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Postcard from the Past - Typical Wyoming Pioneer Town

Written by Dick Perue

The state of Wyoming was just a decade old and new towns were springing up all over the country with most issuing glorious epistles about virtues and potential.

Although the following article features “Riverside, Wyoming” in the Dec. 25, 1901, issue of the “Saratoga Record,” it could apply to most Cowboy State pioneer towns established about that time.

In part, the newspaper expounds:

“A few facts concerning the history of this prosperous little town may be of interest to the readers of The Record. The writer will not attempt to dwell upon the scenic beauty of the locality or upon the favorable climatic conditions.

“This town is situated on the west side of Encampment river, about one mile north of the town of Encampment and about one-quarter mile from the Boston-Wyoming Smelter. It lies in the center of ranch and mining country. East, west and north, the valley is dotted with prosperous ranches. On the south, roads and trails run off in many directions to the various mines.

“It is on the main thoroughfare to North Park (Colorado)and all the principal mines in the district. A steady stream of traffic daily passes through this town. Supplies for Encampment, mine and smelter supplies and machinery, all pass through this town.

“It is 20 miles from Saratoga, 26 miles from New Rambler, 35 miles from Pearl, 10 miles from Downington, 14 miles from Battle and 20 miles from Osceola.

“It has a population of over 200 law-abiding and progressive citizens, who always give a hearty welcome to desirable acquisitions to the rapidly growing population.

“Excellent water can be found here at a depth of from four to 35 feet. Stages arrive from and leave daily for all principal points.

“This town was laid out as Doggett four years ago and later changed to Riverside. The first addition was made in 1900, and the second addition in 1901. Real estate has doubled in value in the last year. It is a most desirable location for the miner, prospector, ranchman, businessman, professional man, sportsman or health seeker. The town park, which is laid out on the tree-bordered banks of the Encampment River, promises to became a modern Eden.

“The town has two hotels and a restaurant, all of which furnish first-class accommodations. Three saloons furnish the beverage that maketh the heart glad, and two grocery and general stores furnish the necessaries of life at reasonable prices. The ring of the blacksmith’s hammer and sound of the carpenter’s hammer may be heard at all hours of the day. Buildings in course of erection and others near completion may be seen in every direction.

“Much more could be said of this progressive burg, but for the writer’s fear to press upon the valuable space of The Record, so we will close by giving a list of the business houses.”

The weekly newspaper went on to list the businesses complete with a blurb of each, but then, that’s another “Postcard.”