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.

Micah Schweizer

Martin Ellbogen grew up in Worland, Wyoming. In high school he played basketball against the future Wyoming Senator Al Simpson. Once Ellbogen determined his career was not in basketball, he came to the University of Wyoming to study pre-med and finished his medical degree in Omaha. Ellbogen then joined the Navy as a doctor.  He shares memories of being a medical assistant on an aircraft carrier in the Pacific. After his tour, Ellbogen moved to Casper to set up a general practice medical firm.  He retired in 1996, and sold the practice to his son.

Abbie Taylor moved to Sheridan as a kid, when her father decided to take over the family business. Because of a lifelong disability Taylor developed a unique relationship to jukeboxes -- as well as the whole region where her father installed and repaired them.

Micah Schweizer

Joan Paige’s family has lived in the Equality State for almost as long as it’s existed. In 1889, her grandfather, John Mahoney, was stationed just outside of Rawlins at Fort Steele. In this story, she tells of circumstances that brought him west, and the dubious nature of late-19th century frontier towns.

Wyoming Stories Podcast #8

May 28, 2014

In honor of glorious springtime, stories about love.

youngmusicians.net

Evanston native Shasta Wigginton talks about what it was like to be homeschooled and how the experience shaped her views on education.

Sixty-two-year Sheridan resident Mary Burgess spent much of her youth in the Philippines where her father was a politician. As she tells her friend Val Burgess, when she was thirteen, she was living at an Episcopal boarding school in Baugio when she, her sister, and two other women decided to take a long walk north.

Mary Burgess moved back to the US for college, and eventually joined the WWII effort as a part of the American Red Cross. In this story, she tells her friend Val Burgess about her experience as a woman behind the front lines.

Casper College

Gretchen Wheeler grew up in Nebraska and moved to Wyoming to teach in the Communications Department at Casper College.  As a “non-native” Wyomingite, Gretchen shares her observations of the cultural differences between Wyoming and Nebraska.

Micah Schweizer

Marla Brown is a fifth generation Wyomingite who grew up helping run her parents’ various businesses during some of Rawlins’ booms and busts.

UW Professor of history Phil Roberts tells the story of how Thomas Boylan—the late owner and operator of The Fossil Cabin outside of Medicine Bow—protected the identity of local Japanese Americans from relocation officers during World War II.

Micah Schweizer

In 1967, Rawlins resident Duane Shillinger was hired by the Wyoming State Penitentiary as a counselor. Later, through an unexpected turn of events, he ended up serving as warden for seventeen years. In this story, he remembers the transition from the 19th century facility to the current one, and the relationships he formed with inmates.

Stories about education: UW's Hathaway Scholarship, a Mexican-Arapaho teacher at Central Wyoming College, and helping students achieve the dream of going to college.

StoryCorps

Bill Schilling is the president of the Wyoming Business Alliance. He was instrumental in getting the Hathaway scholarship passed through the legislature, and he says it’s one of his greatest accomplishments.

The Hathaway allows students to get money for college if they meet certain academic criteria. Here, Schilling talks with former dean of the UW Business School Brent Hathaway. (In case you were wondering – no, the scholarship is not named after him.) Schilling recalls how the Hathaway scholarship came to be.

Micah Schweizer

Like many Wyoming natives, Pat and Ellie Noonan met at a college party in Laramie—almost sixty years ago. In this story, the couple describe the misadventures of their first encounter.
 

The Noonans remember the summer that city officials dug up the century-old corpse of outlaw Big Nose George.

From the early 1960s to the late 80s, Pat Noonan was employed by the First National Bank of Rawlins, first as a teller and later as its inaugural Computer Operations Manager—which was a wholly alien pursuit for a small town bank in 1971.

When John Simms moved to Jackson, he started a business giving tours of the Flag Ranch. After getting married, he started Jackson White Water Trips. In this story, John tells his daughter Morrison about an unexpected late night visit to their Jackson home.

Harold Turner grew up on the Triangle X Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming. Here, he recounts how some childhood mischief taught him a valuable lesson.

Stories from two famous Wyomingites: CJ Box and Pete Simpson. 

