#Lookback: Martin Olson

    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.

    Martin Olson was born in Namsos, Norway in 1880. At just the tender age of 17, Martin was an experienced woodsman when he voyaged to America to ply his trade. Mr. Olson spent his first years in southern Wyoming doing odd jobs when he was eventually hired by the Wyoming Tie and Timber Company in 1916.

    Martin’s impact was felt immediately when he arrived in Riverton. He was tasked with fixing a, “fouled-up river drive” which he did. He was offered the job of wood boss which he accepted. Martin was forced to deal with many different challenges from directing unruly tie hacks with a penchant for drinking to designing a flume system that others thought was impossible to make. With Martin’s even-handed and clear eyed approach, he helped to resuscitate the dying tie hack industry in the region. Mary Allison in Dubois Area History noted that, “In the late 1920’s, Wyoming Tie and Timber company became the largest tie-producing unit in the United States with an annual output of 670,000 railroad ties.” This was in no small part thanks to Martin Olson. 

    Eventually, he would retire from the tie industry in 1947 after the Wyoming Tie and Timber Company was sold. Martin would move to Dubois and build a home which was named “Dunloggin”. However, Mr. Olson was not content to go quietly into retirement. He would take on the role of a Fremont County Commissioner in 1954 and faithfully discharge his duties for six years. He would pass away in 1969 at the ripe age of 89.

    Stoic as the icy Scandinavian north of his birth, Martin made a new life amongst the people of Fremont County. He worked hard and was able to enjoy the fruits of his labor. He was a natural leader who earned the respect of the people surrounding him, not by demanding it but by his example. Martin Olson shows us that the impact we leave on the people and places around us will be noticed far after we are gone; so we should always strive to do the most the time we have.

    If you want to learn more about the Tie Hacks and other incredible people from the Upper Wind River Valley, stop in to the Dubois Museum

    Author: Braeden Kluver

    Next up for the Fremont County Museum

    March 14, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Wyoming State Flag History” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    March 27, 6pm at the Dubois Museum, “Bruce Blevins: Mapping Yellowstone” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    April 13, 10-4pm at the Riverton Museum, “Riverton Museum Open House”

    April 20, 9-2pm “Pioneer Museum Garden Expo-Historic Plant Booth” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    April 25, 7pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Lander in 1924” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    April 27, 1-3pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Sheep Shearing Day” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

    Call the Dubois Museum 1-307-455-2284, the Pioneer Museum 1-307-332-3339 or the Riverton Museum 1-307-856-2665 for detail regarding their programs.

    The Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation has been created to specifically benefit The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum.  The WRCCF will help deliver the long term financial support our museums need to flourish.  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 Wind River Cultural Centers Foundation at PO Box 1863 Lander, WY 82520 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.  

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