HISTORY & MUSEUMS IN DEVILS TOWER COUNTRY
Small town hospitality, ample amenities, rich history and nature’s best await you in Devil Tower Country! Wyoming’s territorial legislature, in an effort to grow the state, created Crook County in 1875. Their act, however, only created the county on paper and it was another 10 years before Crook County truly became a legal entity.
The Treaty of 1868, signed at Fort Laramie, prohibited white settlers from passing through the area without explicit permission from the tribes. Rumors of gold circulated in the 1870s. In 1874 General George Armstrong Custer led an expedition through the Black Hills. His confirmation of gold resulted in a rush of colorful characters pursuing the American dream and ushering in expanded conflicts between the United States Army and Native Americans. Those very conflicts would be Custer’s demise.
Custer may have been a better tour guide than military leader! His accounts of his trek through area (photo at left) highlight the vast beauty as they arrived in what is today the Wyoming side of the beautiful Black Hills. Over 140 years later, the beauty continues to awe area travelers. Devils Tower stands at the heart Wyoming’s Black Hills and is surrounded by lush flora and fauna not seen in other parts of Wyoming. Northeast Wyoming’s wildlife – elk, turkeys, whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope and more – add yet another element to the beauty.
The Homestead brought settlers to the area in hopes of owning their own property, establishing farms or ranchers. Some survived on the landscape, others left for jobs in town or to return to the East. Those who stayed bought neighboring homesteads and built the ranches seen across the Devils Tower Country landscape today.
The area’s history, an important piece of American history, is told in three museums across Devils Tower Country.
In Sundance, visit the Crook County Museum. You’ll be treated to the colorful tale of the Sundance Kid, have the opportunity to see a
historic jail and get your photograph with the Sundance Kid in his jail cell!
In Moorcroft, visit the West Texas Trail Museum. Beyond the community’s fascinating history, visitors marvel at the tale of the West Texas Trail that passed through the community and a bygone era when cattlemen from across the region trailed cattle into Moorcroft for shipping on the rail.
In Hulett, visit the Hulett Museum. A wagon that brought a family to the area to homestead in 1915, a homesteader’s cook stove and a wide variety of Native American relics can be seen at the Hulett Museum. The museum also shares the tale of dinosaur bones that have been discovered in the area.
Vore Buffalo Jump is another must-see location for travelers in Devils Tower Country.
Once used by Plains Indians to trap the bison that provided food and shelter, the many layers in the site tell the chapters of time in this area. Visitors can walk down into the natural sinkhole where the bison were trapped and see the excavation in progress.
To learn more about the county’s history and culture, download TravelStoryGPS onto your smart phone. An audio tour of the area is available for download.