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College Inn receives Pioneers’ Historical Restoration Award

“Nobody threw anything away,” is a frequent phrase used by College Inn Bar proprietor Jacey Bauman as she guides guests through her historic property at 103 North 2nd in downtown Douglas, Wyo.

Bar patrons have been ordering drinks here since Theodore Lee Pringle opened “Lee Pringle’s” at this same location in 1887. In 1906 Mr. Pringle upgraded his establishment, bringing the community fine craftsmanship with high-class woodwork and finishing touches that have stood the test of time.

“We don’t know why they called it the College Inn,” says Jacey, “but it’s one of the things we plan to find out.” Scott and Jacey Bauman, along with business partner and friend Vaughn Heath, purchased the bar in August of 2017. “We spent two months remodeling, repairing and cleaning,” says Jacey.

“Buying a bar wasn’t on the radar screen,” she says. With a background in real estate and an appreciation for historic buildings, she was casually watching the building as it went on the market. “The price kept dropping,” she says noting that she scheduled a viewing merely out of an interest to see the property. At the time she heard there were two pending offers, neither of which were coming from people who planned to keep the building a bar. Given the fact the College Inn is Douglas and Converse County’s oldest operating business, she hated to see that history come to an end. That’s when the Baumans and Heath presented an offer on the building.

Over the last year Jacey has learned of the property’s history through the tales of visitors and from over 112 years of left behind documents. Other discoveries, however, have been in the form of notes scrawled on the shelves, inventory jotted on a cupboard door and relics of a bygone era. From Theodore Pringle’s original desk, to the keg drop at the back of the building, little has been removed from the College Inn over the years.

“The front of the building was a brick building like the other buildings in town,” says Jacey, noting that the storefront changed at the hands of an angry wife. “There are mixed stories whether he was down in the bar or up in the brothel, but either way he refused to come out of the bar. His wife drove her brand-new Buick through the front of the building to get him.” Upon repairing the College Inn, glass blocks were used in place of the original bricks.

Back inside, Jacey says, “The bar itself was built by the Brunswick, Balke and Collender Company out of Chicago.” Shipped to Douglas via train, the pieces were numbered and put back together on site. “It is unique that the whole front of the building is built by the same company,” says Bauman noting the back bar, the front bar, the wine cabinet, the cigar case, the archways, the booths and the wall panels. When the booths and seats were reupholstered they were still stuffed with horse hair and straw.

“The floor is made out of crushed marble hand laid in one-inch square tiles,” says Jacey. They are unique because of the variety of colors and the intricate designs. Theodore Pringle had his initials – ‘TP’ – laid in the tile in front of the front door and ‘TP’ and ‘1906’ laid in the back doorway.” There is damage to the tile near one booth where a previous owner, a Harley Davidson fan, allowed burn-outs to take place in the bar.

“At some point it’s part of the history so you don’t repair it,” says Jacey. “We’re going with that for now, but over time I’m not sure.”

“Upstairs,” she says, “there was a poker room and nine lavish ‘sleeping rooms.’ It is generally believed to have been a high-class brothel. Each room had a sink, heat, a window, lights and high ceilings. The hallways had beautiful radiators mounted on the walls.”

In 1979 the College Inn was placed on the National Historic Register. That listing requires that the building’s exterior be kept in its current form. More leeway is given with the building’s interior, but the owners are committed to protecting its history.

Less than year into operating the bar, Jacey says plans remain uncertain when it comes to the building’s upper level. For now, it’s the perfect place to store the growing collection of relics offering a glimpse back in both Douglas and the College Inn’s history.

Article from the 2017 edition of the Pioneer Post

Cross’ Model 10 Cat earns Historical Restoration Award

Rod Cross’ Caterpillar Model 10 (Serial # PT1006) has earned recognition with the Wyoming Pioneer Association’s Historical Restoration Award.

