Wyoming, The 75th Year, Wyoming 75th Anniversary Commission

In 1869, Uinta County was formed from portions of Utah and Idaho.  The original Uinta County was about 50 miles wide with a length of 280 miles.  Within it lay nearly all of Yellowstone National Park.

About 1881, the Oregon Shortline Railroad began construction through the Kemmerer area and at this time there began a dispute between the Oregon Shortline and Union Pacific railroads concerning right of way.  The graders of both companies met at a place aboout three miles west of Kemmerer where they demolished each other's work.  This was a place where the railroad went over the top of a big hill which required the use of several engines to pull the load.  By the Fall of 1881, the railroad had been completed as far west as Sage, Wyoming.

It is interesting that one of the largest retail chain stores in the United States was founded in Kemmerer.  In 1902, Mr. J. C. Penney opened his number one store there.  The first day's sales were $466.59 and for the first year the store grossed $29,000.

Opal was supposedly named when in 1881, an official of the Oregon Shortline and a newspaper man from Omaha were being escorted over the ranch of Mr. Charles F. Robinson.  One of the men picked up a stone which Mr. Robinson identified as an opal.  In 1882 the railroad was built through that area and the station was called Opal.

Prior to the settlement of Kemmerer, old Hamsfork Town had been established.  It was located about a mile west of the present location of Kemmerer.  The settlement was small and considered wild and western.

In 1868, a man by the name of Harrison Church, discovered coal on Hamsfork.  He built a cabin on the hill where the present Diamondville now stands.  The Hamsfork Coal Company was incorporated in 1884.

The Town of Diamondville was incorporated about 1896 with Thomas Sneddon as first mayor.  In 1880, a man named James Lea homesteaded on the Hamsfork.  He found coal in the vicinity of his ranch, which was considered first grade.  After the opening of the mine, most of the the first people to come here came from Almy, Wyoming, which had had a series of mine explosions in 1881, 1886 and 1896.  Since there were no houses, the people lived in shacks and dugouts in the side of the hill where the mine was.  This was called "Shack Town".  Some of the ruins are still visible. 

The Mormons first met in the school house and later in a two-story house in the canyon where the markets had built their slaughterhouses.  There was a fire in the buildings.  Burned all records.  They reorganized on 14 September 1901 when the Diamondville branch was raised to the status of a ward.

The Methodist Church was build in 1896.  It was also called the Mission Church.  In later years, the blind Reverand Minnie Haddenham was in charge until her death.

The Finnish people built the Finn Hall used for a meeting place and entertainments.  The annual Bobby Burns celebration was held there.  They also had a Finn Temperance Society.

The Slavic people built their own meeting house, the Slavenski Dome.  They also had several meeting places.

An Italian Lodge was organized 13 August 1900 and is still carrying on.

Wooden sidewalks were built on "400" row in 1911 and over most of the town in 1915.

Development of Star Valley as a home by Mormon Pioneers, first started in June 1879 when a small group unspanned their wagons and settled at the little town of Freedom in Lower Star Valley.  Star Valley was part of the first county created by the Wyoming Territorial Legislature in 1869, Uinta County.  Dairying, a stepchild of adversity and born of necessity, early became an important industry of the settlers.  It grew and expanded until in 1889 a creamery was established.

The first general merchandise store on a permanent basis was started in Afton in 1886.

Perhaps the best known topographic feature within the county and the Valley is the intermittent spring on the headwaters of Swift Creek above Afton.  One of three such oddities known in the world, it ebbs and flows at intervals of aboout eighteen minutes.  A pipeline now brings its water into the water mains of the town, a pure cold flow of water, perhaps the only one in the world from a like source.

Lincoln County, Wyoming, Wikepedia
Population, 2006 Estimate 16,383
Population, Net Change, 1 Apr 2000 to 1 Jul 2006 1,810
Housing Units, 2005 7,763
Homeownership Rate, 2000 81.3%
Housing Units Net Change, 1 Apr 2000 to Jul 2005 932
Land Area, 2000 (square miles) 4,069
Persons Per Square Mile, 2000 3.6
Mean Travel Time To Work (minutes), Workers Age 16+, 2000 25.1
Lincoln County, Wyoming,  Wikepedia

According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,089 square miles, of which, 4,069 square miles of it is land and 20 square miles of it is water.

Populated Places
Lincoln County, Wyoming  Wikipedia
Afton Diamondville Opal
Alpine La Barge Thayne
Census Designated Places 
Alpine Fairview Smoot
Auburn Fontenelle Star Valley Ranch
Bedford Grover Taylorville
Etna Oakley Turnerville
Other Communities 
Freedom Frontier
Adjacent Counties
Lincoln County, Wyoming,  Wikepedia

Teton County (north)
Sublette County (northeast)
Uinta County (south)
Rich County, Utah (southwest)
Bear Lake County, Idaho (west)
Caribou County, Idaho (northwest)
Bonneville County, Idaho (northwest)

National Parks
Lincoln County, Wyoming,  Wikepedia

Bridger-Teton National Forest (part)
Caribou-Targhee National Forest (part)
Cokeville Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
Fossil Butte National Monument

Wyoming History and Genealogy
To learn more about early Lincoln County, visit the Wyoming History and Genealogy and Lincoln County Rootsweb websites.

                                                                    Updated:  29 Aug 2012