Vernon, after feeding his share of the cows, returned home Sunday morning and suggested we go for a drive. The day was gorgeous, full of sunshine and a warmth that promised that spring is on her way here. (She’s just packing her suitcase slowly and is uncertain about her arrival date. Obviously, since it snowed 4″ today!)
I was agreeable, and we decided to head to Thermopolis to eat lunch. Worland is pitiful when it comes to Sunday lunch (barring fast food). I even checked online to see if the Mexican restaurant was supposed to be open – it was!
Well, after an hour and a half drive, it WASN’T.
We decided to try out the new Kirby Creek Mercantile which has just opened. It was a busy place.
We decided to tour some more around Thermopolis after lunch. There’s always a few places I’d like to check out if given the time, which happens rarely! I wasn’t prepared for such an outing… I’d have gathered history books or looked things up on the internet beforehand if I’d known we were going exploring! AAAAAHHHH…
We first drove down Black Mountain Road. It’s used for access to the oil field and grazing allotments. It was very interesting to us to see the Big Horn Basin from this southern perspective. The photo below shows an old cabin and some more interesting country we’ll check out in the summertime!
I voted for checking out the old town of Gebo, so we retraced our route and went a couple more miles further north. While we had cell service, I looked up a few things about the ghost town of Gebo. Coal mining started in the area in the late 1880’s. Non-existent on the census of 1900, by 1907 the area was described as “vibrant”. While technically the mining was over by 1938, Vernon remembers coming to Gebo to get coal with Johnny. Johnny still has a coal fired furnace in his house. That would have been in the 1960’s. In 1971, Wyoming decided the town and mine were “unsafe” and undertook measures to close entrances and tear down buildings. There’s an interesting side note about that I’ll mention later.
When you drive by on the access road, the remaining stone houses are reminiscent of Stonehenge.
Without the skyline to silhouette them, the closer you approached, the more the houses blended with the surroundings like a shy girl who ducks her head and lowers her eyes so as not to be noticed.
Made from the local sandstone, these seven houses were made with impressive talent. The stones were cemented together then covered with a stucco inside and out. Set on a gentle curve, they a followed the basic same pattern.
Some blocks show excessive weathering. Some remain unchanged.
The bolts on top would have held the boards that the rafters would have been nailed onto.
Oh, I have lots more photos… and a movie I’m working on… and some pretty shots as the sun set.
For historical photos of Gebo, Hot Springs County Museum has a great collection.
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