“Reclaiming our Past: Through a Look at a Ghost Town” is the theme of the Wyoming State Historical Society’s annual Trek, hosted by the Goshen County Historical Society, the weekend of June 14th. The focus will be on the abandoned Sunrise, Wyoming iron mine and ghost town.
From 1898 to 1980 Sunrise was an iron ore mine and company town operated by the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) in the high desert foothills of eastern Wyoming. Today, the site is a privately owned, 225-acre National Register Historic District, containing thirty-nine buildings, structures, foundations and landscape features representing eighty years of iron-ore mining. The site is surrounded by canyon walls on three sides. Red dust from the red ochre that accompanies the iron and copper deposits scattered throughout the area colors everything throughout the site, including the trees and buildings.
WSHS member, tour guide and property owner, John Voight, will give a walking tour of some of the remaining old buildings and mining sites, including the first YMCA in Wyoming, built in 1917. John’s tour will also include geology of the area and the economic significance of the mine to Wyoming. Historic mining artifacts and photos are on display in the “Y” and will be on exhibit for Trekees to view.
WSHS member and archaeologist Dr. George Zeimens, director of the Western History Center in Lingle will talk about the prehistoric portion of the Sunrise mine which, at 13,000 years old, is the oldest mine on the American continent. He noted that Clovis miners were using the iron to procure red ochre. The site includes a tool stone quarry where a unique type of stone material was procured for manufacturing stone tools. Both John and George will talk about their efforts to preserve and develop the historic values of the Sunrise sites.
These rare opportunities are just a taste of what to expect at this year’s Trek during the weekend of June 14th, and is open to anyone interested. Registration information and more details can be requested by contacting Linda Fabian at [email protected]