Remembering Casper’s Stone Ranch Stage Coach Station
Sometimes you drive right by a place not knowing that, what seems boring and unassuming now, was once a very important landmark.
Like an old Wyoming state coach station, once known to all, now forgotten.
The Stone Ranch Stage Station is a stagecoach station located near U.S. Routes 20 and 26 northwest of Casper, Wyoming.
A little of the old station still stands today.
Located on the plains west of Casper, the Stone Ranch Stage Station was constructed sometime around 1890.
The station connected Casper to Lander and Thermopolis.
The stagecoach station provided food and shelter to travelers along the stagecoach line.
Yeah, but was a bumpy ride, to say the least. Nothing comfortable about it. But it sure beat walking.
The stagecoach provided the primary means of bringing settlers and goods into central Wyoming.
The station operated from 1897 to 1902 under the guidance of John (Jack) Clark as one of several stops operated by the Clark family.
Until the railroad came along and put the stagecoach out of business.
The railroad was faster, more reliable, and a much smoother ride.
The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad extended its line further into central Wyoming in the early 20th century.
The Wyoming Central Railroad had laid rails from Nebraska into Wyoming reaching Lusk, Douglas, Glenrock, and Casper.
That made the stagecoach line obsolete and the station closed.
Some time later the railroad lost its passengers to the automobile and modern highways.
Stone Ranch Stage Station is one of the few Wyoming stagecoach stations that is still standing and relatively intact.
The station was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 1, 1982.
If this makes you wonder about stagecoach robberies, oh yeah, they happened.
In the video below you can hear about one of those famous outlaws and also see one of the few remaining stage coach stations in Wyoming.
A few of those old buildings still stand.
Today you can drive along the Stone Ranch Stage Station and long where the old railroad line used to be.
Artwork has been placed along the roads to remember what used to be normal sites out that way.
Pony Express riders in the middle of a handing-off mail.
A steel cutout of an old train where the tracks used to be from Casper to Shoshoni.
An Indian riding a horse shoots an arrow at a cowboy. The cowboy is riding behind him, pistol drawn, ducking, as an arrow flies over his head.
Who's doing all of this wonderful steel art along Wyoming's highways?
I had a chance to speak with the folks behind this artwork back when they started.
They called into Wyoming's talk show, Wake Up Wyoming, and explained what they had in mind.
Back then they only had one or two pieces up.
Today you can see their work all over Wyoming.
Look for more Western iron art across Wyoming.
According to the Glenrock Independent, there are soon going to be more iron cutouts of traditional Wyoming Western scenes, such as cowboys and settlers.
With a few exceptions most of this artwork, currently, is along one Wyoming highway.
Highway 26 between Casper and Shoshoni.
There are plans to plant a lot more across the state.
So keep looking as you drive.
HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN FIND THEIR CURRENT WORK.
A new iron silhouette cutout now graces Old Glenrock Highway, near Meadow Acres. It is a scene of settlers on covered wagons making their way across what we now fondly call Wyoming.
The nonprofit 307 First is working toward installing such scenes throughout the state. According to their website, "307 First drives awareness, advocacy and education around the importance of keeping funds local to help support and strengthen Wyoming-owned businesses and the Wyoming economy."
The idea of the 307 First project is to strengthen ties between local businesses. They want to do this through this iron silhouette project, across the state.
To date, 307 First has had more than a dozen organizations and contractors donate to the project.
The project is a heavy one. The wagon train scene in Meadow Acres is about 4,500 pounds worth of steel. Not all need to be that big, however. Just big enough to stand out and be seen, and perhaps become a conversation piece for residents and visitors.
The reason for so much steel was, in part, the look of it, but also because not much else can stand the test of time in Wyoming's weather extremes.
The Old Glenrock Highway sculpture came after a Western scene that was installed in downtown Casper.
307 First is now looking for local artists to submit designs as well as new sponsors and land owners of all kinds who would like to display a sculpture.
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Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods
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Gallery Credit: Glenn Woods