Historic Sites

Historic Sites

Immerse yourself in Lander’s Western Roots. Sharing borders with the Wind River Indian Reservation and South Pass, Lander is surrounded and filled with a rich history of Native American culture and western settler tales aged to perfection.

Photo Credit: Bryce Giesmann

Museums

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Welcome to the Museum of the American West, the only institution to celebrate the different groups of people who utilized the critical geography of what is now central Wyoming to shape the American West. The pioneers and their descendants; the Eastern Shoshone; the Northern Arapaho; and other diverse cultures have inhabited for generations the valleys of the Sweetwater and Wind rivers, beneath the jagged peaks of the Wind River Mountains and the Great South Pass.
Come join us on an adventure: there are Ranchers, Rustlers, and Range wars; Outlaws and Lawmen; Cowboys and Indians. Don’t be surprised by the bugle of the 9th Cavalry or watch Wyoming’s first oil well come in as a gusher! Come back into town and take a stroll down Main Street and say, “howdy” to the new school marm.
Explore local geology, flora and fauna, ranching, agriculture, recreation and more through a variety of hands-on, child friendly exhibits! The Lander Children’s Museum provides experiences that encourage us to interact with our surrounding resources through the unique opportunities found in this beautiful and bountiful area.
Is a tribute to the historic One Shot Antelope Hunt. The museum contains memorabilia from famous people who have participated, firearms, photos and antelope mounts. The Museum also houses Water for Wildlife, the conservation organization that benefits from the hunt.
If you are looking to discover more about Sacajawea, Fremont County is the place to find it. One of the most famous women in American history, she has been honored with more statues, monuments and landmarks than any other woman in the United States. Sacajawea joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition in North Dakota at Fort Mandan. According to Shoshone oral history, she eventually returned to her Shoshone people in Fort Washakie to live with her son, Jean Baptise, and her nephew and adopted son, Bazil. Sacajawea died April 9, 1884 and was buried by the Indian missionary Reverend John Roberts. The cemetery is located near Fort Washakie, 15 miles north of Lander on the Wind River Indian Reservation.
Photo Credit: Lander Pioneer Museum

Historic Sites

South Pass City Historic Site
South Pass City State Historic Site is one of the West’s premier historic sites containing over 35 original structures. The authentically furnished South Pass Hotel will give you a realistic glimpse of what it was like to stay in the real West during the late 1800’s. At the Miner’s Exchange Saloon you can play billiards on a restored ca. 1840 billiard table. Pan for gold in at South Pass City or prospect in the mining district and stake your own claim. You can shop at the Smith-Sherlock General Store.
Miner's Delight
Miner’s Delight is a beautiful spot near the Continental Divide in central Wyoming, Miner’s Delight is a silent witness to the heyday of Wyoming’s gold mining era. One of the state’s earliest communities–gold was discovered there in 1868–the BLM-managed ghost town yields important clues about the early history of Wyoming and the gold mining culture. As have many Wyoming towns, Miner’s Delight experienced a cycle of boom and bust over the years. The original mining activity busted between 1872 and 1874, but another boom occurred in the 1880s. Smaller booms occurred between 1907 and 1910 and during the Depression. Miner’s Delight was inhabited as recently as the 1960s.
Fort Stambaugh
On May 4, 1870 First Lieutenant Charles B. Stambaugh, was shot from his horse by raiding Indians as he was helping defend a party of freighters. As a tribute to him the new fort was re-named Camp Stambaugh. A few months later, it became a permanent post in August and was renamed Fort Stambaugh. By August, 1878, when the mines were beginning to close, people were leaving the area and the Indian hostilities had decreased, the fort was abandoned.
Atlantic City, WY
Gold miners poured into this district in the late 1860’s and within a few months created three typical, frontier gold camps. Today Atlantic City can easily claim the title as the boom/bust capital of Wyoming. Since its official platting on April 1868, that town has experience a continual series of mining booms and busts, all but one tied to the fortunes of gold. Atlantic City offers lodging, restaurants, two folksmarch trails and unparralled exploration of the historic mining district and the Oregon/Mormon Trail country. Overland Trails (create profile page with maps etc..)
Oregon Trail- California Trail
It all began with a crude network of rutted traces across the land from the Missouri River to the Willamette River and into the California Gold fields that was used by nearly 400,000 people. The area south of Lander boasts one of the largest continuous in tact sections of the trail. Historic sites along the trail include, Pacific Springs, Oregon Buttes, Continental Peal, Burnt Ranch, South Pass, Lander Cutoff and False Parting of the Ways, Meeker Monument and the Spaulding Whitman Monument.
Mormon Trail
From 1846 to 1869 more than 70,000 Mormons traveled along the road west. The trail started in Nauvoo, Il. Roughly following the same route as the Oregon Trail through this area of Wyoming the Mormon Trail is famous for the Willie and Martin Handcart companies who experience disaster in 1856 before crossing South Pass, the Cumberland Gap of the west. See the Willie Handcart Company rescue Site only a couple of miles from Atlantic City.
Pony Express
The Pony Express has fascinated Americans since its first riders hit leather in April 1860. Emigrants who moved west in the mid-1800s anxiously awaited mail from home. But mail took months to arrive, and by then the news was old. The Pony Express delivered mail in just 10 days using swift horses, small light riders.
Castle Gardens
The Castle Gardens Petroglyph Site is located in central Wyoming approximately 45 miles east of Riverton. The name of the area comes from the outcropping of sandstone, which the wind has eroded into fanciful shapes resembling the turrets and towers of castle. This unusual formation has been luring visitors for thousands of years, and many of them left their mark in the soft sandstone–the area holds a treasure of Native American rock art, or petroglyphs. The most famous petroglyphs were done in the Castle Gardens Shield Style, the oldest recognizable example of the shield-bearing warrior figure type. It is described as “elaborate and carefully made figures,” and it “combines several different manufacturing techniques that serve to distinguish the style as unique in the Bighorn and Wind River Basins. The style is also unique in that it depicts shields alone as well as shield-bearing warriors” (Francis & Loendorf 2002:136).