“It is 1006 of 3173 models made by CATERPILLAR in 1929 at their Peoria, Illinois factory,” says Rod. “The tractor was found by a collector in Sheridan, Wyoming on a small ranch south of the town. This collector purchased the tractor and started the restoration. It took about four years to restore. Finding parts for these old models is a treasure hunt in itself. All the parts on the tractor are original. The tractor was purchased by a collector in Laramie, Wyoming in 2009.”

Rod says, “In October 2016 I paid a visit to the Laramie, Wyoming collector and purchased the tractor. The history behind the tractor intrigued me for it being from a Wyoming Ranch. Keeping it here in Wyoming was a priority for the preservation of history.”

Article from the 2017 edition of the Pioneer Post

Larry Cundall’s 1934 Ford earns ‘Historical Restoration Award’

The Wyoming Pioneer Association has awarded Glendo rancher Larry Cundall with the Historical Restoration Award for his work returning a 1934 Ford, full of history and childhood memories, back to its original beauty. The old truck carries a V8 engine, the same engine that was in Bonnie and Clyde’s 1934 Ford.

“The first time I remember seeing the old 34 was in the early 50s,” says Glendo rancher Larry Cundall. “I may have seen it before but this time it was looking too good to miss.  Standing in the back of the old truck, with their heads barely sticking out over the 36-inch beet box, were three or four Shetland ponies! What could be better than a cool old truck with ponies in the back?” Larry was four or five years old at the time and didn’t think there was anything in life better than ponies or old trucks.

Larry recalls, “I dreamt of those ponies for the next few months. When Christmas rolled around Santa delivered one of those ponies to the corral at the homestead where we lived, down on the river where Glendo Reservoir is now. I loved the pony ‘Max,’ but every time I saw that old truck I got that same warm feeling I got when I first saw it full of ponies.”

Christmastime ponies weren’t the only commodity the old truck was known to deliver. “Last winter,” says Larry, “I was talking to the previous owner's son about it. It was purchased new by a man in Lingle who then sold it to my neighbor. To help make ends meet, and probably help pay for it in hard times, he hauled grain periodically from here to Newcastle.” Buried in the grain was a load of moonshine, making the trip with the 1934 Ford including a V8 motor worth the while.

Sixteen or so years later, having recently returned from Vietnam and happily married, Larry saw the old truck sitting in a neighbor’s yard starting to melt down in the retired machinery row. “After realizing I liked the truck, my neighbor lady now widowed told me to take that old thing home and get it out of her yard. I hauled it home in the early 70s, but with no money to fix it up.” It continued to sit, melting into history.

“Jump ahead some 40 years,” says Larry, “when I turned 65 I knew it was the last chance to restore the proud old truck.” With a supportive wife and some helpful friends, the project began. “Motor work, bodywork, down to the frame, sanding painting and lots of new and rebuilt parts it slowly came to life,” says Larry. “Getting parts was interesting because during the war it seems a good share of the parts were left over 1933 parts and some were new 1934 parts, creating trial and error on getting the right part. As we were putting the boards for the bed and the rack through the planer and finishing up the wiring, I realized we were about there.”

Larry says, “It still heats because the fan at some time came in contact with the radiator and the brakes still pull sometimes, but it is beautiful to me.”

Grants recognized for preservation efforts of 1900 barn

Preserving historic buildings and locations can be time-consuming and costly. Recognizing the value of Wyoming’s historical treasures, and the people who help protect them, Wyoming Pioneer Association President Bob Vollman in 2016 launched the Historical Restoration Award. Rick Grant and his family were one of the first of two inaugural award recipients.

“The big red Grant barn was built by Edward ‘Ed’ Smith and his brothers, Charles and Mart,” says Rick Grant. Each of the brothers had a homestead in the Boxelder Park area in the mountains south of present-day Glenrock. “Constructions started in 1900 and finished in 1902,” says Grant. “I have heard through the years that the total cost to build at that time was $2,200 to $2,500.”

