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Hot Springs


Brian Beadles
Historic Preservation Specialist
(307) 777-8594

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  • J. D. Woodruff Cabin Site


    Read All About It:

    The Woodruff Cabin was the first recorded white man's home built in the Big Horn Basin. In 1871 the Basin was the chief hunting grounds of both Crow and Shoshone tribes, and was also subjected to raids by war parties of the Arapahoe, Cheyenne and Sioux nations. The cabin on Owl Creek was probably built as the base of operations for an enterprising trapper and prospector, John Dwight Woodruff. During the 1870s Woodruff first gained the respect and later the friendship of Chief Washakie. After a trip to Oregon, he returned driving some six thousand head of ''Oregon woolies''. By arrangement with Chief Washakie he grazed these sheep for a number of years along the northern side of the Wind River and he may have found summer pasture for his flocks on the summits of the Owl Creek Mountains. His Owl Creek cabin home may have figured in the first large scale sheep ranch operation in Wyoming. Sometime around 1880 Woodruff brought cattle into the Owl Creek country and began a cow operation with the Owl Creek cabin as the headquarters.

    Early in the 1880s Woodruff sold the Owl Creek cabin to Captain R. A. Torrey of the Fort Washakie garrison. Captain Torrey and his brother, Colonel J. L. Torrey, built up a large cattle and horse ranch. Woodruff's old Owl Creek cabin came to be known as the Embar Ranch. At one time, some forty thousand cattle and more than six thousand horses carried the M- brand. Embar Ranch buildings gradually replaced the original cabin which is no longer in existence.

    Early Photo of Woodruff Cabin on file at the State Historic Preservation Office



    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, February 26, 1970
    Hot Springs
    Hot Springs County
    Smithsonian Number: 


  • Legend Rock Petroglyph Site



    Read All About It:

    The Legend Rock petroglyphs, figures carved or etched upon a rock surface, are seen in a series of panels on the faces of three major sandstone outcroppings near Hamilton Dome, Wyoming. The petroglyphs are significant as an irreplaceable record of many different prehistoric cultural groups, spanning a long period from the Late Prehistoric (A.D. 500-1700) to historic times. The smooth faces of sandstone cliffs provided a natural canvas for the prehistoric artist who used stone tools to incise figures upon them. The oldest figures represent an early hunting style found throughout the northern hemisphere and are characterized by the predominance of small, solid, realistic animals accompanied by small, linear human figures, some of which carry spears and bows. This early style is followed by several types of solid or outlined figures ranging in size from six inches to two and a half feet in length. Animals are executed with a realism and precision that indicates considerable skill and an awareness of the salient features of a large number of game animals including elk, deer, buffalo, mountain sheep (and possibly goats), bear, antelope, mountain lion, dog, rabbit, turtle, and several kinds of birds including the eagle. Human figures are represented with a unique emphasis on individualized headdresses or hair styles.

    The next petroglyph development seen at the site is of one of the most complex, symbolic, and highly stylized types found in the United States. It is characterized by creatures ranging to over four feet in size, figures with overlapping forms; figures within figures; figures with complex, interior-line designs; figures with long, attenuated necks, or with lateral appendages terminating in pincer-like forms; and vertical line figures, sometimes wearing kilts, sometimes topped by exotic, feathered headdresses. These figures fit within a general tradition found extensively in the Wind River Basin to the south, but also represent a distinctive, localized variation of possible mythical creatures which likely are associated with religious beliefs and rituals. The most recent petroglyphs relate to typical early Plains Indian hide-painting. In one area a ''V''-shouldered figure wearing a bone breastplate is seen. At another area a group of horses with long, curved necks has been rubbed upon a smooth surface high above ground level. Several yards away, above a narrow ledge, a horse with its rider carrying a large, fringed shield and lance is depicted.

    The value of the petroglyphs at the Legend Rock site is considerable in terms of providing the ability to reconstruct the perceptions, experiences, values and beliefs of a number of different prehistoric cultures. The sandstone inscriptions represent one type of human communication system, a particular method of conveying information by means of symbols. These symbols permit the archaeologist to interpret, and possibly reconstruct the life lived by prehistoric peoples.

    National Register form available upon request.



    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, July 05, 1973
    Hot Springs
    Hot Springs County
    Smithsonian Number: 


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