A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

A dam is a structure that is designed to hold back water in a river or a canal and raise the water level. Typically, large dams are placed at the opening of a valley and the as the water level rises, it leaves the riverbed and forms a lake-like body called a reservoir. Fremont County is home to several such structures. Bull Lake Reservoir and especially Boysen Reservoir are the most obvious examples.

Fremont County is also home to a more unique type of dam. Located just about 35 miles west of Riverton, the Wind River Diversion Dam is different in many ways. This dam was built in 1924-1925 as part of the Midvale Irrigation Project. This project set out to bring more favorable agricultural conditions to land that had been ceded from the Wind River Indian Reservation and opened to white settlement as a result of the Dawes Act. But Diversion Dam, as the name suggests, does not create a reservoir behind it. Instead, it diverts some of the water from the Wind River into a canal, which ends up at the Pilot Butte Reservoir, about ten miles downstream.

That is not the end of Diversion Dam’s uniqueness. The 655 foot bridge over the dam consists of eight Warren Pony trusses. This makes it the longest road truss bridge in Wyoming and well as the bridge with the greatest number of trusses in the state. It is also reportedly the first vehicular truss bridge to ever be incorporated into a dam structure.

Through the 1950s, the Diversion Dam Bridge was part of the road between Dubois and Riverton. Finally, by 1960, the highway over the Diversion Dam bridge had been … um … diverted south to its present location. The bridge is no longer part of the main highway, but it is still a functioning dam and bridge. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

May 4, 1-3pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Historic Plant Day”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

May 11, 2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Spool Knitting”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

May 16, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Teen Adult Bead Cleaning Workshop”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

May 18, 10am at the Pioneer Museum, “Lander Downtown Walking Tour”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.

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