Vintage Photos Show Casper’s Modest Beginnings
Casper has changed a lot over the years, and these photos give us a glimpse into the towns past. Digging into the historical images on the Library of Congresses website, we found these gems. It is highly unlikely that we will ever have a time machine to visit Casper in the 1900s so these photos will be the closest thing.
In this day of the smartphone with fantastic photo quality, it is easy to forget there was a time when a pen and paper were the only tools to document a journey. Documented here is a drawing of the North Platter River in what is present-day Casper. This is from the journal of a man on his way to strike it rich in California. During the Gold Rush in the 1850s, Daniel A. Jenks drew this illustration of the North Platte River. According to the Library of Congress, he camped next to some cottonwood trees on June 8, 1859, and sketched this image.
If you are like me, the sign for Bessemer Bend means wide open spaces and hopefully some good fishing, but that wasn't always the case. Historically the bend was the last place to cross the North Platte. So when you see the steel bridge, know that without it, some people may have never reached the other side.
This next photograph we jump forward in time to the coal and oil boom. This photograph is interesting because of what is not there. This photo was taken before the interstate was built. It was primarily used by the railroads, according to the Library of Congress, and also a pedestrian bridge for oil workers.
Downtown Casper has changed a lot since 1918. If the walls could talk, what stories would they tell? I don't know about you, but I'm glad that 2nd Street is paved now.