Physical Features of Wyo in 1897
Physical features of Wyoming are described in detail in the rare book, “Collections of the Wyoming Historical Society” by Robert C. Morris.
In Volume I of the illustrated publication, the state’s terrain is portrayed as thus:
The physical features of Wyoming may be described as mountainous with valleys, bold bluffs, foothills and broad, rolling plains. The mountains have a general direction from the northwest to the southeast and often present the appearance of numerous rivers, including the Missouri, Columbia and Colorado, have their headwaters within the state of Wyoming. Among the largest rivers are the North Platte, which flows for a distance of several hundred miles through central and southeastern Wyoming, the Green River in the southwest, the Snake and Yellowstone in the northwest and the Big Horn and Powder Rivers in the northeast.
Wyoming abounds in grand and beautiful scenery, great natural parks encircled by lofty and majestic mountains, whose forests and meadows teem with game and its waters with fish.
The Yellowstone National Park, set apart by act of Congress as a public pleasure ground, has an area of 3,575 square miles, with an altitude from 6,000 to 12,000 feet above the sea level. This park lies mainly in Wyoming but includes a small part of Montana. The wonderful geysers and thermal springs of this region outnumber those of all the rest of the world together. The former are estimated at about 50, whose waters spout up for a height of from 50 to 200 feet, while of the hot springs. Impregnated chiefly with lime and silica, there are many thousands. Over 10,000 tourists annually visit the park.
There are numerous hot springs in Wyoming reputed to possess rare medicinal virtues, especially those in Fremont, Big Horn and Carbon counties. Baths in these springs, which contain chloride of sodium, sulfur, iron, magnesia and other ingredients in strong solution, are remarkably invigorating and efficacious in the cure of rheumatism and kindred chronic troubles. There are no navigable rivers in Wyoming, and the lack of these natural transportation facilities make it necessary to depend on the development of railway systems. The rivers and their tributaries, however, must always play an important part in the growth of internal commerce, as they afford a natural grade for the approach of railways into the mountains, and the means for watering the country.
The book continues, “Of the total area of Wyoming, 62,645,120 acres, 10,000,000 are capable of being successfully cultivated by . . .” but, then, that’s a thought for our next Wyoming history lesson.