VANISHED! The True Story of a Wyoming Ghost Town
The strangest part of this story is that folks in Park County Wyoming knew that this town was vanishing. They watched as the lower hills around it disappeared first.
Knowing what was coming, they took apart a few buildings and moved them to other towns and ranches. But they knew they were not going to be able to get everything.
Slowly, over a period of weeks, the town was swallowed up.
Old-timers will point down to where it was and talk about the quaint little place as if they had just walked the streets yesterday. Many who are still alive today had friends and relatives who lived down there.
Recent talk has been that the town might make a reappearance, if only for a short while. Maybe a year or two, then vanish again. But those who remember the old place say that is not likely. "The water will have to get a whole lot lower than it is now for us to see Marquette again."
Shoshone Dam was renamed Buffalo Bill Dam in 1946. At the base of the 82,900 cubic-yard concrete structure lies the remains of Wyoming's only underwater ghost town.
In 1878, three decades before Buffalo Bill put Cody on the map, George Marquette came to the Bighorn Basin. One of the first white settlers in the area, Marquette farmed and ranched along the confluence of the Shoshone River.
"Uncle George", as he was known to locals, established the Marquette post office in 1891 and served as the town's first postmaster, justice of the peace, and coroner. By the time the nearby town of Cody was founded in 1906, Marquette had a barbershop, dancehall, general store, schoolhouse, and saloon.
But Buffalo Bill had bigger plans. Cody wanted to build an irrigation dam at the North Fork and South Fork of the Shoshone. Unfortunately for the wild west showman, he ran out of money so he sold his land to the Bureau of Reclamation for the modern-day equivalent of $86,000.
After the Feds paid off other ranchers in the area, construction began on a road and a 325-feet-high dam. When it was completed in 1910, Shoshone Dam was the largest in the world. The road eventually became U.S. Highway 14, connecting Cody to the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park.