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In our last “Postcard,” we plunged into the reporting of the April 1927 issue of a recently launched newspaper appropriately called “The Big Horn Hot Springs Health Reporter.” It aggressively promoted “The Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs” and the Town of Thermopolis. Here’s what the paper said about the home of “America’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs:”

Dr. and Mrs. E.B. Sturges are our very new arrivals at the Springs. The Doctor has entered into practice and will be the House Physician at the Washakie Hotel and Baths. We have interviewed the Doctor and find him to be of the latest and modern school of his profession, that he has supreme faith in the efficacy of our thermal mineral waters.

Mrs. Sturges expresses her pleasure at being with us and gives us her ‘First Impressions of Thermopolis,’ as follows: “During the time I have lived in Wyoming, at various times I have noticed the pamphlets and articles advertising the city of Thermopolis with its Mineral Hot Springs, the largest and most attractive in the world, and I am pleased to find that it cannot be too highly advertised.

“A tourist coming into this resort either via train or auto may not be so favorably impressed with the surrounding country, with its barren hills and vast acreage of sand and sagebrush, but Thermopolis can be likened unto an oasis in a desert. The fertility of the valley in which it is located surrounded by these beautiful red shale hills, with their peculiar cliff rock formation, makes a most attractive setting. The hot springs with their beautiful colorings and terraces are very similar to those in Wyoming’s National Park.

“The city is very attractive with its exclusive ready-to-wear shops, its decidedly modern form of architecture, wide streets and, last but not least, is the pretty drive out to Washakie Hotel, which is ideally located in the heart of the springs – the outstanding feature of this hotel is that the guests enjoy the comforts of home. We are just one big family.

“I am indeed very favorably impressed with the resort and am glad to know that it is going to be my future home.”

Thermopolis is depicted as a great town filled with delightful folks, including the following:

Inimitable ‘Scotty’

“Scottie,” Mr. James Brown, the man with more friends who love him for his kindness and attention to them while sick, than any other man in Wyoming, was in to our office a few days ago, and it was good medicine just to hear his “Lauder” brogue and feel the warm clasp of his hand.

Scottie is a real Scotchman. When properly inspired, he sings, something like Harry Lauder – that is the same songs – and we think his tongue is just as thick, his brogue just as broad and rich, and his intention to please fully as well evidenced by his effort. No Scotchman would ever be able to hold up his head if he were accused of giving away any worldly goods, but Scottie gives more than one in thousands, all the time – Scottie gives human kindness. There can be no greater gift than this. The Master preached it. All of mankind loves it. The truth of the latter assertion can be easily established by staying at the Washakie Hotel for a few weeks. Always among the first inquiries made by an incoming guest is if Scottie is still here, and the answer has been yes, now, for 14 years.

At least a dozen more stories touting Thermopolis and its great hot springs appear in the 1927 publication . . . but, then, that’s for next time we write.

Since this week’s “Wyoming Livestock Roundup” is featuring Hot Springs County in its Fall Cattlemen’s Edition, it seems appropriate to pass along some historical information we discovered on the internet – so it must be true, right?

Here’s just a small part of the valuable information discovered in the April 1927 issue of “The Big Horn Hot Springs Health Reporter,” published in Thermopolis. I cannot guarantee its accuracy, but it sure makes for interesting reading. Enjoy:

That the World May Know

The State of Wyoming came into possession of the Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs and the one-mile square upon which they are located, known as the Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve, in 1897. From 1897 to 1915 nothing worthy of attention had been done toward development or improvement of the Reserve, except the building of a light steel bridge across the Big Horn River. From 1915 until 1921, appropriations were made by the Legislature, which permitted the construction of water mains for both cold and hot water, the construction of a state-owned bathhouse, the laying out and development of landscape work. Since 1921 and until the present time, appropriation have been made practically for maintenance only and the progress of the reserve as a state property of inestimable value help up just this length of time.

