Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Casper, Natrona County, 1909

Another interesting item about transportation a century ago. From a recent Casper Star Tribune article, quoting the Natrona County Tribune of 1909.

"A Dozen Will be in Service During This Summer.

"... J. P. Cantillon, superintendent of the Wyoming & Northwestern railroad company, ... was the first of Casper's citizens to start the fashion. Mr. Cantillon owns a Pope-Toledo, 20 horse power. ... (T)o its use is due the fact that very few of the ranchers about here now have any teams that are afraid to meet an auto in the road. ...

"C. M. Elgin ... has a Chalmers-Detroit 30-horse power," which he drove to Casper after purchase. "The time made on the trip ... (was) eighteen hours and forty-five minutes from Denver.

" ... M. N. Castle (Shorty) owns a 20-horse power Reo . ... (He) deserves credit for a new mixture ... for fuel for his machine, but he only used it once, and says that he will never do so again if he can help it. ... (H)e ran out of gasoline and could procure no more, but the ranch where he stopped had plenty of coal oil. Shorty tanked up with the coal oil and the mixture ... sufficed to run him into town, a distance of twelve miles."

The Reo in question appears here.

J. V. Puleo, on this topic on the Society of the Military Horse website, posted an interesting photograph of a little newer Reo here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Transportation, Early 20th Century



Natrona County Tribune, 1909 A trip to write about -- "AN auto-stage line is to be established between Shoshoni and Thermopolis in the near future, and every editor in the state is hoping that the gasoline wagon will be in operation before the meeting of the Press association."

An item noted in today's Casper Star Tribune.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Niobrara County Courthouse



This is the Niobrara County Courthouse, one of the oldest courthouses still in use here. Perhaps its the oldest one still in use. Anyhow, this is an example of how they used to be.

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Postscript. 

Perhaps simply because this is one of the first posts that I did on this blog it has remained, for some reason, one of the consistently most viewed.  Anyhow, in checking back on it, I realized that I didn't post a link to the photo of this courthouse up on Courthouses of the West, our companion blog, in the main thread, although I did add it in a comment.

Also, since posting this, I've learned that at the time I posted this photo there were at least two, and probably three, courthouses then in use that are older than this one.  One of those, the Johnson County Courthouse, just went out of use, as a new courthouse has been built.  Another one, however, in Uinta County is much older than this one, having been actually built in the 1870s.

Transportation, late 19th Century


A modern highway map shows as distance of 211 miles from Worland, in the southern half of the basin, to Rawlins, and 293 miles from Cody to Green River, but modern transportation systems are not remotely like those of 1879. In practical terms, Green River and Rawlins were further from the Big Horn Basin in 1879 than they are now from Outer Mongolia, and criminal prosecution was nearly impossible.

There were no roads leading south from the basin, only trails. At least one yearly trip to the Union Pacific had to be made, though, because in the early 1880s this was the nearest railhead, the only real opening to a market to sell cattle and get supplies. E. W. Copps declared that the cattle drive from Buffalo to Rawlins, a trip that did not require a traverse of mountains, took eighteen days. Coming from the basin, however, a cattle owner first had to get out, and any exit required going over an 8,000-foot pass, such as Birdseye Pass or Cottonwood Pass; thus, David John Wasden's estimate of six weeks for a round trip seems about right. Of course, the return trip, when cattle were not being driven, did not take as long but was still arduous. Owen Wister describes a 263 mile excursion from Medicine Bow "deep into cattle land," a trip taking several days by wagon, while "swallowed in a vast solitude." His description sounds like a journey north into the Big Horn Basin.
Goodbye Judge Lynch, by John W. Davis.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lex Anteinternet?


The Consolidated Royalty Building, where I work, back when it was new.

What the heck is this blog about?

The intent of this blog is to try to explore and learn a few things about the practice of law prior to the current era. That is, prior to the internet, prior to easy roads, and the like. How did it work, how regional was it, how did lawyers perceive their roles, and how were they perceived?

Part of the reason for this, quite frankly, has something to do with minor research for a very slow moving book I've been pondering. And part of it is just because I'm curious. Hopefully it'll generate enough minor interest so that anyone who stops by might find something of interest, once it begins to develop a bit.