Sweetwater County Historical Museum

History of Sweetwater County Historical Museum

Excerpt taken from Sweetwater County Historic Museum

The current site of the Sweetwater County Historical Museum was first built in 1931 as the post office and first federal building in Green River. James A. Wetmore served as the supervising architect. It remained the post office until the new one was built in 1980. It then served as Trudel’s German Restaurant. It sat empty for several years before it was purchased and renovated by Sweetwater County to house the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in 2001. The museum contains a collection of several thousand artifacts, a large historical photograph collection, and local history research material.

Discover the rich cultural heritage of southwestern Wyoming at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum. Explore the stories of Native Americans, explorers, fur trappers, travelers of overland trails, railroad workers, coal miners, cowboys, sheepherders, homesteaders, business people, trona miners and oil and gas workers.

History of Sweetwater County

Sweetwater County’s history began long before written records. In prehistoric times the landscape was swampy and inhabited by great dinosaurs. Thousands of years later Native Americans, mostly Shoshone and Ute, claimed the land. The first white men moving through the area with regularity were the mountain men. The first Rocky Mountain Rendezvous was held in 1825 in Sweetwater County, as was a later gathering in 1834 that is said to have been the largest rendezvous ever.

Several major emigrant trails passed through the county including the Oregon, California, Mormon, Overland, and Cherokee Trails, as well as the Pony Express Trail, 1861 transcontinental telegraph line and Ben Holladay’s Central Overland Express stage line. Vitally important to the history of the county was the coming of the transcontinental railroad in 1868. This was instrumental in the creation and development of Sweetwater County’s two major population centers, Green River and Rock Springs. Green River was the major railroad town due to the nearness of a water supply, while Rock Springs became the coal mining center of the county.

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