Grant says, “Charles W. Grant bought the ranch from the Smiths in 1916 and we have owned it through six Grant generations.” While regular maintenance and repairs were ongoing, Grant says he’s not sure the barn’s shingles had ever been replaced.

“In the fall of 2014 we started looking for someone to re-roof the barn,” says Grant. “Several contractors were contacted, none of which wanted to work on it. In the summer of 2015 I found a local contractor, Ross Allen of A-Plus Builders, who was willing to do the job. He couldn’t start before the end of October due to other commitments. The weather held long enough to get started the first of November and he finished a few days before Thanksgiving. They only had to shovel snow off a couple of times to get the job done.”

Grant says the old wood shake shingles were removed and a new metal roof was installed. “This new metal will add strength and stability to the barn for many years to come,” says Grant. “We are currently in the process of painting the entire barn and hope to have new glass in all of the windows by fall.”

Article from the 2016 edition of the Pioneer Post

Community refurbishes community cemetery

A group of Lost Springs, Wyo. community members have earned the Wyoming Pioneer Association’s Historical Restoration Award for their efforts refurbishing a historic cemetery in their community. The award is one of the first two ever presented by the Association.

Prairie View Cemetery is located five miles south and east of Lost Springs alongside the Baars County Road. It was deeded to the county in 1913, just before the Presbyterian Church was built, using lumber from a Laramie Peak sawmill, by the people of the Prairie View community and dedicated in 1914. Homesteaders came to the area from Prairie View, Kansas.

Sixty-nine graves are now located and 21 new granite markers have been placed on graves that had only a rock or wooden cross, or no marker at all. Ten new markers are for babies, several twins, or small children. Toppled headstones were reset and the entire cemetery was mowed and the sagebrush cleared out. The cemetery also got a new metal gate with a sign on top and a flag pole. The cemetery was last updated in the 1950s.

The cemetery rehabilitation was headed up by a new neighbor Anngela Starnes and her husband Buddy, along with other neighbors, Shawn and Kim Bruegger, and  Wyoming Pioneer Association members Chuck and Mary Engebretsen, Todd, Wright and Joe and Robin Bright, with several other neighbors . Thad Alexander constructed the new metal gate.

The cemetery holds some sad stories of early homesteading days in Wyoming. The diphtheria and influenza epidemic of 1917-18 took many children and mothers. One such story is the 10-year-old Dieleman twins, Carl and Arthur, who died September 28 and 29, 1917 after attending the Wyoming State Fair. The family always thought they were served tainted ice cream by Germans at the Fair since WWI was ongoing at the time. Their mother, Dillie, passed away five weeks later. The surviving three children were sent back to Kansas to live with their grandparents for a while.

Five-year-old Florence Spellman and her two-year-old brother, Walter, died within a day of each other in December of 1918.

Twenty-nine-year-old Carl York became ill while thrashing and died December 1, 1918 from pneumonia following an attack of influenza.

Accidents took many other lives, including 12-year-old Carl Kechter who was dragged to death by his pony while gathering the milk cows. Niles Wilson, ten years old, was adopted by the Barr Family, but shortly afterwards fell out of the barn hay mow.  Forty-nine year old Robin Samuel Purcell fell into the grain elevator at Shawnee in 1919.  Bertha Mae Garhart was struck by lightning while she and her son were gathering the chickens before a storm in June of 1920. She was survived by nine children, the youngest two years old, and her husband.  There are two military markers. Edward Morava married Isel Decker in July of 1918, just before he was enlisted into the army.  He died at an Army Camp in Campeche, Mexico from influenza in November of 1918. Floyd Herbert Crabb served in the military during WWII and his ashes were brought to the cemetery in 1970 for burial. Both graves were provided a government military white marble marker.  His grandfather, Henry Crabb, dedicated the four acres for the cemetery in 1913.

Stories of the people buried at Prairie View Cemetery can be found at Grave/Cemetery.com. A special thanks goes out to Anngela Starnes and Betty Alberts for their work compiling the histories using Ancestry.com and the local libraries.

