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South Pass City, WY

 

By

Gary B. Speck

 

 

SOUTH PASS CITY is located in Fremont Co., five miles southwest of Atlantic City, which is several miles south of SH 28 at a point 29 miles southwest of Lander.

 

In 1842 gold was originally discovered in the South Pass of the Rockies, but it wasn't until 1866 when gold was rediscovered in the South Pass by a group of former soldiers that word leaked out about their find, and the ensuing gold rush to the Sweetwater Mines added thousands of residents to the state by 1868.  Some 4000 folks flocked to the Sweetwater Mines, and its several mining camps.  One of them, South Pass City acted as the county seat of Sweetwater County from 1868_1873. 

 

One of the more famous residents was claimed to be Calamity Jane.

 

The half mile long main street was lined with one and two story commercial buildings housing such businesses as saloons, stores, saloons, restaurants, saloons, etc.  Within a year the population had fallen to 100, and South Pass City was nearly a ghost town.  The new, but unoccupied buildings supported the population well!  Most of the miners had drifted off to Green River and other railroad boomtowns to find work, as the mines had basically been declared a Humbug.

           

Over time they paid off, but never in the quantities that they originally were hoped to.

           

The most famous historical incident occurring here was a political tea held in the home of Esther Hobart Morris.  Both candidates for the state legislature appeared, and they both promised that if elected they would make it legal for women to vote.  Democrat William H. Bright kept his promise.

           

The east end of the town was purchased by the State of Wyoming in 1967, preserving the old town as a State Historic Park.  It is free, although the museum will accept donations.  About 25 buildings have been restored. 

           

West of the restored part of town another dozen or so still occupied buildings serve the remaining populace.

 

 

·        Latitude: 42.4682883 / 42° 28’ 06” N

·        Longitude -108.7998360 / 108° 47’ 59” W

·        N½ of the SE¼ Sec 20, T19N, R100W, 6th Principal Meridian

 

This was our GHOST TOWN OF THE MONTH for February 2004.

 

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FIRST POSTED:  February 07, 2004

LAST UPDATED: November 17, 2012

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