

Vintage revolver examined at County Museum may be part of a mystery

danny gun

(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - March 18, 2021)     

A budding historian brought a century-old handgun to the Sweetwater County Historical Museum for examination this week.

Six-year-old Danny Tuttle of Green River, a regular museum visitor, is the owner of a badly rusted revolver that was found hidden beneath a rock in the desert near Rawlins area by his great-grandfather, Jesse Lloyd Tuttle, in the 1940s. Museum staff determined the pistol to be a .38-caliber Iver Johnson Safety Automatic revolver, which first appeared on the market around 1896.

Iver Johnson placed particular emphasis on the revolver’s safety system, which prevented it from firing until the trigger had been pulled completely to the rear. Their slogan was “Hammer the Hammer,” and Iver Johnson ads featured a photo of the pistol’s hammer being struck with a claw hammer to graphically demonstrate its safety.

The Safety Automatic was not a top-shelf firearm. Its only real claim to fame is a morbid one:   Leon Czołgosz used one to assassinate President William McKinley in Buffalo, New York, in 1901.

There may be something of a mystery attached to Danny’s old pistol. Museum staff who examined it noted that had been badly and deliberately battered:   the trigger guard was bent upward, apparently an intentional act when the pistol was struck against a rock or other hard object, and the front sight was flattened, probably with a hammer or other blunt metal tool. “Add to that the fact that it was concealed beneath a rock,” said Dick Blust of the museum, “and it’s pretty clear the gun was hidden for a reason.”

The museum, located at 3 East Flaming Gorge Way in Green River, has an Iver Johnson Safety Automatic of its own currently on display. Museum hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.

People with a vintage firearm (or firearms) who would like to learn more about them are encouraged to contact the museum at (307) 872-6435 or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

There is no charge for the museum’s firearms research service.

From Wyoming to Australia - two museums share a special connection


(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - February 5, 2021)     The Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River recently discovered that it has a unique cultural and historical link to another museum on the other side of the world.

The County Museum recently published an article and Facebook post about the huge silk dragon used in parades and processions by the Chinese community in Rock Springs well over a century ago. All that remains of the dragon now are carefully-preserved photographs and its grapefruit-sized glass eyes, currently on exhibit in the museum’s gallery.

Barely a day later the museum was contacted by the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo, Australia, north of Melbourne, which is recognized as the Chinese Cultural Center of Australia. Museum staff there saw the article and, as it turns out, they have in their collection a Chinese parade dragon of their own made by the same workshop in Guangdong Province in China in the early 1890s.

The County Museum’s former director, Brie Blasi, made the connection with a remarkable photograph depicting the back of the Rock Springs dragon’s head, bearing Chinese characters that identified its maker but were difficult to decipher. The museum’s current director, Dave Mead, enhanced the photograph to make the characters legible, making translation possible:  the Sing Cheung Workshop of Foshan (Fatshan), about 100 miles northwest of Hong Kong, which also made the Bendigo Dragon, whose name is “Loong,” meaning “dragon.”

The Golden Dragon Museum’s staff calls the Rock Springs Dragon a “brother” to Loong. It was brought to Rock Springs by Ah Say, an important figure in the Rock Springs Chinese community who served for years as an interpreter and liaison between the Chinese miners and the Union Pacific, and for whom a street in Rock Springs is named. Some say he obtained the dragon at the Chicago Exposition in 1893, but it is also reported that he purchased it the following year at the San Francisco Mid-Winter Fair (officially the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894.)

To view a short video featuring Chinese processional dragons from the Golden Dragon Museum in Bendigo on parade, go to

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Loong+golden+dragon+museum&docid=607992461541310749&mid=6F960B5CC3573B2F1B3D6F960B5CC3573B2F1B3D&view=detail&FORM=VIRE .

The County Museum’s gallery features an extensive exhibit on the historic Chinese community in Rock Springs, including the infamous Chinese Massacre of September 2, 1885, during which at least 28 (and as many as more than 50) Chinese miners were killed by a mob of white miners.

The Sweetwater County Historical Museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and admission is free.

In Rock Springs, Chinese Lunar New Year once marked with parades - and candy


(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - February 3, 2021)    

February 12, 2021 marks the beginning of the Chinese Lunar New Year, which was celebrated by the Chinese community in Rock Springs in the 1890s and the turn of the 20th century with parades that featured the Dragon Dance, when a huge silk dragon 140 feet long and borne by dozens of men wound its way through the streets of the town. 

In the collection of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River are photographs of the Chinese parade dragon, and among the museum’s most prized possessions are the dragon’s large glass eyes, over 125 years old, which are on display in a special exhibit about the Chinese in Sweetwater County.

Museum staff recently discovered another photograph of the place and the time:  a portrait of a man named Lee Me Him, posing proudly in front of his drug store in Rock Springs’s Chinatown, circa 1895.

Lee Me Him made many of his own medicines, using traditional Chinese recipes. Though many  of his customers lived in Chinatown, during the New Year celebrations Rock Springs children from throughout the town came to his store for Chinese candy, for them a fine treat. 

See more photos on the Museum's Facebook and Instagram.

The museum is located at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. Hours are 9:00 AM through 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.

New Museum Exhibit at the Eden Valley Community Center


(January 7, 2021 - Sweetwater County, Wyo.) 

A new exhibit from the Sweetwater County Historical Museum is now on display at the Eden Valley Community Center in Farson.

"Celebrating Historic Eden Valley" provides vivid images of early life in the Farson-Eden area, including photographs of the Eden Valley Hotel, the first school bus in the valley, the old Whitehair Hall, and members of the Farson-Eden Women's Progress Club. Local residents will recognize many of their ancestral family and friends in the exhibit.

Settlement of Eden Valley began in 1907 as a result of the Carey Act. Also known as the Federal Desert Land Act, this legislation was introduced in Congress by Senator Joseph Carey of Wyoming. The act was designed to encourage agricultural development in semi-arid western states by creating irrigation projects. These projects were managed by private companies, including the John M. Farson Sons & Company, for whom the community of Farson is named.

Most of the photographs in the exhibit are from "Eden Valley Voices: A Centennial Celebration of Stories," published by the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in 2008. The book is a compilation of historical accounts of life in the valley, and is available at the museum and through other book sellers.

Sweetwater County Commissioner Lauren Schoenfeld, a Farson native, provided support for the production of the exhibit. Stephanie Neese, the Eden Valley Community Center's caretaker, helped install the exhibit and praised it as "awesome."

To schedule a visit to the Eden Valley Community Center and check out the County Museum's exhibits, contact Stephanie at (307) 371-9298.