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Henry T Williams.

Pacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads online

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Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 15 of 62)
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82



and silver have been discovered. The ore assays
over $50 per ton, but is very refractory. Notice
on north side of road the signboard, " Summit
of the Mountains."

Sherman is 549.2 miles from Omaha, at an
elevation of 8,242 feet. At the time the road
was completed here, it was the highest railroad
point in the world, but there are higher places
now reached by rail in South America. It has
been reached by an ascent so gradual that you
have hardly noticed it. In the past few years
there have been many changes in grade of the
Union Pacific, and wherever possible, the track
has been raised above the cuts, so the snow,
unless in immense quantities, now causes but
little impediment to travel. At Sherman, the
snow never falls very deep, but there is a con-



mile, and the maximum grade of any one mile
is 90 feet. From Sherman to Laramie, the dis-
tance is 23.4 miles; the aveiage grade is 50 feet
to the mile, while the maximum grade of any
one mile is the same as on the eastern slope 90
feet to the mile. These grades indicate why
this route across the Black Hills was selected in
preference to others where the altitude was not
as great the approach on either side being more
gradual, though the elevation is greater. Nearly
all trains between Cheyenne and Laramie have
two engines attached so that they may be easily
controlled. It is a steady pull "to the summit,
from each side, and the heavy down grades from
it require a great deal of power to properly con-
trol trains. About 4 mile west of Shaman on
the left side of the road, is "Reed's Rock," so




SKULL ROCKS,

stant breeze, that most Eastern people would
pronounce a gale, and the snow is constantly
drifting and packs so hard wherever it finds
lodgment, that it is exceedingly difficult to dis-
place, requiring an immense power of snow-
plows, engines and shovelers. As you approach
Sherman, you will see the balanced rocks, and to
the right of the station, about one-quarter of a
mile, is a rugged peak, near which' are graves^of
some who are quietly sleeping so near heaven,
and a solitary pine tree, like a sentinel keeping
guard over them. Sherman is a telegraph sta-
tion, has a hotel, one or two saloons, several
houses, and a roundhouse where an engine is
kept for use in cases of emergency. The differ-
ence in elevation between this place and Chey-
enne is 2,201 feet, and distance nearly 33 miles.
The average grade from Cheyenne is 67 feet per



NEAR SHERMAN.

called from one of the civil engineers who laid
out the road. Something like two hundred
feet to the eastward of the station, and on
the north side of the track, there may be
seen a post, bearing the important announce-
ment that this is the -'Summit of the Rorkj/ Mount-
ains." Station is named after General Sherman.
Dnle Creek Brirtf/e is about two miles
west of Sherman. This bridge is built of iron,
and seems to be a light airy structure, but is
really very substantial. The creek, like a thread
of silver, winds its devious way in the depths be-
low, and is soon lost to sight as you pass rapidly
down the ijrade and through the granite cuts and
snow sheds beyond. This bridge is (!.">() feet long,
and nearly 130 feet high, and is one of the won-
ders on the ijreat t rans-coni inental route. A
water tank, just beyond it, is supplied with water



83




DALE CREEK BRIDGE.



from the creek by means of a steam pump. The
buildings in the valley below seem small in the
distance, though they are not a great way off.
The old wagon road crossed the creek down a
ravine, on the right side of the track, and the
remains of the bridge may still be seen. This
stream rises about six miles north of the bridge,
and is fed by numerous springs and tributaries,
running in a general southerly direction, until it
empties into the Cache La Poudre River. The
old overland road from Denver to California
ascended this river and creek until it struck
the head- waters of the Laramie. Leaving Dale
Creek bridge, the road soon turns to the right,
and before you, on the left, is spread out, like a
magnificent panorama,

The Great Laramie Plains. These
plains have an average width of 40 miles, and
are 100 miles in length. They begin at the
western base of the Black Hills and extend to
the slope of the Medicine Bow Mountains, and
north beyond where the Laramie River cuts
its way through these hills to join its w r aters
with the North Platte. They comprise an area
of over two and a half millions of acres, and
are regarded as one of the richest grazing por-
tions of country. Across these plains, and a
little to the left, as you begin to glide over them,
rises in full view the Diamond Peaks of the
Medicine Bow Range. They are trim and clear-
cut cones, with sharp pointed summits a fact
"which has given them their name, while their
sides, and the rugged hills around them, are cov-
ered with timber. Still farther in the shadowy
distance, in a south-westerly direction, if the
atmosphere is clear, you will see the white sum-
mits of the Snowy Range white with their
robes of perpetual snow. Even in the hottest
weather experienced on these plains, it makes



one feel chilly to look at them they are so cold,
cheerless and forbidding.

