History & News

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.

Christmas Eve at the Emery House, 1901


(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - December 17, 2020)     

While searching through its photo archives recently, the staff at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River came across a unique holiday image from over a century ago - Christmas Eve at the Rock Springs home of one of the most important, yet largely unrecognized, figures in Wyoming history.

Ezra Lowman Emery - known as “Good Roads” Emery - was a groundbreaking civil engineer who mapped out an automobile roadway across southern Wyoming from Cheyenne, to Ogden, Utah in 1911 and 1912 along the corridor of the Union Pacific railroad line. What he called the “Transcontinental Highway” became the Lincoln Highway, which was officially christened in 1913. Later the route evolved into U.S. Highway 30, then Interstate 80.

Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1866, Emery began his career as a Union Pacific civic engineer and soon moved to Wyoming. A tireless advocate of automobile transportation, he served as City Treasurer of Rock Springs to 1896 to 1899 and from 1900 to 1904 he was Rock Springs City Engineer.

Among the most treasured items in the County Museum's archives are Emery's scrapbook and photo album, which are filled with photos of his journeys.

The group photo shown here is marked “Christmas Eve 1901 - Ezra Emery Photo.” The people in the shot are identified as “Allie Huff Evans,” Penrose Reed,” “Mrs. Gray,” “Mrs. Ludwigsen, “Dr. Schafer,” “Newman,” “Minnie Durham,” “Mrs R. Harvey Reed,” and “Maude McCoy Emery.”  Ezra Emery is the moustached man at the bottom of the photo.

Emery went on to serve as Wyoming Assistant Commissioner of Public Lands, Chief Clerk of the Wyoming State Senate, and Field Superintendent of the Intermountain Good Roads Department, National Highway Association. At the time of his death in 1924, he and his family were living in Reliance.

Merry Christmas, Ezra. All of us who travel on what is now I-80 owe you a debt.

Green River’s Wagon Bridge


(Sweetwater County, Wyo. – November 25, 2020)      Built in 1896, the Wagon Bridge in Green River was the only non-railway span across the entire 730-mile length of that waterway until 1910.

The Overland Stage Route, established in 1862, crossed the Green River at the Green River stage station ford at the current site of the Wyoming Game & Fish building on Astle Avenue and a ferry operated downstream, but in the late 19th century Sweetwater County and the town of Green River agreed to put up $2,000 apiece to finance construction of a bridge. (Later, the town assumed the burden of an additional $675 in building costs.)  The bid was awarded to an Ohio firm:  the Wrought Iron Bridge Company, and the bridge that resulted was a “single-lane, two-span, iron structure with a wooden deck and wooden through truss, re-enforced with iron rods.”

The bridge greatly improved freight traffic to and from Green River to points south, including the Henry’s Fork and Lucerne Valleys and the areas around Ashley and Burntfork. Beginning in 1913, the newly-established Lincoln Highway (U.S. Highway 30) passed through Green River and across the Wagon Bridge.

In 1922 the Wyoming Highway Department (now the Department of Transportation) constructed a new highway bridge across the Green River west of the town and the Lincoln Highway was rerouted to pass through town along North 1st Street (now Flaming Gorge Way) to the new structure.

The present Uinta Drive/Highway 530 bridge was built in 1951. The Wagon Bridge was demolished as unsafe in 1954, but its remains can still be seen from the north side of the river where South 5th East Street ends, across the water to the south side and the Greenbelt.

County Museum launches antique firearms research service


The Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River christened a new service on Wednesday - vintage firearms research.

“When it comes to guns, ‘vintage’ covers a lot of territory,” said Dick Blust, a museum researcher. “While a Sharps buffalo rifle from the 1870s is beyond question ‘vintage,’ so, in many respects, is a Smith & Wesson revolver manufactured in the 1920s or a Colt Model 1911A1 semi-automatic pistol made during World War II.”

The museum recently researched a badly rusted rifle found years ago in Uinta County that the owner had been unable to determine much about. It turned out to be a Winchester Model 1894 lever-action chambered for the .30 WCF (.30/30) cartridge with a 26-inch octagon barrel manufactured in 1903. The Model 1894, designed by John Moses Browning, was one of the most popular sporting rifles every manufactured; in fact, it’s still in production.

People with a vintage firearm (or firearms) who would like to learn more about them need only 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..

Blust said there will be no charge for the museum’s firearms research service.