Expenses for the project were covered through donations.

The little Prairie View Church and school are long gone, but the cemetery with its many sad stories remains.

Article from the 2016 edition of the Pioneer Post

Wolter’s Bakery bread truck to be on display at Annual Meeting

A bread truck dating back three generations and in the Casper community will be among the exhibits at the Wyoming Pioneer Association’s upcoming Annual Meeting. Truck owner Herman Wolter, grandson of the original truck owner also named Herman, will be receiving the award.

Mr. Herman A. Wolter immigrated to Casper, Wyoming from Germany in 1925. He went to work for United Bakers owned by Mr. Kamboris and operated from the back of a local grocery store. In 1934 Mr. Herman A. Wolter purchased the bakery from Mr. Kamboris and Wolter’s Backery was born. In 1943 the business began operating at 270 W. First Street in Casper.

When he purchased the bakery, Mr. Herman Wolter bought a 1934 Dodge panel truck for deliveries. In 1938 he bought another Dodge Humpback panel truck. In 1940 he traded the 1934 for a 1940 Dodge truck. As time passed, they kept the 1938 truck. The 1940 model was traded on for different trucks.

Fritz and Ernie, sons to Mr. Herman Wolter, inherited the bakery and the truck with the passing of their father in 1955 and their mother, Marie, in 1964. When Fritz died in 1972, Ernie called his nephew (also named Herman Wolter) and gave him the truck. Herman is the third generation to own the truck and has slowly made repairs and kept the truck in running condition. Herman plans to pass the car onto his daughter, Sue Carr, who will become the fourth generation owner.

Lance Creek History Preserved Through Miller’s Efforts

The guest register at Lance Creek, Wyoming’s museum includes the signatures of school children, locals, passersby, history enthusiasts and people with a connection to the community that was once a bustling hub for oil production.

“Lance Creek was on Hitler’s bombing list because of the amount of oil produced here,” says Tiffany Thurston. Her father, the late Pat Miller, opened the museum in 2008 and with the help of local families set to work growing the collections and preserving local history. While Miller passed away in 2017, his family remains committed to continuing the museum. Thurston, her mother Bev, and a couple of local historians, host school groups and visitors at the museum by appointment. The Wyoming Pioneer Association, recognizing their collective efforts, selected the museum as its 2020 Historic Restoration Award recipient.

Simultaneous to Thurston’s son participating in high school rodeos, past Vice President Dick Cheney’s granddaughter was competing. Upon meeting the former VP at one of the rodeos, Lance Creek was discussed. “He knew right where it was and recalled playing baseball here,” says Thurston. While today’s population sign reads only 43, the community is part of many family histories.

On March 13, 1918, according to an article by Rebecca Hein on WyoHistory.org, an oil well that produced 80 barrels in 24 hours was struck. “Seven months later, on Oct. 6, 1918,” she writes, “the Ohio drilled deeper and this time the well flowed at 1,500 barrels in the first 24 hours. This was recorded as the discovery well.”

The growth that ensued is well documented on the walls of the Lance Creek Museum. “A lady who grew up here and was a photographer took many of these pictures,” says Thurston. “Jack and Carolyn Hammond worked with my dad to identify the photographs.”

Oil derricks dot the skyline in many of the images. Clusters of Cottonwood trees, says Thurston, typically indicate the location of an oilfield camp. Relics within the museum share the story of ranching, rodeo, homesteading, and what could be a challenging life on Wyoming’s plains.

As a young man, Thurston says her dad worked for a time as a house mover. He put those skills to use relocating both a homestead house and a company house to the museum site. The homestead house, once occupied by a man called Scotty who emigrated to the area from Scotland, looks much as it would have when Scotty and his mother called the two-room building home.

Of the “company home” at the museum Thurston says, “There was no insulation. All of the gas you could want was piped right into the home and free. That is what was used to heat them.” Many homes across the community, including a couple of the Miller family’s ranch homes, are remodeled and expanded buildings that once arrived in the Lance Creek community as cookie cutter company homes.