In the hills we have just passed, there is an
abundance of game, such as mountain sheep,
bear, antelope, and an occasional mountain lion,
while Dale Creek and all the little brooks which
flow into the South Platte River are filled with
trout. The speckled beauties are not found
however, in the streams which flow into the
North Platte. This is a well-established fact,
and we have yet failed to discover any satisfac-
tory reason for it, though some of these brooks,
flowing in opposite directions, head not more
than fifty yards apart.

Skrtll Rocks. These rocks, found near Dale
Creek, are excellent samples of the granite rocks
which are so abundant in this section, and show
how they bear the effects of the severe weather.
All the massive rocks, which, like the ruins of
old castles, are scattered all over the Black Hills,
were once angular in form, and square masses,
which in time have been worn to their present
forms by the disintegrating effects of the atmos-
phere.

Tie-Siding, 555.2 miles from Omaha; ele-
vation, 7,985 feet. This is a telegraph station,
A well-worn and much traveled road leads
hence across the prairies southward to the
mountains of Diamond Peaks, in the neigh-
borhood of which are obtained ties, fence-
poles and wood. There are a few houses,
and the inevitable saloon houses occupied most-
ly by woodchoppers and teamsters while the
saloons generally take the most of their money.
A short distance from this station two soldiers
of an Towa cavalry regiment were killed by In-
dians at the overland stage station, in 1865. The
pine board and mound which marks their resting-
place will soon disappear, and there will be noth-



84



ing left to mark the spot where they fell. Near
Tie-Siding are extensive ranches occupied by
sheep during the summer. The general direction
of the traveler is now north. In fact, after leav-
ing Dale Creek bridge, you turn towards the
north, and continue in that direction, sometimes
even -making a little east, until you pass Rock
Creek Station, a distance of about seventy miles
by rail. We have now fairly entered upon the
great Laramie Plains. The next station is

Hartley, simply a side track, 559.3 miles
from the eastern terminus, with an elevation of
7,857 feet. We are going down grade now pretty
fast. The old stage road can be seen to the left,
and the higher mountains of the Medicine Bow
Range shut in the western view.

lied Unites, near the base of the western
slope of the Black Hills is 563.8 miles from
Omaha ; elevation, 7,333 feet. So-called from
the reddish color of the Buttes between Harney
and this place, on the right side of the track.
This red appearance of the soil on both hill and
plain, indicates the presence of iron. It would
seem that at soins remote period the whole valley
was on a level with the top of these Buttes, and
they, composed of harder and more cohesive sub-
stance than the soil around, have withstood the
drain and wash of ages, while it has settled
away. They are of all sorts of shapes. The
nearest about half a mile from the track, and ex-
cite no little interest from their peculiar forms,
in the mind of the traveler who is at all curious
on such subjects ; some of them are isolated,
and then again you will see them in groups.
There are quite a number in sight from the car
windows, and their close inspection would war-
rant the tourist in stopping at Laramie and
making them and other objects in the vicinity a
visit. Red Buttes is a telegraph station, with a
few settlers in the neighborhood. These plains
have been called the paradise for sheep ; but of
this subject we will speak in another place.

Fort Sanders, 570.3 miles from Omaha;
elevation 7,163 feet. This is a station for the
military post which was established here in June,
1866, by Col. H. M. Mizner of the 18th United
States Infantry. Its buildings for both officers
and men are mainly of logs, and many of them
are both substantial and comfortable. The post
can be seen from a long distance in every
direction ; is close to the track and on the old
military road leading across the Black Hills by
way of Cheyenne Pass to Fort Walbach at the
eastern base of the hills, now abandoned, and to
the military posts near Cheyenne. It will prob-
ably be abandoned in a short time.

