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History & News

Museum fields inquiry about 1920s Rock Springs

- A black and white Sanborn map which shows the steel wagon bridge across Bitter Creek, highlighted here, and the structure southeast of the bridge, which County Museum researchers have determined was a stable when the map was published in 1920.

(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - October 27, 2021)     Roger Varley of Point of Rocks recently contacted the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River with an inquiry concerning the museum’s article and Facebook post about the steel wagon bridge that once ran across Bitter Creek, connecting K Street with Pilot Butte Avenue. What, he asked, was the feature or structure on the Sanborn Map that appeared to extend out over Bitter Creek southeast (upstream) of the bridge?

Museum staff have determined that the structure was a stable at the end of an alley, further that a stable had existed at that particular spot going back as far as 1904. (The Sanborn map used in the article is dated 1920.)

Staff members also noted that the stable is marked “ON POSTS.”  In the days when Bitter Creek ran through downtown Rock Springs, many buildings along its channel were constructed on posts driven into the ground instead of conventional foundations.

For many years, Bitter Creek was an eyesore and a sanitation problem, as it was little more than a garbage dump. In the mid-1920s, Mayor Chris Bunning headed up the effort to rechannel the creek to its present course and clean the area up. One result was creation of a fine new park northwest of the wagon bridge, which later came to bear his name:   Bunning Park.

Museum carries on its annual Day of the Dead tradition

Museum volunteer Emilio Sanchez stands before the Día de los Muertos ofrenda he designed and built for the Sweetwater County Historical Museum. The special exhibit will remain up through the first week of November.

(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - October 21, 2021)     The Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River is continuing a special autumn tradition with a Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) ofrenda. As featured in the animated Walt Disney film Coco, Día de los Muertos is a holiday for honoring the dead which originated in Mexico but is now celebrated in many countries and regions. Celebrants create ofrendas (offerings) using items such as food, flowers, photos, and sugar skulls.

Museum volunteer Emilio Sanchez of Green River created this year’s ofrenda exhibit at the museum.

Typically Día de los Muertos begins on October 31 and lasts through November 2. The Museum’s ofrenda, however, will be on display through the first week of November.

Anyone who would like to make an offering to deceased loved ones, friends, or celebrities may do so anytime during the museum's business hours. The offering can be as simple as a photo of your loved one or you may bring more elaborate items you have decorated for Día de los Muertos. Please keep in mind that this is a public display and the Sweetwater County Historical Museum is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

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

Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit in Green River Closing Soon

The Crossroads Change in Rural America Introduction Panel. The panel looks like a city welcoming sign with two large faux brick pillars holding a sign with the image of a fictional rural community. It says 'Crossroads Change in Rural Communities.'

(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - October 19, 2021)      The Sweetwater County Historical Museum’s special exhibit at the Green River Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” will have its last day on Thursday, October 21.

Presented in cooperation with Wyoming Humanities / thinkWY and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, “Crossroads” examines the evolving landscape of rural America, including special display banners that feature Sweetwater County’s communities, including Rock Springs, Green River, Superior, Point of Rocks, Wamsutter, Little America, Granger,

McKinnon-Washam, Bairoil, Farson-Eden, and Reliance. There is no charge for admission.

Museum Director Dave Mead explained that “Crossroads” is a traveling exhibit and is closing two days early due to scheduling conflicts and shipping issues. The exhibit is set for display at five other communities in Wyoming through June 18, 2022; the Homesteaders Museum in Torrington, beginning October 27, 2021, the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, in January 2022, the Nicolaysen Museum at Casper College, February 2022, the Homesteader Museum in Powell, March 2022, and the Converse County Library in Douglas, May 2022.

Over 1,300 people have visited the exhibit since it opened on September 11. The Visitor’s Center is currently on winter hours, which are Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

SMITHSONIAN TRAVELING EXHIBIT OPENS IN GREEN RIVER

A large exhibit panel meant to look like a city welcome sign. The sign says Welcome to Crossroads Change in Rural America. Where people meet, ideas intersect, and change is constant.
September 14, 2021
The Sweetwater County Historical Museum’s new special exhibit, “Crossroads: Change in Rural America,” is now open at the Green River Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. The exhibit is presented in cooperation with Wyoming Humanities / thinkWY and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.
“Crossroads” examines the evolving landscape of rural America, and will open and on view through October 24, 2021. There is no charge for admission.
The Sweetwater County Historical Museum and the communities of Sweetwater County were expressly chosen by Wyoming Humanities / thinkWY to host “Crossroads” as part of the Museum on Main Street program—a national/state/local partnership to bring exhibitions and programs to rural cultural organizations. “Crossroads” explores how rural American communities changed in the 20th century. The vast majority of the United States landscape remains rural, with only 3.5% of the landmass considered urban. Since 1900, the percentage of Americans living in rural areas dropped from 60% to 17%. The exhibit looks at that remarkable societal change and how rural Americans responded
The elaborate exhibit, which covers over 750 square feet of floor space, is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. In addition to Sweetwater County, “Crossroads” will tour five other communities in Wyoming through June 18, 2022; the Homesteaders Museum in Torrington, beginning October 2021, the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne, in January 2022, the Nicolaysen Museum at Casper College, February 2022, the Homesteader Museum in Powell, March 2022, and the Converse County Library in Douglas, May 2022.
To learn more about “Crossroads” and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit www.museumonmainstreet.org.
 
An official grand opening for the exhibit is scheduled at the Visitor Center at 1155 W. Flaming Gorge Way for Friday, September 17, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM, with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5:30. Refreshments and snacks will be served, a cash bar will be available for those 21 or over, and the public is invited to attend.
The museum is also sponsoring “Music of the Community,” a combination concert and panel discussion emceed by Andrea Graham, a University of Wyoming Folkore Specialist, on Friday, September 24th, at the Broadway Theater in Rock Springs. Performing will be local talent ZamTrip, Sickamore Treezy, and Dave Pedri and the EIO Band. The doors at the Broadway will open at 5:30 PM, the panel opens at 6:00, and the concert will begin at 7:15. Admission will be free, and a cash bar will be available for those 21 and over.
You can see a preview of the exhibit here on our YouTube Channel.