Those who wish to tour the Lance Creek Museum are encouraged to contact Thurston at 307-334-3498 or 307-334-3151.

Jones Recognized For Restoration Of 1950s Model Chevrolets

“TEC1” reads the license plate on Frank Jones’ 1956 Chevrolet 150. The letters are the first initials from the names of his three children – Tammy, Eric and Cathy. The “1” signifies the first project in Jones’ 32 car collection featuring primarily model 1955, 1956 and 1957 Chevrolet cars. Jones’ work has earned him recognition by the Wyoming Pioneer Association’s 2021 Historic Restoration Award recipient.

“I started when I was in high school, playing around with them like everybody does,” says Frank who was raised on a ranch near Glendo and graduated from Glendo High School in 1959. He enlisted in the service, serving stateside for four years, before returning to Wyoming to attend law school. In 1967 he opened his law practice in Wheatland, Wyoming, raising his family there.

“I always liked them,” says Frank of the cars, noting that they are the cars of his generation, “but raising a family I never had time to work on them. In the early 1980s I decided I wanted to find a 1955 Chevy. I found a 1956 in Meeteetse. It didn’t really need restored. It was pretty much original, sitting in a calving shed with about the back third exposed.”

The ranch’s cow foreman, who signed the car over to the ranch prior to his death, ordered the car new from a dealership in Cody, Wyoming. Frank has the original title for the car that now has around 30,000 miles on it. “In the trunk was what I believe to be the original spare tire, and a set of chains. It was the most basic model you could buy. He was a smoker and the only thing extra on the car is the cigarette lighter. It has one sun visor and no armrest or radio,” says Frank. Some of the man’s belongings including a book of matches and two unspent rifle cartridges stamped with a 30, remain in the glove box. “We painted it and redid the interior. Other than that, the car is pretty much original.”

Following that first car, Frank’s passion for the Chevrolets took him to nearly every state across the region. A trip to Butte, Montana once resulted in several cars from a collector where a car was retrieved from a cellar-like dug-out. Another purchase required a chainsaw and the removal of a tree from the engine compartment before the car could be loaded.

According to Frank, the 1950s model cars came with trim packages including the most basic 150, the 210, and the fancier Bel Air and the Nomad. Examples of each model, plus a police car and an ambulance from the era, can be seen in the collection. “We do have three pickups,” says Frank, but the cars are his greatest interest.

Original colors, short a couple that Frank describes as horrible, and parts are typically retained when restoring the cars. “Surprisingly easy, “says Frank when asked how hard it is to find parts. Original parts, if they can be saved, tend to be of higher quality. “If you had a frame and enough money, you could pretty much build one of these cars.”

“The interiors are usually a mess and have to be replaced,” says Frank. Upholstery is ordered pre-sewn and stuffed and put in place at Frank’s shop near Wheatland. A shop employee aids with painting, mechanical and keeping the cars ready to roll. Frank does the electrical work.

In the yard surrounding Frank’s shop, around two dozen cars stand in a row. Some have been the source of parts, others are cars that just haven’t been restored. While Frank isn’t interested in selling any of his restored cars, numerous project cars are available.

If you see Frank on vacation, chances are he’ll be traveling in one of the classic cars. 2021 will mark the twenty-seventh year that he and a group of friends will take a portion of the cars to Deadwood, South Dakota for the Kool Deadwood Nites gathering. “We are going to take 25 cars this year and have a block of 30 rooms,” says Frank of the fun outing with friends. While Frank doesn’t enter car shows, he says he does enjoy seeing them going down the road. A pickup and 32-foot trailer accompany the group so a car can be loaded in case of a breakdown, but Frank says that has only happened once over the years.

Wyoming Pioneer Association

PO Box 1545
Douglas, Wyoming 82633
Est. in 1926
Email Us: WyomingPioneer@icloud.com
Phone: 307-351-6617