#Lookback: Dubois

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.

If you drive down Ramshorn Street in Dubois today, you are greeted by a quaint main street consisting of historic storefronts, local businesses, and small eateries. The hustle and bustle belie the fact that Dubois, described by Emma Merial Angelo in the mid-1890s as “non-existent, practically”, has undergone many changes as well as trials and tribulations.

Early residents to Dubois included Angelo, Nipper, Welty, Beck, and Locke families among others, who encountered a sparsely populated town. Arthur Nipper recalled that at the turn of the century “there was nothing in Dubois, only a saloon, but then Welty’s started a post office up the horse creek about a mile” and visitors to Dubois, like William Bartholomy Jr. wrote in 1907, “the town of Dubois consisted of 7 buildings; a saloon which was the meeting place or club, a general store where all the ladies met, a bottling house, a blacksmith shop, and three residences.”

The general store was Welty’s General Store, which was first built on the east side of Horse Creek in 1889, and later moved to the town of Dubois in 1897. Originally a log structure with a dirt roof and two “lean-to” additions, the store sat slightly below the street, and to enter the store, customers had to walk down exterior steps. A street-level front was not added until 1915, and the store continued to expand from there. The Dubois Mercantile Co joined the town in 1913 and the Stringer Hotel followed shortly after in January of 1914.

Like the developing commercial district, the town of Dubois also grew and was incorporated on May 14, 1914. Five short years later disaster stuck with the great flood of 1919. Summer that year had been hot and dry and one evening in August “the sky opened up with a deluge of rain and hail” according to Gladys Hawley who recounted “my two brothers who were five and three years old…watched in open-mouthed excitement as the driving hail at one point managed to push the front door open and rush into our house.” Many lives were lost that evening including those of Dr. Welty (Gladys’ grandfather), a piano tuner who was camped on the banks of Horse Creek, four men who were bunking at the rear of the F.A. Welty Store, a man by the name of Schafer, and two strangers to town. The storm’s flood destroyed Horse Creek bridge, the old Nicol Hotel, and several homes, but just west of town caused nothing more than a hard rain.

One hundred years later, Dubois has grown to almost 1,000 residents. It has experienced major changes like the construction of US Hwy 26/287, also known as the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway, and the loss of some of its historic commercial district during a fire in December 2014. But changes are nothing new to Dubois and it will continue to persevere.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

June 25th at the Pioneer Museum in Lander, “Native American Ledger Art” (Virtual Program)


Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

June 27th, 9 am at the Riverton Museum, “Black Bridge Bicycle Adventure Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

June 30th, 7 pm at the Dubois Museum, “Historic Dubois Walking Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

Consider supporting The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander or the Riverton Museum with a monetary donation. The museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide quality programs, collections management, exhibits, and services that have become their hallmark. 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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