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Top Five Oddest Wyoming Attractions

Top Five Oddest Wyoming Attractions

(Wyoming) - Everyone knows Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, and Jackson Hole but Wyoming is full of places off the beaten path that are beautiful, odd, and just plain interesting. Here is our list of Wyoming's can't miss attractions that you might not have heard of. *1. Hell's Half Acre * *[image: HellsHalfAcre.jpg]* Hell's Half Acre is a large scarp located about 40 miles west of Casper on US 20/26 Encompassing 320 acres, this geologic oddity is composed of deep ravines, caves, rock formations and hard-packed eroded earth. Hell's Half Acre was used as the location for the fictional planet of Klendathu in the movie Starship Troopers. The location was known as "The Devil's Kitchen", "The Pits of Hades", and "The Baby Grand Canyon" until a cowhand appeared and thought he was at Hell's Half Acre, an area southwest of Casper full of alkali and bogs. Native American tribes used the ravines to drive bison to their death during their hunts. As of December 2005, the roadside restaurant and motel/campground sitting atop the ravine were closed. The motel and the abandoned restaurant have since been torn down. The area is fenced off and there is no public access to the cliff edge nor the valley itself, but there is an interpretive sign west of the former restaurant. *2. Fossil Bone Cabin * *[image: Fossil_Cabin.JPG]* The Fossil Cabin near Medicine Bow, Wyoming, United States, was built in 1932 as a roadside attraction. The cabin is built of dinosaur bones excavated at nearby Como Bluff, using a total of 5,796 bones. The cabin was built as part of a gasoline filling station along US 30 by Thomas Boylan. Boylan had come from California to homestead in Wyoming and had been collecting bones for seventeen years, intending to create sculptures of dinosaurs in front of his house and gas station along the Lincoln Highway. Thomas Boylan was born in Humboldt County, California, in 1863. He arrived in Wyoming in 1892, working for sheep ranching operations until 1904, when he switched to cattle. Boylan filed for a homestead near Como Bluff in 1908, where extensive deposits of fossilized dinosaur bones had been discovered in the 1870s. His 5,796 bones weighed 102,116 pounds. Initially intending to erect a complete skeleton, Boylan was daunted by the task, as well as the likelihood that few of the bones came from the same animal, or even the same species. Boylan, with the help of his son, built the 29-foot by 19-foot cabin in 1932 for the 1933 tourist season. By 1936 Boylan had postcards printed, calling it the "Como Bluff Dinosaurium." In 1938 the cabin was promoted in Ripley's Believe It or Not as "The World's Oldest Cabin",[4] although many common rock formations predate the era of dinosaurs. After the Ripley mention, Boylan also called the cabin the "Creation Museum" and "The Building that Used to Walk." Boylan died in 1947. Operated by his widow, Grayce, the gas station continued until the 1960s, when the construction of Interstate 80 caused a fall-off in traffic on Route 30. Grayce sold the property in 1974.[4] The cabin has since been offered for sale. One potential buyer has proposed moving the cabin to North Carolina for display.[2] The Fossil Cabin was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008 *3. The Smith Mansion * *[image: IMG_1659.jpg]* It turns out, most of the rumors you’ve heard about the Smith Mansion are true. But they’re true in an even more fantastical, magical way than they seemed in the stories people from around these parts would tell – Truer when you see the genius and imagination of (Francis) Lee Smith up close rather than as a speeding snapshot from down on the highway. “He was a genius,” said Smith’s daughter, Sunny Smith Larsen. “Even with every day things – he just saw them different. He was very eccentric. He was a visionary and an artist in every sense of the word.” Smith fell from one of the mansion’s roofs to his death in April 1992. “My dad was a small guy – just 5’11”,” said Sunny. “But he built all this by hand. He had the mind he needed to just make it work.” Smith, who grew up in Cody and graduated from Cody high school, never stopped adding more vision and infrastructure to what began as a small family cabin. He sought to build a structure that would mimic the spirit of nature surrounding it. For 22 years, he labored on the home-turned mansion in the precise spot he loved: the mansion lies in the exact middle point of the Wapiti Valley. “He had no blueprints for the house – he built as he went depending on the materials he could find, which were all recycled and reused,” said Sunny. “Every piece of timber here came off Rattlesnake Mountain by hand. He would haul five or six logs in his half-ton pickup. For the bigger logs, he’d use horses.” Much unused timber still lies within and around the mansion, leaving those left behind to wonder what Smith – who worked as an engineer at Engineering Associates in Cody until his death – had planned for the house’s final form. Many know the story that Smith fell to his death from the heights of his 77-foot-tall labor of love while continuing to build onto it. But Smith didn’t fall from even remotely close to the building’s tallest point. “He had worked on this for over 22 years and never tied off,” said Sunny. “He’d fallen from the top twice – one time he was very bruised and once hurt his knee. But wouldn’t you know it was a 12 foot fall that killed him.” A broken 12×4 piece of wood fell to where the 48-year-old Smith was working on one of the mansion’s lower roofs, hit him, and knocked him down to a still lower roof, where he couldn’t hang on and fell to his death. The Smith Mansion is currently closed to the public but can be seen from the road to Yellowstone just outside of Wapati. *4. Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument* *[image: Wyoming_Lincoln_Monument_3.jpg]* This colossal bust was commissioned to mark the highest elevation along the cross-country thoroughfare known as the Lincoln Highway, and while it has been moved it still looms over I-80. The Lincoln Monument is a bust of Abraham Lincoln by Robert Russin, 12 1⁄2 feet high and resting on a 30-foot-tall granite pedestal, at the Summit Rest Area on Interstate 80 east of Laramie, Wyoming. Russin originally erected the sculpture in 1959 nearby on Sherman Hill, overlooking the old U.S. Highway 30 (Lincoln Highway). In 1969, after Interstate 80 was built, state officials moved the monument to become a centerpiece at the Summit Rest Area and Visitor Center between the cities of Cheyenne and Laramie. The construction of Lincoln's bust began more than a decade earlier and thousands of miles to the south of Sherman Hill and the Summit Rest Area. Russin decided when planning the sculpture that the wild temperatures swings of the Wyoming plains would not provide the stable environment that he needed to craft the Lincoln sculpture. Instead, he turned to Mexico City. Russin built the 4,500-pound bronze bust in Mexico during a period of 11 months using some 10 tons of clay in a lost-wax process of casting. Russin cast Lincoln's monumental bust in more than 30 bronze pieces designed to be bolted together. He then shipped the sculpture from Mexico to Laramie. The first leg of the 1958 shipment featured rail travel to Denver, Colorado. The statute came up from Mexico with armed guards from the Mexican Army, because they were afraid that someone was going to steal it. The Lincoln bust was transported north from Denver to Laramie by truck. All went well until the truck reached Laramie. Joe Russin recalls: "My dad hadn’t thought about how low the wires were over Grand Avenue. So they had to move it through Laramie really early in the morning and they cut the electric and telephone wires for each block as they went through." The Wyoming Parks Commission dedicated the Lincoln Monument in 1959 to commemorate Lincoln’s 150th birthday. Originally the bust was located at the highest point on the Lincoln highway from New York to San Francisco. “The grandeur of the landscape recalls the nobility of his soul,” Russin wrote referencing President Abraham Lincoln. The bust was transferred to its present beside of interstate 80, after that highway was finished in 1969. An estimated 200,000 travelers view the monumental sculpture annually. *5. Ames Brothers Pyramid * *[image: Ames_Monument_(Laramie,_Wyoming).jpg]* The Ames Monument is a large pyramid in Albany County, Wyoming, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and dedicated to brothers Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames, Jr., Union Pacific Railroad financiers. The brothers garnered credit for connecting the nation by rail upon completion of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Oakes, a U.S. representative to the United States Congress from Massachusetts, asserted near total control of its construction, whereas Oliver became president of the Union Pacific Railroad (1866 - 1871). In 1873 investigators implicated Oakes in fraud associated with financing of the railroad. Congress subsequently censured Oakes, who resigned in 1873. He died soon thereafter. The Ames Monument marked the highest point on the transcontinental railroad at 8,247 feet However, Union Pacific Railroad Company twice relocated the tracks further south, causing the town of Sherman that arose near the monument to become a ghost town. The Norcross brothers of Worcester, Massachusetts built the monument for employing some 85 workers who lived on site, "where reportedly no liquor or gambling was allowed." Workers cut the stone for the pyramid from a granite outcropping common in the area. They then used oxen teams to skid the stone a half-mile to the work site. The rough-faced granite blocks used to construct the monument in many cases weigh several tons. Workers constructed the pyramid about 300 yards south of the tracks on a small knoll. When completed in 1882, the Ames Monument stood 300 feet south of, and 32 feet above, the highest elevation of the original tracks of Union Pacific transcontinental railroad at 8,247 feet. The U.S. president, Rutherford B. Hayes, underscored the importance of the transcontinental railroad and thereby the Ames brothers by attending the monument's dedication ceremony. So there you have it, the oddest attractions in Wyoming. If there are any of your favorite obscure attractions that we may have missed be sure to let us know! #reboot #news