Wyoming Stories

Inspired by the 2013 StoryCorps visit to Cheyenne, Wyoming Stories captures history through the memories of those who live here. Over the years, Wyoming Public Media has had the privilege to record stories at various events around the state that capture a full panorama of what it means to live in Wyoming.

 

Since its inception, Wyoming Stories has grown with a statewide oral history collecting campaign in 2014 and 2015 and a StoryCorps visit to Jackson in 2018. The rich history of the state is best preserved by the people who know it firsthand, and this project would not be possible without their support.

Click on each initiative to learn more: StoryCorps in Cheyenne | Wyoming Stories Statewide Initiative | StoryCorps in Jackson

The Wyoming Stories project has also been supported over the years by the following groups and organizations: The Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund, ReMax Capitol Properties, Cheyenne Light, Fuel, and Power, Century Link, The Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Center of Wonder, Teton County Library, The Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Ryan Janek Wolowski via Flickr

Now residents of Buffalo Valley on the border of Grand Teton National Park, BJ and Marius Hanford danced on Broadway in New York City for many years before moving West. Marius recalls what it was like to go from being a military man to learning ballet. The couple shares stories of their love of dance and of one another.

Rebecca Huntington

Chef Eric Bartle and girlfriend, Sara Kundelius, moved in the dead of winter from Portland, Oregon, to Turpin Meadow Ranch. The guest ranch is nestled at the end of the Buffalo Valley Road, on the edge of the Teton Wilderness, one of the most remote places in the Lower 48 states.

The couple loves to forage for locally grown foods and brought with them a supply of homemade jarred and canned delicacies to incorporate into the ranch’s menu. They share stories about that first trip to the ranch and their passion for home and forest-grown food.

Rebecca Huntington

Singer-songwriter Beth McIntosh and her son, Rainer McIntosh-Round, who live in Wilson, Wyoming, share stories about surviving moose and bone-chilling temperatures living in the cowboy state. McIntosh also reflects on her Scottish immigrant roots.

Rebecca Huntington

Wilson, Wyoming residents Pat Hardeman and Ireen Steeg share memories of Earl Hardeman, Pat’s husband and Irene’s uncle. Earl grew up on a homestead in Kelly, Wyoming, which later became part of Grand Teton National Park. They talk about the isolation of growing up in Kelly and the challenges of daily routines, such as getting to school.

wyoarts.state.wy.us

When David Romtvedt first moved to Wyoming, his profession as a poet made him immediately suspect. His wife, Margo Brown, an artist and a Wyoming native, talks with David about how he gradually earned the respect of her ranching relatives. Romtvedt served as Poet Laureate of Wyoming from 2003 to 2011.

Rebecca Huntington

On May 25, 2014, 15-year-old Sasha Johnstone became the youngest person to climb and ski the Grand Teton, according to mountain guides. At 13,775 feet, the Grand is the highest peak in Grand Teton National Park with slopes as steep as 55 degrees, bordered by cliffs dropping away precipitously to create “no fall zones.” Sasha skied the peak with his parents.

Rebecca Huntington

Dollie Iberlin gives new meaning to the phrase “student teacher” as she recalls her first teaching job, educating two students just a few years younger than herself on a Johnson County ranch. While teaching at the ranch, Iberlin also weathered one of the most famous and daunting blizzards in Wyoming history. Iberlin shares stories about that fun and fateful year with her daughter, Margo Brown.

Adrian Shirk

Donna Marburger was a student at the University of Wyoming in the 1950’s. Her major was physical education. In the physical education department, there was a men’s department and a women’s department. Judy Knight from the Laramie Plains Museum asks Donna how she felt about having men and women trained differently.

legendsofamerica.com

John Farr tells the story of Kit Carson, who was a famous trapper and explorer in the 1800s.  John C. Fremont hired Carson on his expedition as a guide, and together they mapped and explored the American West.

Dawn grew up in the cabin her father built outside of Saratoga. She shared her childhood with her family, the surrounding wildlife, and the friends she found in the Indian reservations where her father was a teacher. Dawn grew up drawing and painting, and she later worked as an artist-in-schools for rural communities in Wyoming and South Dakota. Dawn reflects on the role that nature played in her ability to express herself creatively.

Visit Dawn’s gallery website.