Laramie is 572.8 miles from Omaha, and
7,123 feet above the sea. It is the end of a divi-
sion of the Union Pacific Railroad, one of the
largest towns on the road, lias large machine and
repair shops, and is destined to become from its
mining and manufacturing capacities yet unde-



veloped, the largest city on the road in Wyoming.
It is located on the Laramie River, in the midst
of the Laramie Plains, has fully 4.000 people, is
the county-seat of Albany County, has numerous
churches and schools, several public buildings,
brick and stone blocks, with streets regularly laid
out at right angles to the railroad; is well wa-
tered from one of the mountain streams in the
vicinity, and altogether is one of the most promis-
ing towns on the line of the road. It is cajled
the "Gem city of the Mountains," and its alti-
tude and close proximity to the hills behind it
give it a fair show for the name. The rolling
mills of the company, giving employment to from
150 to 300 men, are located and in operation
here, in the northern limits of the city. It is ex-
pected and understood that a foundry and smelt-
ing works for reducing iron ore will soon be
established in connection with the rolling mills.
At present these nulls have all they can do in re-
rolling the worn out rails of the track, which are
brought here for that purpose. The water-power
in the Laramie River will also soon be utilized in
the erection of woolen mills and factories for re-
fining soda and other minerals with which this
country abounds. The mineral resources of Wy-
oming have not been developed. The slight ex-
plorations which have thus far been made only
demonstrate the fact of their existence in untold
quantities. Laramie, for instance, has within a
radius of thirty miles the following named mine-
rals : Antimony, cinnabar, gold, silver, copper,
lead, plumbago, iron, red hematite iron, brown
hematite, specular iron, sulphate of soda, gypsum,
kaolin or porcelain clay, fire clay, brick clay,
coal, sand, limestone, fine quality, sandstone for
building purposes within two miles of the city,
and good wagon roads to all the places where
these materials are found. Laramie, from its
location and surroundings, must become a manu-
facturing city, and upon this fact we base the
prophecy of its future greatness and prosperity.
There are lakes of, soda within the distance named
that must soon be utilized. A simple chemical
process only is required to render this article into
the soda of commerce immense quantities of
which are used in this country annually, and most
of it comes from foreign countries. It is expect-
ed that a soda factory will be started at Laramie
within the next year.

Sheep-Rais* ng, We have before remarked
that the Laramie Plains were a paradise for
sheep. The success which has attended sheep
husbandry on these plains sufficiently attests this
fact. It is true, first efforts were not as success-
ful as they should have been, but this is reason-
ably accounted for in the lack of experience of
those who engaged in it. and a want of knowledge
of the peculiarities of the climate. It has gene-
rally been claimed that sheep will live and do
well where antelope thrive. While this theory
holds good in the main, it has nevertheless been



85



ascertained that sheep on these plains require
hay and shelter in order to be successfully carried
through the storms of winter. It is also true
that this hay may not be needed, or but a little of
it used, but every preparation for safety requires
that it should be on hand to be used if necessary.
The winter is rare indeed, in this locality, that
makes twenty successive days' feeding a necessity.
Usually the storms last two or three days, per-
haps not as long, when hay and shelter are re-
quired. Another fact about this business is that
the climate is healthy, and seems especially adapt-
ed to sheep. If brought here in a sound and
healthy condition, they will remain so with ordi-
nary care, and the climate alone has been effec-
tual in curing soms of the diseases to which they
are subject. Within the last few years a great
number of man have invested capital in sheep
husbandry in the vicinity of Laramie, and with-
out an exc3ptiou they have done well where their
flocks have received the requisite attention and
care. Among the shepherd kings of the plains
may be msntioiied the firms of Willard & Ken-
nedy, King & Lane, Rumsey & Co., T. J. Fisher
& Co., and others. .The firm first named have
about 6,000 in their flock, and have accommoda-
tions at their different ranches for 10,0 H) sheep.
They place this numbar as the limit of their
flock. Their horns ranclu is on the Laramie
River, about twenty miles due west from the
city, and is worthy of a visit from any traveler
who desires information on the subject. They
are Boston men, and are maatiug with success be-
cause they give their personal care and attention
to tha business. Their sheep are divided into
flocks of about 2,500 each ; this number is oil
that can be well cared for in a flock. One man,
a pony and one or two good shepherd dogs are all
that are necessary to care for a flock, though
some flocks are cared for without the pony or
dogs. Mexican herders or shapherds are con-
sidered the best, and usually cost about %'2~> per
month and board. Thay have long been accus-
tomed to the business in Xew Mexico, and the
most of them don't know enough to do anything
else. The wool of graded sheep will usually more
than pay all the expenses of the flock, leaving
the increase as clear profit, and the increase de-
pends to a large extent on how well the flock is
managed; it is ordinarily 80 per cent. Some
have had an increase of their flocks as large as
90 per cent., others as low as 60 per cent. Some
of the successful sheep men have begun their
flocks with Spanish Merinos, others with French
Merinos, others with Cotswolds, and others still
with Mexican sheep. These last are very hardy ;
have small bodies and coarse wool. The ewes
are usually good mothers, and all of them will
hunt and dig through the snow for grass, while
other breeds would not. Mexican sheep will live
and thrive where tenderly raised eastern sheep
will die. They are cheap and easily graded up.