No effort has ever been made by the state of Wyoming to advertise these wonderful springs until 1925 when a state folder was issued for distribution.

We are constantly criticized for the fact that the general public is not familiar with the wonderful results of bathing and drinking these mineral waters. Thousands of people have been cured here of rheumatism, chronic stomach trouble, nervous diseases, blood diseases and skin diseases. These waters accomplish without medicine and without that fearful knife of surgery, the most remarkable results. Our friends have been our advertising medium, telling from their hearts the stories of their cures.

Once each month, this little paper will bring to you the stories of your friends who have been here and are willing and anxious to spread the word regarding the marvel of nature’s most effective remedy, water from the Big Horn Mineral Hot Springs.”

The publication notes,

A bath in the Big Horn Hot Springs Mineral Waters is a joy to which every citizen of Wyoming is entitled. These marvelous springs are owned by the state and state money is being spent to develop them.

If you have a friend who is ill of rheumatism, stomach trouble, neuritis, eczema, paralysis, high blood pressure, blood disease, send his or her name to the "Health Reporter" and advise consultation with our Health Department. Consultation is free.

Personal accounts of the miracles of the healing waters also appear throughout the paper, including,

O.V. Shull of Parkerton, Wyoming, has discarded his crutches and again walks as a man should after the most severe attack of inflammatory rheumatism of his life . . . but, then, that’s a cure for the next time we plunge into this hot subject.

This is Alkali Ike I’m tellin’ about.

He works for the A Bar A.

In summer, he hazes little doggies about.

In winter, he forks out their hay.

 

In color, Ike’s hair is a strawberry roan,

His face is as freckled as sin.

He’s long and lank and limber and lean,

With a devilish cleft in his chin.

 

In straddlin’ a bronc or twirlin’ a rope,

Was he good, Pard? I’m tellin’ a man!

If he couldn’t scratch both head and the tail,

There’s nary a puncher who can.

 

Now this Alkali Ike was a keen judge of stock

As ever rode out on the range.

He could squint at a steer, guess at his weight

And hand back a nickel in change.

 

At spottin’ a horse or selectin’ a bull,

He was good as ever you’ll find;

But when it came to pickin’ a girl,

The poor fool! He must have gone blind!

 

Ike married a gal named Sally O’Moore.

She came up from Medicine Bow.

She was shy as a colt, just ready to bolt,

All cinched up and ready to go.

 

She was balky and stubborn with a wild roving eye

To lead she just could not be broke

She was skittish and snorty and tricky and mean

A rearin’, right back on the rope!

 

Poor Ike! He got stung like a bee on the nose.

His range knowledge betrayed him somehow,

For it was Ike, himself, who got halter broke

And hitched right up to the plow!

  “Maude Wenonah Willford was the valley’s true historian,” according to an article in the 1976 issue of the Bicentennial edition of a publication called “Early History of Saratoga and Vicinity,” in which this poem was published, and compiled by the Saratoga Historical and Cultural Association history committee. She was born in 1881 and was a true and loyal Wyomingite well known for her western verse and manuscripts. When a friend died, she was ready, with pen in hand, to write . . . but, then that’s another story.

A party of fishermen enjoying a three-day float on the Platte over the weekend “camped out” on the river bank a few miles below town Monday night, though they camped a little more ruggedly than they had planned to.

The party, using two boats, and including Gil. Blumenthal, Bob Perue and his sons Richard and Norman of Saratoga and Sam Bromguard, Vern Jewell and Walt Carstaors of Greeley, Colo., embarked Monday morning from Pick Bridge below town. They had planned to “dock” at the old Overland Trail crossing to camp for the night, but some how missed their station, and some time later pulled in at Savage corrals.

Jimmie Perue and his brother Ronald had gone to meet them at the crossing, with food and bedrolls. When dusk came, however, the boat had failed to appear, so the boys ate their supper and rolled out their beds. In the morning, suspecting what had happened, they drove to the corrals, where they found the boaters had camped, sans coats, bedrolls or food.

