Wyoming AHGP
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Characteristics ~ Climate ~ Agriculture ~ & More

Altitude and Climate

Laramie City has an altitude of "7,170" feet above the level of the sea, which necessarily gives a light, dry and healthy atmosphere; foggy, damp weather being entirely unknown in this locality, to the oldest inhabitant. We have pleasant summers, and mild winters. Very little snow falls on the Laramie Plains. A snow to the depth of one foot is a great surprise, and that very rarely lasts three days. The temperature is remarkably even. The thermometer very seldom indicates higher than 85 degrees in summer, and very few times does it get below zero in winter. There are not probably ten days during any winter in this valley that it does not thaw for several hours during the middle of the day. But we have within the borders of our Territory the climate of all seasons at all times. Points whence we may behold at a single glance the majesty, the fury, the gentleness, the beauty, and the desolation, spread before us like a vast immovable panorama. There are nooks in the mountains where eternal snows, spring flowers and ripening fruits may be seen within an area of a few feet. Again while we have in some of our mountain parks and valleys a climate equal to that of Maine, we have as a counterpart in the Wind River and numerous other valleys in the North Western part of our territory a climate equal to that of South Carolina, and a soil far superior.

Scenery

Here, tongue and pen alike fail to convey any adequate impression to one who has not seen and felt the grandeur, sublimity and illimitable vastness of a view from the Rocky Mountain peaks. As the traveler leaves behind the valley of the Missouri and is whirled rapidly over the plains, a feeling comes over him that he is leaving the old world that has hitherto held him a prisoner, and gradually rising higher and higher to a new and loftier sphere. New types of plants and animals appear; antelope and buffalo bound over the plains with no shelter or hiding place except in the vastness of their realm. The gaze wanders north and south, but finds no resting place. At length towards the setting sun, white clouds seem to start from the horizon towards the sky, which take shape as we approach, and at last we see the snowy range, rising like a leviathan, stretched from pole to pole, whose huge ribs are clad in dark evergreen, and whose frosty crown has dared the summer's sunshine for centuries, and yet maintained an immutable, un-melting coldness. We penetrate the canons and find strange, rare and beautiful flowers clinging to the rude abrupt cliffs which overhang the dashing, foaming torrents beneath. Strength and beauty mingle in magnificent disorder. We are in a flower garden and by a fountain which nature made and walled in, in one of her wild, weird moods. It is the sculpture of the Great Artist, executed in bas-relief, and with our ever varying emotions, we fancy we stand in a recess of His studio, and with breathless awe await His presence. We ascend some lofty peak and a world of mountain, valley, stream and plain surround us on every hand. The inspiring grandeur kindles the drowsy adoration in our souls, and we involuntarily worship. The view is indescribable; the emotions awakened inconceivable. It is only by seeing that a true conception of the view can be gained; and to him that has seen, how puny seem all the monuments and structures which the hand of man has reared.

Where will you find in the broad world such grand, beautiful scenery as surrounds us at Laramie City? Our sunsets, painted by nature's own Great Artist, display such gorgeous colors, and reveal such imponderable touches of light and beauty, mellowed with ten thousand rays of the golden sun, that the very soul is entranced and spell-bound.

Grazing and Agriculture

Through the Laramie Plains run four beautiful streams, viz: the Big and Little Laramie rivers. Rock Creek, and Medicine Bow Creek, all of them streams large enough to float ties, timber, lumber, and fencing material iron immense forests of pine and spruce which cover the entire mountain region west of us. And while we were for a time eclipsed by the great work of our government in the construction of our national highway, the Union Pacific railroad, for the development of this country, we need but look for a moment at nature's own provision in furnishing this vast store of wealth, together with the much cheaper water transportation of the same to our very doors, to see how futile and insignificant is man's wonderful enterprise. In addition to those streams mentioned, there are scores of smaller streams and tributaries available for stock water and irrigating purposes. Throughout the great Northwest no place can be found of an equal area which com-bines as many advantages for stock raising as the Laramie Plains. The uplands being covered with a short dry looking bunch grass, very nutritious, and upon which stock will fatten winter or summer. The low lands furnish all the necessary hay for domestic stock; while the foothills furnish shelter and feed during storms.

Immense herds of cattle and horses, numbering away up into thousands, have for years roamed on these plains and adjacent foothills, increased and grown fat, without great portions of them being seen, except at what the stock-growers call the "annual round-up," which occurs every spring, when all unite and bring all stock together, where each owner "cuts out," counts and brands his herd, including his portion of the increase.

Sheep raising is also becoming a source of great interest and a grand success; there being over twenty thousand head now owned in this county, as shown by the last assessment roll.

The words of Horace Greeley, with regard to this Rocky Mountain region, "that it cost no more to raise a cow than it did to raise a chicken," are emphatically true in this locality.

