#lookback: The Roy E. Hays General Merchandise Store: shopping center for Riverton

    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.

    Roy E. Hays came to the area when he heard of the land opening. At the time, Hays was at four corners country (Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico) where he operated a trade store before heading north to Wyoming. Roy Hays was among the squatters that rushed to the opened land and placed his teepee in the northeast corner of Main and Broadway on August 14th, 1906, one day prior to the town officially opening. Roy Hays picked the two lots because of their proximity to the center of town and felt that the location would be good for business.

    While the building for the Roy E. Hays General Merchandise store was being constructed, Roy and his father started business in a log cabin on the lot now occupied by the Kusel’s Furniture and Appliance store. By 1909, Hays had expanded his store, and again in 1916. Hays would continue to expand until 1948. Hay’s General store, patronized by ranchers, farmers, towns people and members of the Northern Arapaho tribe, provided customers with a variety of essentials and was a one-stop shopping store that had everything that a home, ranch, or farm needed. Groceries, horse collars, kerosene, and bolts of cloth to sew a dress were all available at Hays. The general store was eventually sold in 1968 to the J.M. McDonald Co., a dry goods firm. Today the building is occupied by Studio 402 Day Spa.

    The men you see in this photograph are identified as Hays family members with the exception of Frank Watson on the far left and Faustinus Antelope, the Northern Arapaho man. Faustinus was one of Roy E. Hays clerks who helped with communication barriers with Native American customers.

    Next up for the Fremont County Museums

    August 14th, 7am at the Dubois Museum, “Bomber Fall Crash Site Trek”

    Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

    August 17th, 6pm at the Riverton Museum, “Wyoming Blizzard of 1949”

    Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

    August 18th, 1pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Pioneer Cooking Part 2”

    Children’s Exploration Series

    August 21st, 9-3:30pm at the Dubois Museum, “Sheep Trap Trek”

    Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

    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.

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