Nita Engen grew up in Centennial, Wyoming. She is the 5th generation of ranchers to own land in the area, and cherishes the community that raised her as a child. Nita tells a few stories of her childhood on the range.

Adrian Shirk

Anna Marno was born and raised in Centennial, Wyoming. Spending most of her childhood at the Snowy Range Ski area, Anna quickly became a talented skier. She qualified for the U.S. Ski Team her senior year of high school. Anna shares her story.

Stories about riding a horse to school.

Wyoming Stories: A Horse You Could Rely On

Sep 9, 2014
Wayne Thomas

Gene Olmsted lives in Powell. His memories of his horse, Ginger are always fresh on his mind, including a time Ginger helped him get home from school during a storm.

Wayne Thomas

Clarabelle Barsness lives in Powell. She remembers growing up on a farm in Cody and riding her horse to school—out of necessity.

Stories about getting into trouble.

Frank, Bert, and Bob Johnson grew up on the A—1 ranch outside of Elk Mountain. The three brothers recount their stories of childhood trouble-making on the ranch and in the school house.

Val and Jerry Burgess are residents of Sheridan. In this story, Val asks her husband to reflect on his experience receiving a stem cell transplant.

August in Wyoming: Stories of nature and wildlife.

On July 26, 1990 President George H W Bush signed into law the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among other things, the ADA has accessibility requirements for public places—such as stores or restaurants. But the Elk Mountain Trading Company was built 1895, long before the idea of handicap accessibility. Nancy Casner, who owns the Crossing Café housed in the building, recalls what it meant to add a ramp to the historic building.

Wyoming Stories: She'd Rather Ride A Horse

Jul 21, 2014
Wayne Thomas

Alice Fales lives in Cody, WY. She recalls fond memories of the role horses played in her youth and riding a horse to school.

Pat and Phyllis McKee both grew up in ranching families in Elk Mountain. As kids, they avoided each other, but that didn't stop a whirlwind romance when they got older. They were married in 1990 and have three daughters.

Not long ago, in an unexpected turn of events, Rawlins resident Sherrill Bailey adopted her grand-nephew. In this story, she explores the rewarding and complicated destiny of becoming a parent at 65 years old.

A collection of World War II memories from Wyoming.

Lorin and Mary Ann Moench work for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints at Martin’s Cove Historic site.  This spot in south-central Wyoming marks an important point along the Mormon trail.  European converts sailed to the East Coast of the U.S., purchased supplies and handcarts, and traveled with handcart companies to Salt Lake City.  In 1856 two handcart companies began their journey late, causing them to face unforgiving Wyoming storms.

wyomingtalesandtrails.com

Dick Sedar grew up in Casper, in a working-class neighborhood called “the Sandbar.” His parents emigrated from Croatia in the early 1920’s to seek work in the coal and oil industries. Dick was one of 16 children and tells the story of his childhood in Casper.

One of Dick’s Sedar’s brothers, Mike, worked in the Douglas Prisoner of War camp during World War II.  Dick remembers his brother’s experience working with the prisoners, and the lasting friendships he made.

Linda Fleming was the first woman to be appointed or elected for public office in the Carbon County town of Baggs. After her long tenure as both mayor and county commissioner, she turned her leadership talents to ministry.

Women in the United States have been fighting for equal wage rights since the early 1900s.  In 1963 the government passed the Equal Pay Act, which aimed to abolish wage disparity based on sex.  But the act excluded professional careers.  Starting in 1971, Marilynn Deiss juggled work as the Executive Director of the Wyoming Board of Pharmacy and as a single mother.  She tells her daughter, Debra Swedberg, how gender discrimination affected her life.

Tommie Butler was just a kid when World War II began, but he remembers the effect that war-time  retrenchment had on his home town of Gillette—times that were both hard and rewarding.

Darrell Moore grew up in the historic Hotel Wolf in Saratoga, Wyoming. Fredrick G. Wolf, a German immigrant, built the hotel in 1893. Since then, the hotel has had only four owners. Moore’s father bought the Wolf in 1937, and his family maintained the place for 40 years. The hotel and restaurant has hosted hunters, fishers, and ranchers through the years, and is still open to adventurers today. Moore shares his memories of growing up at the Hotel Wolf.

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