#lookback: The First Woman Living in Riverton was Alzada Adams

    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.

    During the summer 1906 a group of surveyors came to the area of land near the big bend of the Wind River.  Under the direction of the United States they were to begin surveying the land that would become the latest town established along the course of the Chicago Northwestern railway as it made its way to its final destination in Lander. William S. Adams was one of these surveyors on site. As soon as he was established in the field he sent word to his wife and children to join him.  Alzada Adams came to Riverton in a sheep wagon, driven by her 16-year old brother William Butler, from Encampment to Riverton. When she arrived Alzada took it upon herself to care for the men that were part of her husband’s crew by cooking their meals. On top of that, Alzada also took care of her two daughters and son in a canvas tent.

    Alzada cooked all her meals for her family and the surveying crew on a sheet iron stove in her canvas tent and served these meals on a table made from the sideboards of a wagon. One had to improvise in a location that was barren and far from any town. Alzada remembers the dust that settled into and onto everything that was not tightly covered and was constantly battling the dust. There was also the wind storms that helped bring in the dust. The wind storms were so great that it would terrify Alzada while huddled in her tent with her children. As the wind swept furiously across the prairie she prayed that the tent wouldn’t be ripped apart.

    It wasn’t long after the grand opening of the town of Riverton that Alzada set her sights on establishing a hotel for the town. The Riverton Hotel was the town’s first lodging facility and was solely operated by Alzada. The hotel was located behind the now Acme Theater, where free public parking is available on Fremont Street. Alzada took in many weary travelers in the 12-room building. Alzada did all the cooking until she hired Mildred Belle Mote to be the hotel’s cook. Sometime in the early 1920’s Alzada and her family packed up and moved to San Diego.

    Occasionally, the Adams would come back to Riverton to visit but eventually those visits became fewer and fewer until the visits finally ended. Alzada Adams passed away in 1957 and is buried in the Glen Abbey Memorial Park in San Diego. Alzada Adams will always be remembered as being the first woman here in Riverton and one of the first business women in the community.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museums

    November 19, at the Pioneer Museum, “Tribal Warrior Art: The Art & History of Ledger Art by North

    American Plains Indians” Exhibit opens to the public

    December 8, 2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Make Your Own Christmas Ornaments”

    Children’s Exploration Series Program

    December 8, 9-5pm at the Riverton Museum, “Christmas Open House”

    December 8, 10-4pm at the Dubois Museum, “Christmas Open House’

    December 8, 5pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Old Fashioned Christmas”

    Children’s Exploration Series Program


    The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum work extremely hard to provide programs, care for the facilities, create exhibits and care for the thousands of artifacts and archival documents in the collections of the museums. In order to consistently accomplish these objectives the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector. 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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