The Tools of a Mountain Man – Priming horns, a J. J. Henry pistol and more atop a beaver pelt and a Hudson Bay blanket.
The Hudson Bay Company issued blankets to their fur traders who used them for trading with the various tribes. Most commonly they were white with colorful stripes. Red blankets were special gifts for the chiefs of the tribes.
Fur traders would trade their blankets, cloth, knives, tomahawks, beads and bobbles for the pelts and then sell the pelts to the company when they returned east. Many of the items they needed were carried in their “possibles” bag.
Learn more about the Hudson Bay blankets and more!
J. J. Henry pistols were a favorite among the American mountain men. J. J. Henry was a well-known Pennsylvania gun maker who supplied rifles and pistols to the American Fur Company.
Learn more about the Rocky Mountain Fur Traders and the J. J. Henry pistol.
Frank Leslie’s illustrated newspaper captured the sketch of women exercising their right to vote for the first time. It was published Nov. 24, 1888.
Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, later renamed Leslie’s Weekly, was an American illustrated literary and news magazine founded in 1852 and published until 1922.
Publisher and illustrator Frank Leslie provided weekly illustrations and reports of many historical news events including John Brown’s raid at Harpers Ferry and the Civil War, Spanish-American War and the First World War.
Learn more about Frank Leslie.
The Ames Monument is a large pyramid in Albany County, Wyoming, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and dedicated to brothers Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames, Jr. The brothers were Union Pacific Railroad financiers. The monument was built at a cost of $65,000 and completed in 1892.
The brothers garnered credit for connecting the nation by rail upon completion of the United States’ First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Oakes, a U.S. representative to the United States Congress from Massachusetts, asserted near total control of its construction, whereas Oliver became president of the Union Pacific Railroad (1866 – 1871). In 1873 investigators implicated Oakes in fraud associated with financing of the railroad. Congress subsequently censured Oakes, who resigned in 1873. He died soon thereafter.
Today, the Ames Monument is overseen by Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails
Learn more about the Ames Monument and the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in Wyoming.
Artist Alfred Jacob Miller’s watercolor titled “Breakfast at Sunrise” captured this image during the annual fur trader’s rendezvous held in the Green River Valley in Western Wyoming in 1837.
“At four o’clock in the morning, it is the duty of the last men on guard to loosen the horses from their pickets, in order to range and feed. At daylight, everybody is up;- our provisors are busy with preparations for breakfast;- tents and lodges are collapsed, suddenly thrown down, wrapped up, and bundled into the wagons. If the sun is 20 minutes above the horizon when our breakfast is finished, we conceive he has a reproachful look. By this time the horses are driven in, and each man hurries after his own, saddles or harnesses him, and the train puts itself en route.” A.J. Miller, extracted from “The West of Alfred Jacob Miller”
Miller’s watercolors are a unique record of the closing years of the western fur trade.
Learn more about Alfred Jacob Miller.
Hats made of beaver pelts became so fashionable in Europe 1550-1850 they created the profitable enterprise that led to the development of the American mountain man.
The Rocky Mountain Fur Company, originally known as Ashley’s Hundred, was organized in St. Louis, Missouri in 1822 by William Henry Ashley and Andrew Henry. Among the original employees were Kit Carson, Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith.
The popularity of the beaver hat declined in the early/mid-19th century as silk hats became the latest trend.
Learn more about the history of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and the part it played in Wyoming history.
In the late 1930s, as skiing became a national pastime, Laramie boasted a variety of small ski areas. Summit Tavern and Happy Jack were east of Laramie while Inspiration Point, Libby Creek and the current Snowy Range Ski area were located off Highway 130 to the west.
Shown here is an early ski lodge where skiers could come in from the cold to warm themselves and eat their lunches.
Today, only Snowy Range Ski Area still exists but is still a favorite place for local skiers and snowboarders.
Learn more about skiing in Snowy Range today.
In the late 1930s, as skiing became a national pastime, Laramie boasted a variety of local ski areas. Summit Tavern and Happy Jack were east of Laramie while Inspiration Point, Libby Creek and the current Snowy Range Ski area were located off Highway 130 to the west.
Rental skis were not available. You either owned a pair of skis or borrowed them. According to Judy Knight, a volunteer at the Laramie Plains Museum in her article titled “Origins of Skiing in Albany County,” investors from Kansas City signed a 30-year permit in 1959 with the Forest Service to operate a ski area at Nash Creek, which was originally called Medicine Bow Ski Area. It opened for the 1960-1961 season with two T-bars, a restaurant and warming lodge.
Although it has changed ownership since then, it is now known as the Snowy Range Ski Area and is still a favorite place for local skiers and snowboarders.
Learn more about the history of skiing and skiing today in Albany County.