Current Edition

current edition

Within Next Few Years

the Saratoga Hot Springs

will be Recognized

as One of Greatest

Health Resorts in U.S.


Arrangements Being Considered

for Construction of Large Hotel


On the last day of the session, House Bill No. 225 introduced by Hon. Harry Hunter, providing for the purchase of the Saratoga Hot Springs by the State of Wyoming, passed the House by a unanimous vote and was sent to the Senate. The bill passed the Senate by a favorable vote of 16 out of 19 votes.

It is the plan of the administration to see that these springs are fully developed by leasing land for cottages and for hotels. Several prominent men have signified their intention of forming a corporation for the purpose of erecting a mammoth hotel and plunge at these springs. The Union Pacific railroad has promised that on all literature distributed by that
corporation the Saratoga Hot Springs will be strongly advertised.

The Saratoga Hot Springs will be developed and will be advertised as the only resort of the kind on the Lincoln Highway and the Union Pacific between Ogden and Omaha.

The entire Carbon County delegation deserves credit for the favorable consideration given this measure, but to Hon. H. A. Hunter belongs the greatest credit.

Mr. Hunter introduced this bill and from the very first was an active worker for it. It was solely due to the high regard and respect in which Mr. Hunter was held in the House that the measure passed that body-without a dissenting vote. It has been seldom that a measure such as this one has received a unanimous vote. The people of the Platte Valley owe to Mr. Hunter a debt of gratitude, which they can never repay.

Above were the headlines and an article in the Feb. 24, 1921, issue of the “Rawlins Republican.” Passage of the bill at the 1921 Wyoming Legislature established the Saratoga State Park, which, in later years, paved the way for the Saratoga Inn, Hobo Pool and Veteran’s Island ... but, then that’s another story to be told as we soak in the famous mineral hot springs.

A headline in a July 1917 issue of the “Saratoga Sun” reads, “Tourist Camp on Upper Brush Creek Nearly Complete – Will be Popular Place for Vacationists.” 

The story, in part, reads:

“Announcement has been made that Medicine Bow Lodge, the tourist camp of Sisson and Moore on upper Brush Creek will open to the public on Sunday...While some of the buildings connected with the camp will not be fully completed at that time, accommodations will have been provided for a considerable number of guests, and within  a few weeks every detail of the camp will be complete.

“The camp is located among most pleasant surroundings, the fishing in the adjacent streams is at its best, and it is likely that the camp will be largely patronized not only by tourists from other climes but by many of our home people, who will embrace the opportunity to make their headquarters at the lodge while on their week-end vacations and short outing trips.”

A feature article by Edna Paulson in the same issue of the paper notes:

“One day as I was walking in the mountains, I saw, much to my surprise, an American flag waving in the breeze like a beckon to come. Having nothing else to do, and as I was not lacking curiosity, I proceeded toward the place on a well-traveled road. It was not far, and soon I was close enough to discover that the flag was nailed in the top of a small quakenasp.

“I was approaching a grove of lofty pines and a few scattered quakenasps. In front rose a huge ridge running north and south, about six miles in length. The ridge was heavily timbered. At its base flowed a turbulent mountain torrent, in which I knew from experience lived some of the most delicious mountain trout. To my right flowed North Brush Creek, bordered by different varieties of trees. To the left rose forest-clad ridges and hills, through which Brush Creek had cut its basin. I was surrounded by hills on all sides.

“Presently I entered the forest. Beautiful columbines lifted their fragile faces from hedges of juniper, and delicate ferns grew close by the roadside. Other mountain flowers grew everywhere. I heard the roaring of Brush Creek mingled with the sighing of the pines overhead. Now I entered a beautiful driveway, sloping down to a unique, picturesque house built of logs. On either side were tents and tepees, and I wondered if I was entering a modern Indian encampment.

“After wandering about the Lodge for some moments, visiting living room, open air parlor and dining room, where pictures of sage chickens, fish and other game were hung on the walls and where the guests ate from white pine tables, I walked out of the door onto a rustic foot-bridge which crossed the roaring waters of Barrett Creek.

“A little path wound its way up the side of forest-covered Barrett Ridge. It was all so beautiful I could hardly believe it was real. In some places the path was cut through fallen logs, and in other places it dipped down into shady little nooks where birds sang and flowers bloomed unmolested.

“I returned to our camp quite enthused over Medicine Bow Lodge.”...but, then, those are memories for the next time we write.

“Medicine Bow Lodge will be an ideal place for city folks to spend summer outing,” reads a headline in a spring edition of a 1917 issue of the hometown newspaper. 

The article reads:

“Very similar in its appointments and purposes to the ‘dude camps’ or tourist resorts, which are found in various parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, in the vicinity of Yellowstone Park, will be the resort now planned by Sisson and Moore of Saratoga, to be known as Medicine Bow Lodge, which is situated in the Medicine Bow mountains some 18 miles from Saratoga.

“A large part of the timber necessary for construction of the camp has already been gotten out and plans of the various structures are now being prepared. It is expected that the construction contract will be let within the next couple of weeks and work on the buildings will be started just as soon as weather conditions will permit, the plan being to have the place ready for occupancy some time in July.

“The camp will consist of several large log buildings for offices, dining rooms, dancing pavilion, store rooms and various other purposes and 30 or more sleeping tents with floor and walls of lumber, together with other necessary structures which to make up a comfortable and home-like camp for the benefit of the eastern tourist or city dweller who feels ‘the call of the wild’ and looks for a place where he may spend a few days or weeks communing with nature among things primeval, outside the danger zone of automobiles, fire engines and street cars. For those who desire a still less metropolitan outing, the proprietors of the camp will furnish teams and camping outfits, and the city man who is sick and tired of all human companionship may thus journey on into the untracked wilderness and indulge his caveman propensities to his heart’s content.