On the other hand, when once acclimated, graded
sheep cost no more care than others, and their
wool will bring double the price in the market.
Each class of sheep has its advocates on these
plains, and each class has been successful. As an
illustration of what care and attention will do
in the sheep business, we call attention to the
facts and figures in the case of T. J. Fisher &
Co., quoting from memory. In August, 1873,
Mr. Fisher bought some 690 ewes. At the end of
the first year he had a few over 1,300 sheep and
lambs, together with the wool clip from the origi-
nal number purchased, in the spring of 1874. At
the end of the second year, in August, 1875, he
had over 1,900 sheep and lambs, together with
the wool clip in the spring of that year. His
sheep being graded, the wool more than paid all
expenses of herding, cutting hay, corrals, etc.
His ranche is on the Little Laramie River, some
fourteen miles from the city. While nearly all
who have entered upon this business have been re-
markably successful, so far as \ve are able to learn,
Mr. Fisher has been the most successful, in pro-
portion to the capital invested. Tourists desir-
ing f uither information on this subject will do
well to visit his ranche and inspect his method
of conducting the business. Messrs. King &
Lane, and Rumsey & Co., have some very fine
Cotswold and Merino sheep, and a visit to their
flocks will abundantly reward any one who de-
sires further information on the subject.

Stock Statisfica. The total number of
stock grazing on the plains of Laramie County,
at last estimate, was as follows :

Sheep, 78,322 head, worth $3, value, $234,966

Horned cattle. 87.00;) " '20, " 1,740,000
Horses and mules, 2,600 " " 50, " 130,000

Total, $2,104,966

The average weight of fleece of sheep sheared
last spring, was 9 Ibs. per sheep. The .average
increase in flocks is 60 to 90 per cent, per annum,
and the average increase of capital, is 50 to 60
per cent, per year.

Sheep husbandry is destined to become the
feature of the Laramie Plains, and the wool
which will soon be raised in this vicinity will keep
thousands of spindles in motion near the very
place where it is produced, thus saving to both
producer and consumer vast sums which are now
lost in transportation.

Efirlff Times. In April, 1868, the first town
lots in Laramie were sold by the railroad com-
pany. There was a great rush for town lots
excitement ran very high, and the history of
Cheyenne in this respect, where men made for-
tunes in a day, was repeated here. In fact, a
month or two prior to the beginning of the sale,
the town site was covered with tents, wagons,
dugouts, etc., of parties waiting for the day of
sale. With that sale, the settlement of the town
.began. The first week, over 400 lots sold and
building began rapidly. In less than two weeks



86



something over 500 buildings and structures of
some kind had been erected. This was an ex-
ample of western growth that would astonish the
slow-going denizens of the Atlantic States. It is
true these structures were of a peculiar character,
and such as were usually found in the towns for
the time being made the business terminus of the
road. Some were of logs, some of cross-ties, others
were simply four posts set in the ground with can-
vas sides and roofs. Others still were made of
boards, in sections, and easy to ba moved when
the next terminus should be made known.

The iron rails that were soon to b?ar the iron
horse were laid past the town on the 9th day of
May, 1888, and on tha day following, the first
train arrived and discharged its freight. Lara-
mie maintained the character of all these, \\cst-



who were respectable, and who desired to do a
legitimate business could not endure for a long
time, the presence and rascalities of these border
characters. There being no law in force, the
next best thing was a resort to "lynch law."
Tliis was the experience of Laramie. "

Laramie is now an orderly, well-governed city,
where, the rights of person and property are re-
spected, and forcibly reminds one of the quiet
towns in the East. All saloons and other places
of like character, are closed on the Sabbath, the
churches are well attended, and the schools are lib-
erally patronized. Jt is one of the most attrac-
tive towns on the line of the Union Pacific
road, and offers many advantages to those who
desire, for any reason, a change of location.

