Dr. Wilbur Knight

Professor Knight with Bones from an 1899 excavation.

Dr. Wilbur Knight served as the assistant territorial geologist of Wyoming (1886-87) and was appointed state geologist in 1898. He joined the University of Wyoming faculty in 1893, and in addition to his instructional responsibilities, served as curator of the Geological Museum.

Knight led many expeditions into the Wyoming heartland, famous for being one of the richest fossil regions in the United States. He was the leader of the 1899 Union Pacific Railroad Expedition in which railroad officials invited geologists and paleontologists from universities, colleges, and museums around the country to participate in a scientific expedition to Wyoming.

Under Knight’s direction, the University of Wyoming identified fossils unearthed by members of the group, and the Union Pacific Railroad transported them to their home institutions free of charge. Since then, the Geological Museum at the University of Wyoming has become a tremendous attraction in Laramie and an asset to Wyoming. Although Wilbur died rather young, his son Samuel “Doc” Knight, the legendary Wyoming geologist, later became the curator of the museum and expanded its scope.

Learn more about the history of Wilbur Wright and the University of Wyoming Geological Museum.