Josh and Susan Anderson—Evanston natives who met only after they were both going to college in Utah—work for the Uinta County school district. In this story, the couple talks about how they arrived at their vocations.

Both of the Andersons’ children were born in Jackson—the closest hospital to their home at the time, and more than a two hour drive away. Naturally, this left the couple with some wild stories about childbirth on the frontier.

Georgia Wier

Like his dad and two uncles, Curt Artery is a rancher. His involvement  in rodeos gave him the idea of raising Corriente cattle—the cattle used for team roping. Curt learned to make black powder horns as a young man. Later, after thinking about the Corriente horns that would otherwise go to waste on his ranching operation, he began using them to craft jewelry and other decorative items. WPM listener Georgia Wier spoke with Artery.

county10.com

Mark Soldier Wolf is a Northern Arapaho tribal elder. He grew up on the Wind River Indian Reservation, outside of Riverton. For him, the past is forever inscribed on the present, a sentiment he shares in this lesser known version of the Battle at Little Bighorn.

When Soldier Wolf returned to Wyoming from the Korean War, there were very few resources for veterans. In this story, he describes how he got his life back together, and the atmosphere of Riverton during wartime.

StoryCorps

Wyoming writer CJ Box and his daughter, Molly Donnell, talk about one of their favorite pastimes: fly fishing. Box is a self-taught, avid fly-fisherman and from the time his daughters were very young he was intent on teaching them about the sport, too. He remembers the first time he handed his daughters fishing rods.

Stories about the Snowy Range Ski Area, a sticky car crash, and how the Centennial train depot became a museum.

Micah Schweizer

Melanie O’Hara grew up on the far side of the Hogback in Centennial. She reflects on the astonishing diversity of Centennial in the 19th century.

Wyoming Stories Community Recordings in Evanston

Feb 27, 2014

Evanston Listeners... Wyoming Public Media would like to record your Wyoming Story at the  Uinta Boces Education Center, room 202 on February 27 & 28.

To reserve a recording time in Evanston click here.

Walt Niekamp and his wife, Dorothy, lived in Casper years ago where they taught in the Natrona County schools. He has never forgotten Wyoming’s hospitality and landscape. Walt describes how his love for Wyoming, as well as his own career in media, inspired him to support Wyoming Public Media.

Micah Schweizer

Murray "Murf" Self grew up in Centennial where his father Pat ran the Old Corral Hotel & Steakhouse. When Pat was eighteen years old, he started receiving a money from the VA on account of his own father’s death in World War I. This windfall marked the beginning of Pat Self’s tumultuous life with fancy cars.

Have you ever wondered why so many small towns have turned their old train depots into museums? In a story about his mother’s quest to open an interpretive center in Centennial, Self explains how.

Andy Carpenean/Laramie Boomerang

Becky and Aaron Maddox own the Snowy Range Ski Area west of Laramie.  Becky is a fourth generation Laramie resident, and Aaron grew up in Steamboat Springs. 

The couple grew up skiing, and their love for the sport motivated them to invest their lives in Snowy Range.  Becky and Aaron describe how the ski area is not only their business, but is their passion, their family, and their life.

Bill and Martha Saunders are long-time Jackson residents. The couple was instrumental in founding the Jackson Hole Ski Club, and their family was also central in Wyoming's rodeo scene. Bill and Martha share memories of their rodeo experiences, including Martha's tour with the Singing Cowboy, Gene Autry.

StoryCorps

This summer, StoryCorps set up a booth in Cheyenne to record Wyomingites interviewing one another and sharing their stories.

Today, we hear from two members of one of Wyoming’s most famous families.  Milward Simpson, the grandson of former Governor and U.S. Senator Milward Simpson, interviews his father Pete Simpson, a noted historian, educator, Republican nominee for Governor, and former legislator.  They begin their conversation talking about Pete’s parents.  

Phil Round is a guitarist and singer from Jackson Hole.  He’s a member of the fabled Stagecoach Band, which holds down a weekly Sunday night gig and dance at the Stagecoach Bar in Wilson. Phil shares some early memories from the bar with his son, Wilden.

Stories from Jackson Hole about historic skiing, an indestructible skirt, and overcoming obstacles.

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