Hanna, Wyoming

The Lincoln Highway once took multiple routes through Hanna. Today the town is nearly bypassed via Highway 30 to the south.

The Lincoln Highway Association, 2012-20

Hanna’s history stems from the nearby ghost town of Carbon. When the Union Pacific Coal Mines at Carbon began producing less coal, surveyors began tracking down new potential sites. A location known as Chimney Springs appeared to be an ideal site. In 1888 a prominent Ohio politician and, Hanna namesake, Mark Hanna toured the new coal fields and pushed for the development of the new mines. [13]

Hanna’s population quickly grew as prospective miners from across the globe began traveling to Hanna for work. The diverse population of miners in Hanna is reflected in the work that the Hanna Basin Museum has done to document and preserve the history of the town and those buried in the cemetery. Click here to explore The Hanna Cemetery: From the Bottom of the Mine

In 1903, The town made headlines in newspapers across the state following an explosion at mine no. 1. The catastrophe killed 169 workers, and took 267 days off recovery to finalize the report by the State Mine Inspector. [14]

Laramie Boomerang no. 98 July 01, 1903, page 1. Wyoming Newspaper Project.

In 1932 a memorial was placed to honor those who lost their lives in the mine explosions. The memorial remains in the same location today on a hill that overlooks where mine No. 1 was. Though it is slightly out of sight on a dirt road off county road 72, It commemorative location also serves an esoteric purpose for the community members of Hanna.

“Dedication of Memorial to men killed in Hanna Mine explosion” (UPCCEM, Nov. 1932). From, Hanna Basin Museum.

Following the closure of mine no.1, Hanna experienced an increase in development including improved procedures and equipments in the mines. [13] This all came just in time for the delivery of the 1913 Lincoln Highway. The 1916 Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway includes a population of 2,000 in Hanna with one hotel and seven general business places.

1920 Labor Day Parade in Hanna, Wyoming

Wyoming State Archives, Department of State Parks and Cultural Resources

Despite the tremendous effects of the First World War, the town of Hanna would see major improvements to its infrastructure and social spaces. In 1916, “The first binding contract between the United Mine Workers of America and the Southern Wyoming Coal Operations was reached and became effective in the Hanna mines.” [13] This expanded the benefits for miners in Hanna, and may have contributed to the increases in economic and social spaces. Throughout the 1920s, Hanna would see the construction of a new high school gymnasium, church, hospital, and the implementation of numerous social and infrastructure programs such as a volunteer fire department and the high schools first football game. [13]

The post-war era offered a boom to the economy, but Hanna also sought to commemorate those who served. On July 4th, 1920, the town dedicated a monument to the veterans of WWI. The obelisk monument featured a cast bronze plaque that included the names of the one hundred and eleven soldiers who were involved in the war. [13]

Hanna World War I Monument dedicated July 4, 1920, Hanna Basin Museum

Rawlins Republican no. 28 July 08, 1920, page 7. Wyoming Newspaper Project

The obelisk sits off to the side of the road of the 3rd generation Lincoln Highway. in 2015 the plaque that listed the veteran’s names was stolen. As of 2019, “the citizens of Hanna are working on repairs to the monument and purchase of a new plaque.”[13]

To help support the Hanna Basin Museum their website and online museum can be found here.