In addition to other public institutions else-




EARLY MORNING SCENE ON THE LARAMIE PLAINS.



ern towns in the early days of their settlement.
Tha same class of human beings that had popu-
lated and depopulated North Platte, Julesburg,
Cheyenne, and other places, lived and flourished
here until the next move was made. They were
gamblers, thieves, prostitutes, murderers bad
men and women of every calling and description
under the heavens, and from almost every nation-
ality on the globe and when they could prey
upon no one else, would, as a matter of course,
prey upon each other. The worst that has ever
been written of these characters does not depict
the whole truth; they were, in many cases, out-
laws from the East fled to escape the conse-
quences of crimes committed there, and each
m in was a law unto himself. Armed to the very
teeth, it was simply a word and a shot, and
many times the shot came first. Of course those.



where mentioned, Laramie has the location of
the territorial penitentiary, a small wing of
which is already constructed, and which is
plainly visible only a short distance west of the
railroad track. A good hotel is kept at the
old depot. For years it was a regular dining
station, and is still one of the most important
and interesting places on the Omaha route,
but the dining station has recently been trans-
ferred to Rock Creek, fifty-two miles farther
west, the better to accommodate the hour of din-
ing to the wants of travelers. A manufactory
for soda is talked of. and if the mines of this ar-
ticle are properly d"veloped, Laramie will soon
supply the world with soda enough to raise, not
only biscuits and bread, but no small sum of
money as a return for the investment. Tin-
roll ing mills and machine and repair shops of



87



the company are sources of perpetual trade and
income, and must of necessity increase with the
annually increasing business of the company. A
visit to the soda lakes, gold mines, Iron Mount-
ain, lied Buttes and other places of interest in
the vicinity, together with good hotel accommo-
dations, will sure-
ly lure the trav-
eler to spend a
few days in this
" Gem city of the
Mountains."

L ti r a in i e
Peak. This is
the highest peak
of the Black Hills
Range in Wyom-
ing and Colorado,
north of Long's
Peak, and is about
10,000 feet high.
The Haydeh ex-
ploring party,
who were en-
camped at its
base, describe wit-
nessing a sunset
scene of rare
beautv. The sun
passed down di-
rectly behind the
summit of Lara-
mie Peak. The
whole range of
mountains was
gilded with a
golden light, and
the haziness of the
atmosphere gave
to the whole scene
a deeper beauty.
The valleys at the
base of the Cotton-
wood and Laramie
Rivers are full of
pleasant little
streams and
grassy plains.
Sometimes these
valleys expand
out into beautiful
oval park-like
areas, which are
favorite resorts of
wild game, and
would be exceedingly desirable for settlements.
Emigrants would find here beautiful scenery,
pure air and water, and a mild and extremely
healthy climate. Cereals and roots could be easily
raised, and stock-raising could he made a source
of wealth to them and the whole community.

The Windmills of the Union Pacific




HUNTING IX THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS.



Railroad. The traveler notices with interest
the ever frequent windmills whicli appear at
every station, and are such prominent objects
over the broad prairies. They are used for sup-
plying the locomotives and station houses with
water. Probably no finer specimens exist in the

Ui.itedStatesthan
are found on the
lines of this road.
In these tanks
is a large hollow
globe floating in
the water. These
globes are so con-
nected with lev-
ers that when the
water has reached
a certain height,
the slats or fans
are thrown in line
with the wind, and
the machine stops.
As the water is
drawn off for Hip-
plying the locomo-
tives, the ball falls,
and the machine
is again put in mo-
tion. They are
thus self-regula-
ting and self-act-
ing. The water is
thrown up by a
forcing pump. A
curious fact may
be here mention-
ed. These tanks,
when closely cov-
ered, have thus far
proved that there
is enough caloric
in the water to
prevent it from
freezing.

If ind River
Mon it ta in s.
These mountains,
seen on the map
and just north of
the railroad, are



Online LibraryHenry T WilliamsPacific tourist : Adams and Bishop's illustrated trans-continental guide of travel, from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean : a complete traveler's guide of the Union and Central Pacific railroads → online text (page 15 of 62)