Walking the Lincoln

Lincoln Highway celebrated, remembered as part of the Fort Fred Steele 150th anniversary series


Mike Armstrong

Steve Horn cuts the 150th anniversary cake Saturday.

The Lincoln Highway enters the state from the east on U.S. 30 at Pine Bluffs and, established in 1913, was America's first coast-to-coast highway. Much of the route in Wyoming today is dirt and gravel and is impassable for much of the year, but in celebrating Ft. Steele's 150 year birthday, a historic walk was hosted by the National Park Service on Saturday.

The walk was on parts of the original road near Ft. Steele that went by the Platte River where remnants of a bridge could still be seen. When the Lincoln Highway opened, no real highway maintenance system existed, so each county had to take care of its own section. Travelers were mostly on their own to find their way along a route that could quickly vanish under heavy snow, thick mud or spring floods.

Steve Horn, from the National Parks Service, led the walk that lasted from 1-4 p.m. He took the attendees on a tour that had them go by the river and the remnants of the original fort. He pointed out the spot where barracks had housed over 200 soldiers when the fort was established. The walkers saw the quartermaster's house and building that originally had been the hospital.

Horn said the fort's soldiers had been called into quiet the riots against Chinese in Rock Springs. He said it was the only time federal troops had to take over a town in the USA since the Civil War.

Fort Steele was established to protect the newly built Union Pacific Railroad from attacks by Native Americans during construction of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States. The fort was built in 1868 where the railroad crossed the North Platte River. In the summer of 1868 it was the meeting place that included Civil War Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tescumseh Sherman, who had come west to inspect the railroad.

The fort was abandoned in 1886. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 16, 1969 and is managed as Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site by the state of Wyoming.

After the walk, Horn cut cake to celebrate Ft. Steele's birthday.

On July 7 at Ft. Steele there will be walk named "Towns and Ghost Town; a Storyboard Walk."

Mike Armstrong

Participants walk a section of the old Lincoln Highway.


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