Gold Mining Exhibits highlights migration to the Lander Valley

The discovery of gold around South Pass brought the first significant permanent population of white people to this part of Wyoming. As the gold played out, miners moved from the mountains to the valley to become farmers, ranchers and businessmen in the new town of Lander.

A new exhibit at the Pioneer Museum in Lander traces the South Pass gold boom from the discovery of gold in the 1840s, to the big booms of the 1870s, and the eventual bust that left the mining district full of ghost towns.

The exhibit was created with the help of the staff at South Pass City State Historic Site, and features mining tools, including a rare Leyner drift drill. The display also looks at the geology of the gold district and has samples of ore bearing quartz.

According to Museum Curator Randy Wise, the exhibit helps explain the development of the Lander Valley. “Many of the prominent early names in Lander’s history started at South Pass, Atlantic City or Miners Delight. Amoretti, Baldwin, and Nickerson are all considered city fathers of Lander, and they all came here to work the gold mines.” Wise said the exhibit traces the lives of several of these pioneers from the mines to successful lives in the Valley.

The Pioneer Museum’s hours are Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Call the museum at 307-332-3373 for more information, or visit the museum Facebook page: Pioneer Museum Lander Wyoming.