Reflections: Town of Battle fire continued


Reprint of this story from the July 11, 1903 issue of The Grand Encampment Herald brought to you courtesy of Grandma’s Cabin, Encampment, Wyoming. Preserving History - Serving the Community.

Town of Battle Lake Narrowly Escaped Being Wiped Off the Earth

Story Continued:

The town of Battle Lake came upon the map of Wyoming in 1898, when Harry Wellman and Frank Hollingshead staked the “So Different” mining lode claim, patenting same the following year. The claim was laid out as a townsite and the little city sprang up like magic. Previous to the arrival of Wellman and Hollingshead, several prospectors had been upon the ground, among them being Jack Ledbetter, Stuart Edgar, George Doane, J. H. McClelland, Tom Elwood and J. H. Green. All of these pioneers are still connected with the interests of the camp with one exception, J.H. McClelland, who went over the range in an accident some time ago.

The boys camped in tents until the town built up. The first building upon the townsite proper was Smizer’s old saloon building, although A. A. Tully had previously built a log house square on the top of the Continental Divide, just west of the Battle Lake townsite limits. George Smith’s house, which was burned Sunday, was the first residence completed upon the townsite. W. C. Ledbetter and Stuart Edgar were the next in line to build residences, and nearly all of the houses in the town were built the same year, 1898, and the year following.

Battle Lake is located on the Continental Divide, Sierra Madre mountains, twelve miles southwest of the city of Grand Encampment. It is built in the high timber, the clearing being sufficient for the number of buildings, and has the advantage of fine water, beautiful scenery, and a central location in reference to the mining properties along the main range. In winter there is plenty of snow, and in summer there is not a more delightful spot in the Rockies.

Westward lie the two beautiful little lakes near the town of Rambler, while sloping beyond to the valley of the Snake is a delightful country of verdant green and babbling brooks stretching away for miles and miles with the outline of the Utah mountains looming up in the far distant. From the Divide just west of the townsite, the scene eastward is also very attractive, looking down the range across the broad and fertile valley of the North Platte.

Battle Lake has several store buildings, two saloons, three hotels and a number of residences which are generally full to overflowing during the summer. There is also a church building, which is chiefly utilized as a school house. The town is one of the principal points on the road from Grand Encampment to Rudefeha, and has daily mail and stage service with both of these towns.

Two miles west of Battle Lake is the celebrated Doane Rambler copper mine. The world-renowned Ferris-Haggarty or Rudefeha is eight miles northwest on the opposite side of Bridger Peak. Just over the hill to the south is the Portland property, which was staked in 1896 by Jack Ledbetter.

The Portland is equipped with a steam plant and has hoisted some fine sulphide copper. East of the Portland lies the Hercules which also has a steam plant and a good showing of ore. The Doctor and Anaconda claims, lying between the Hercules and the townsite were staked in 1896 by Stuart Edgar and are now owned by Edgar and Joe Gaut. The Little Giant and Little Joe, about which there has been much favorable comment of late, lie near the Portland. On the east of the townsite is the Gertrude, operated by the Eagle Mining Co. under the management of Sherm Ludwig. This property has a steam plant and good ore. All the immediate ground about the little city is staked and there are many fine prospects awaiting development. Much of this ground is patented.

Surrounding Battle Lake are the sections known as Cow Creek, North Fork, Baby Lake, and Rambler, while to the south is the Verde and Itmay country where many fine prospects are being worked.

The summer season has opened at Battle and many outfits are in the hills. The successful operation of the North American Copper Co.’s aerial tramway and the starting up of the big works at Grand Encampment have furnished the impetus for much good work this year in this particular portion of the country, as many of the most promising properties located close enough to the tram line to secure cheap transportation facilities. Battle Lake furnishes considerable business for Grand Encampment, it being one of the several towns tributary to the great commercial center.


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