After a hearty breakfast, however, and with still un-dampened spirits, the anglers embarked on the last leg of their trip to the Ft. Steele Bridge. At the corrals, Jimmie and Ronald Perue joined the fishermen, and Richard and Norman brought the truck back to town.

The first lap of the three-day trip was made Sunday from Saratoga to Pick, and all returned to town for the night. The fishermen said the float was an enjoyable one, in spite of their lack of bedrolls, and the fishing was good.

(Bob says he is planting a flag at the old trail crossing soon.)

A news item in the Aug. 12, 1953 issue of the hometown newspaper reported this mishap of local fishermen who were treating their out-of-town friends to a three-day float/fishing trip on the headwaters of the Upper North Platte River.

Youngsters in this area usually learned to row the flat-bottom wooden boats on the river as early as 12 years old. By that age, most were already seasoned fishermen and responsible enough to handle floating the river.

My dad, Bob Perue, would usually take two of us boys in the boat with each of the three of us fishing for an hour and rowing for a 30-minute interval. As my brothers and I – and sometimes even the neighbor kids – became more proficient operating the boat, dad would then start skipping his turn and allow us to fish for an hour and row for an hour while he fished full-time and gave instructions on how and where to guide the boat.

To this day, at the age of 80, I still love to float the river, row most of the time, fish a little, tell a few tales and teach the kids, grandkids and great-grand kids how to navigate the mighty Platte.

With forest fires spotted around the state, we are featuring the lookout towers and the persons who manned them. Part two of the story, “Lookout Towers of the Snowy Range and Sierra Madres,” follows:

In a 1912 report written by Medicine Bow National Forest Supervisor C. M. Granger, it was noted that, “For the detection of fire on the Medicine Bow, there has been built up a system of what are known as primary, secondary and tertiary lookouts.

“Primary lookouts are points from which unusually large area are readily visible; on which a man is stationed throughout the season of fire danger; and which are connected directly by telephone with the supervisor’s office and the rangers headquarters.

“Secondary lookouts are somewhat less prominent points on which lookout towers are built; which are visited each day by the ranger or his assistant during the fire season; and which have telephone connection …”

“Tertiary lookouts are high points having no tower or telephone lines which are visited by the ranger or patrolman in dangerous periods.

“On the Medicine Bow there is one primary lookout, four secondary ones, and a large number of tertiary’s. These lookouts collectively cover almost every nook and corner on the forest, and it is only the very deep canyons or narrow gulches, which do not expose themselves to view from one of these points.

“The primary lookout point is on top of the Snowy Range. This Range is about seven miles long, and by visiting three peaks within a mile of each other at the highest part of the range, the lookout man can look down on 80 percent of the forest area.

“The lookout man lives at the foot of the range in a little cabin on the shore of Lookout Lake. Each morning about seven o’clock, unless it is raining or so foggy as to obstruct the view, he climbs from his cabin to the top of Medicine Bow Peak, the highest point on the range, 12,005 feet. From here, he scans through nine-power binoculars all the north end of the forest. After making sure as to the presence or absence of suspicious smoke in the vicinity he proceeds south along the top of the range about half a mile to another high point known as Lookout Peak and repeats the search for smoke on other portions of the forest. Then, to make his observations complete, he goes to another point still further south which commands especially well the southwest corner of the forest.

“On top of the range immediately above the lookout man’s cabin, and about midway between his three lookout points, there is an iron box telephone set … which puts the lookout man in touch with all the ranger headquarters.

“It takes Miller, the lookout man, 40 minutes to climb to the first peak and about an hour for him to make the complete round of the three points. So, within less than two hours in the morning eight-tenths of the forest has been minutely examined for signs of fire. The watch is kept up throughout the day, and a fire could not start and gain any headway at all without almost instant discovery by Miller.”