Cities Leverage Polls to Uncover Wyoming’s Hidden History / Public News Service

Summer offers plenty of opportunities to get outside and discover hidden historical treasures in your community, and preservation advocates are encouraging Wyoming residents to dig deeper.

Clint Gilchrist, chairman of the Sublette County Historic Preservation Board, recently conducted a survey of some 50 of the county’s historically significant places, which revealed that thirteen properties were eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I think this survey has not only highlighted the importance of these community buildings,” observed Gilchrist. “All of a sudden it’s not just a building you drive past anymore, it’s a building that represents the people who lived in the community and some of the people who were instrumental in building the community. .”

Gilchrist said the national spotlight has increased interest in preserving historic buildings and other sites.

Sublette County commissioners came on board after learning that federal funding was available for survey sites built before 1940, identified by local tax assessors. They applied for subsidies through the state Historic Preservation Officesecured matching funds and hired a professional to do the job.

Cultural research specialists, who may include historians, historical architects or archaeologists, visit each property and assess its historic integrity. Gilchrist explained that they then decide if it should be added to the National Register of Historic Places.

“Does it still look like when it was built?” Gilchrist describes. “Has it been significantly modified? Is not it ?

A site near Big Piney is still used today by oil and gas companies. Belco Village, named after the oil company that settled in the 1950s, sits on a site established through a Depression-era New Deal program that put men to work building national parks , bridges and other infrastructure.

“When they brought the CCC program here, the Civilian Conservation Corps, they built a whole series of barracks for the men who were here to work,” Gilchrist pointed out. “And those barracks are located at the exact location where this Belco village is now.”

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