“Medicine Bow Lodge will fill a long-felt want in this section, and it is a foregone conclusion that it will be largely patronized by people from Denver and other points in northern Colorado, as well as from a large territory in southern Wyoming. No other such resort can be reached by residents of this section without hundreds of miles of travel and but few of even the most celebrated of these camps afford the fine fishing, small game hunting and other sports and pleasures that will be found in close proximity to Medicine Bow Lodge.

“The construction work would have been in operation ere this but for the extremely backward season and the great amount of snow which obstructs all operations in the mountains. However, the work will be done with all possible speed and some of the roads are open and some of the snow out of the way, and the resort will be open for the tourist traffic during the coming summer and fall.”

The Medicine Bow Lodge remains open yet today and continues to cater to those who wish to answer the call of the wild and to spend time communing with nature year-round but especially the spectacular Indian Summer experienced each fall.

As hunting season approaches, this writer’s neck begins to swell, he is pawing the ground and is under a permanent restraining order to prevent him from sniffing the air. He also remembers great hunts of past years when he did a lot of bragging about the quality and quantity of big game in south-central Carbon County Wyoming surrounding Saratoga and Encampment. 

An article in the hometown newspaper in 1968 notes:

“When you want trophy mule deer, bear or pronghorn antelope, the upper North Platte Valley is evidently the place to hunt.

“Anyway that seems to be the conclusion a reader would draw from the results of the second annual big game records program competition conducted recently by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

“In the mule deer non-typical antlers class, the only two racks to qualify for the record book were harvested in the valley. First went to a set of horns taken by the late Sam Whitney in 1946 near Encampment, and the other was antlers entered by Alfred Hoffman of Mankato, Minn. The Minnesota man harvested his big buck near Saratoga Oct. 6, 1967.

“In the typical antlers category for mule deer, a buck killed on Blackhall Mountain by Richard L. Coose of Encampment placed fourth and a rack taken near here by Burton C. Bliss of Anchorage, Alaska was eighth.

“Big antelope were also harvested in this area. Bob Herbison of Cheyenne entered the fifth largest buck in the contest. The animal was shot north of Saratoga in 1955. The 11th place buck was harvested by Doyle Thompson in Sage Creek Basin Oct. 2, 1967.

“Last season was a record year for bear hunters in this area. The top four skulls entered in the contest came from the surrounding mountains. Don Nichols of Cheyenne killed the biggest bear on Kennaday Peak Oct. 14, 1967. The second place entry was harvested by William D. Behrends of Laramie near Crater Lake Oct. 12, 1967. Linda Serdiuk of Torrington bagged the third biggest bear on Kennaday Peak Oct. 14, 1967, and Joey Pirrung of Mesquite, Tex., shot the fourth place entry June 14, 1967 in the Encampment area.

“A total of 56 big game trophies scored high enough to be eligible for entry in the Boone and Crockett Club’s Record Book of North American Big Game. All of those listed above are now entered in the record book.

“Other valley hunters also made the record book with animals taken outside of the valley. They were Kenneth Swanson who bagged a big antelope south of Wamsutter and Paul Herring of Encampment who harvested a record mule deer Nov. 10 near Kemmerer.”

In our last Postcard, we explored the vast timber belt running south along the Upper North Platte River Valley in south-central Carbon County to North Park Colorado. This week we continue our journey north from near Walden, Colo., back up the valley to what is now I-80 highway.

A promotional article in Feb. 7, 1889 issue of “The Platte Valley LYRE,” the first newspaper in the Saratoga/Encampment area, expounds:

On reaching the North Park line, the Platte timber belt turns to the west and runs along the mountains marking the southern valley limits. In this western course, the belt leaves considerable timber on three creeks, Big Creek, Bear Creek and Little Beaver and fine growth on Big Beaver and Indian creeks. The Indian Creek timber is especially adapted to fencing purposes.

And now is reached the head of the Grand Encampment River, where the timber area is astonishing in its reach and general size of growth. Grand forests clothe this entire mountain region, extending to the head of Elk River and passing onward toward Middle Park. In the vicinity of the Grand Encampment canyon is a growth of yellow pine from which was obtained the material used in the building of the United States military post of Fort Steele.

From the Grand Encampment, the timber belt takes a northerly course, striking first in its new line of travel the head of Cow Creek, where the timber field is wide and ample.

By way of the head of Cow Creek is the road from Saratoga Hot Springs to the summer resort and the trout fishing of Battle Lake, around which lake the pine and spruce growth is also dense.

To the north of Cow Creek is Calf Creek, amid whose forest was lately located the saw mill of B.T. Ryan, the mill now running on Cedar creek on the opposite side of the Platte Valley. Next are reached the two Spring creeks, the most northern of which streams displays a fine timber supply.

With the next stream to the north, Jack Creek, the limit of the timber belt is reached, it here running out in the scattering quaking aspen motifs of the Savary slopes. Jack Creek is a stream of long mountain course, and its timber wealth is vast.

Thus is traced the path of the great timber belt of the Upper Platte region. It is indeed a rich resource. In its unlimited and exhaustless production are included white pine, a timber of excellent lumber character; yellow pine equaling the eastern product; black fir or balsam, valuable for shingles and sheeting; and quaking asp, useful for fencing and firewood.

To all of this extensive and varied timber growth access is convenient and easy. There is not one of all the timber clothed streams mentioned in this article which has not its mountain road hewed into the forest heart and as none of these stream exceeds 20 miles in length, it will be readily seen that the hauling distance is short.

The lumber future of the Platte Valley is great.