NR By County Test

Fort Bridger


Brian Beadles
Historic Preservation Specialist
(307) 777-8594

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  • Black and Orange Cabins


    Read All About It:

    Located in Ft. Bridger, Uinta County, Wyoming, the Black and Orange Cabins were built by Mrs. Margaret Rochford over a period of time beginning with the construction of the cabins around 1925 and ending with the construction of a new Outhouse building between 1937 and 1939. The complex is located along the original route of the Lincoln Highway; the highway took a 90 degree turn right in front of the property. The site contains six buildings; five of the buildings are contributing and one is noncontributing. The contributing buildings include the two rectangular cabin structures, the Outhouse, the Shower Shed/Generator Room, and the Residence. The office building was reconstructed during the site’s restoration – the original burned down in 1992 – and is noncontributing. The original entrance to the Black and Orange Garage Cabins was along the northern boundary of the property. To the west of the entrance is the noncontributing office building; it is located in the office building’s original location. The two nearly identical cabin structures run along the western edge of the property; they are approximately 8’ apart with the southern building at a slight angle to the northern building. The Shower Shed/Generator Room is located to the southwest of southern cabin structure. The Outhouse is to the south of the southern cabin structure. The Residence is the final contributing structure; it is located near the eastern boundary of the property.

    The Black and Orange Garage Cabins in Fort Bridger, Uinta County, Wyoming are significant on a state level under Criterion A because of the site’s association with the Lincoln Highway and automobile travel as well as the expansion and impact of the Lincoln Highway on tourism in the state of Wyoming during the 1920s and 1930s. Mrs. Margaret Rochford built the Black and Orange Garage Cabins to facilitate the needs of automobile tourists travelling through Wyoming and operated the establishment until 1936. The cabins were designed specifically to accommodate the needs of automobile tourists, which is evidenced by the individual garages attached to each cabin. The Black and Orange Garage Cabins are an example of the effect that heritage tourism, automobile transportation, and the Lincoln Highway had on small towns in Wyoming. They are the best surviving example of Lincoln Highway motor courts in Wyoming and one of the most well-preserved examples left in the United States. The site retains its integrity despite years of neglect. The refurbishment of the buildings was done with as little disruption as possible; much of the original materials were reused. Significant efforts were made to replicate the cabin’s interiors to be historically accurate. The area surrounding the cabins has changed very little and does not affect the integrity of the site.




    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, April 23, 2020
    Fort Bridger
    Uinta County
    Smithsonian Number: 


  • Fort Bridger


    Read All About It:


    Fort Bridger's history is long and varied spanning every major phase of Western frontier development except the fur trade. Its establishment, early operation and namesake relates to one of the most famous of all the early trappers and explorers: James Bridger. The decline of the fur trade in the Rocky Mountains in the late 1830s forced the mountain men who remained on the frontier to seek new occupations. Jim Bridger established a small trading post in the valley of the Black's Fork of the Green River and formed a partnership with Louis Vasquez. Erected in 1842, the post was open for business early in 1843. Bridger's proposed intention was to establish trade with the friendly Indians in the neighborhood and with the emigrants who passed the fort on their way west. Because of a convenient location on the Overland Route, Fort Bridger became second in importance only to Fort Laramie as a resupply and outfitting point for travelers between the Missouri River and the Pacific Coast.

    A dispute over the ownership of the Fort developed in 1853. The Mormons, who had settled the valley of the Salt Lake in 1847, claimed they had purchased the fort for $6,000, paid in gold coin. Bridger denied such a transaction had ever occurred. In the fall of 1853, two parties of Mormons sent out from Salt Lake City came to the vicinity, established Fort Supply and took over Fort Bridger. The two forts were then used to aid converts to the church as they traveled over the trail to Salt Lake City; to establish trade with the other emigrants; and to check the threat of Indian hostilities the Mormons claimed Bridger was promoting. Friction developed between the Mormons and the Federal Government in the late 1850s. President Buchanan dispatched United States troops to the area in 1857 precipitating the so-called ''Mormon War''. Upon the approach of ''Johnston's Army'', the Mormons deserted and burned both Fort Bridger and Fort Supply. Colonel A.S. Johnston, later famous as a Confederate general, immediately took over the sites and declared Fort Bridger to be a military reservation. In 1858 it was officially made a military post and a building program started.

    In the 1860s, in addition to military activities, the fort served as a major station for the Pony Express, the Overland Stage Line, and the trans-continental telegraph. Troops from the fort patrolled the trails and frequently provided escort and protection when Indian depredations made travel hazardous. Regular Union troops arriving at Fort Bridger after the Civil War found it in a state of poor repair. A renewed building program started soon afterwards. Though strategically located, Fort Bridger never served as the base for any of the major military expeditions. The post was abandoned in 1878 but reactivated in 1880. Through the 1880s the military erected additional buildings and barracks and made many general improvements. The military permanently abandoned Fort Bridger in 1890.

    Photo on File at the State Historic Preservation Office



    Date Added to Register:
    Wednesday, April 16, 1969
    Fort Bridger
    Uinta County
    Smithsonian Number: 


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