We have one impediment to agriculture, and that is lack of rain; but this obstacle is being removed, by the construction of irrigating ditches; and experience teaches that this method renders a crop more certain than trusting to the rains, even in rainy regions, for there they have their wet seasons and their droughts approaching at times almost to famine as we know by personal experience of the wet seasons of Iowa and the droughts of Kansas. In all rainy regions we find plain, plodding farmers who sow their seed "trust to luck, stare fate in the face" and reap their harvest whatever it may be without a glow of triumph. While here in the absence of such showers an equivalent, yea more, must be supplied. We construct our irrigating ditches, conveying the water from the streams out on the high lands, thereby redeeming immense tracts of land as it were from the desert, and render the same green and fertile by such means. We sow our seed and at proper times raise a gate, furnish our soil with as much water as is necessary for the growth of our crop; close the gate, and the water passes on its mission of redemption to gladden the heart of the next man; and so on to all who will partake of its redeeming powers. And we reap our harvest with a glow of pride that our neighbors over the Missouri never feel. This is one instance of the triumph of energy and skill over the adverse elements; and we feel a triumph worthy of pride in the actor and admiration in the spectator.

At least one million acres of the land of this great valley are susceptible of a high state of cultivation and will produce as great a yield per acre, of roots and vegetables, and most of the cereals as any place on this Continent. All the tame grasses grow luxuriantly here, by irrigation.

P. G. Murphy, has grown, right within the limits of our city, hundreds of bushels of Swedish turnips; each single turnip would weigh from five to twenty eight pounds, a great many of which have been shipped to different parts of the country by parties who, like ourselves, were loth to believe their own eyes when first beholding these wonderful vegetables.

Potatoes and onions are also very profitable and yield wonderfully.

The land of these plains is now all surveyed and in market ready for settlement.

Large Springs of Water

The foot-hills all around us abound in large springs of the purest water, a series of which break forth from their rocky fountain in the Black Hills at a distance of less than three miles from our city, forming a beautiful brook which runs through the town, sending its branches through all the Streets, beautifying them, and promoting the growth of trees and shrubbery, which are already extensively cultivated.

Lime, Building Stone, and Gypsum

On the east side of our city, commencing at a distance of one mile and extending to the Black Hills, just beneath the surface, are found immense beds of the finest building stone, including stratified lime and sandstone, while all around us, near the foothills, are large beds of gypsum, of a fineness equal to that of any part of the world.

Plumbago and Kaolin

South of Laramie City, at a distance of eleven miles, is found a strata of pure kaolin, the largest deposit and of the finest quality of any yet found in the United States; discovered and owned by N. K. Boswell of this city, which in connection with the vast deposits of graphite (or plumbago,) found in the Black Hills, is undoubtedly soon to become a great source of wealth. Situated as it is in the midst, almost centrally, of the great mining region of the Rocky Mountain, where there is such a wonderfully increasing demand for crucibles, fire-brick and furnace lining that will stand the test or heat required for the smelting of our refractory ores. And from our own observation and experience we venture the opinion that graphite and kaolin, combined in proper proportions, will afford the cheapest and most durable furnace lining now in use. Again, with such a deposit of kaolin as this, we may soon reasonably expect large manufactories of Porcelain and Queensware to be erected in our vicinity, and our city becomes the known rival of Philadelphia in the manufacture of these wares.

Soda

At a distance of from seven to eleven miles south-west of Laramie City, are found a series of deposits of soda; all except one of which, by analysis, are nearly pure sulphate of soda, (glauber salts). The one exception containing fifteen per cent, of borate of soda, fifteen per cent of nitrate of soda, sixty-five per cent of sulphate of soda, and the remaining five per cent, being lime, magnesia, and earthy matter. This analysis made from the dry salt, after losing the water of crystallization in which it is found. A company has been formed under the name of the "Wyoming Soda Company," by capitalists in St. Louis, Missouri, and works are to be erected in Laramie during the year, A. D., 1875, for the manufacture of carbonate and bi-carbonate of soda, with a capacity to manufacture ten tons of the bi-carbonate per day. This resource and enterprise will be of no small importance to our city,

Coal and Iron

Wyoming is already well known as the coal region of the west; more than one-half the surface of our territory is underlain with beds of bituminous and lignite coal of splendid quality, a great many of which are of almost fabulous thickness, furnishing a supply of fuel sufficient to support an immense population for centuries, in fact inexhaustible.

Again, at a distance of twenty miles from Laramie City, north-east, we have the Iron Mountain District, a large district containing mountains of iron ore in quantities and of a fineness surpassing anything of the kind this side of the Alleghenies. In short, our territory so abounds in coal and iron, that situated as we are, almost in the center of the great west, where an immense demand for these minerals is rap-idly springing up, and where we shall have an inexhaustible market at our very doors, and on all sides of us, this one resource alone will, when developed, make Wyoming to the west what Pennsylvania is to the east. Developments already made both in coal and iron, bear us out in this assertion.

 

Source: History and Directory of Laramie City, Wyoming Territory, By J. H. Triggs, Laramie City: Daily Sentinel Print, 1875.

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