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Need an Army for this State

Written by Dick Perue

In Case of War Extreme Measures will be Taken to Guard Transcontinental Roads

With the threat of the United States becoming involved in World War I, this headline topped the front page of the March 29, 1917 issue of “The Saratoga Sun,” preceded by the following article:

In the event of war, it would require a large army to properly patrol the great transcontinental lines of railroad, particularly in Wyoming and many other western states. Military authorities and secret service operatives point out that the topographical nature of the West is such that the greatest caution should be exercised to protect lines of communication between the East and the West.

Speaking of probable measures in case war were declared between the United States and Germany, the Rocky Mountain News says, “Sherman Pass, on the Union Pacific railroad in Wyoming, is said to be another objective at which the government would concentrate troops. There are several tunnels in that vicinity, of which the blasting of any one would cripple transportation indefinitely.

“The protection of railroad lines would be placed under the direct supervision of the military, according to army officials. Whether or not there would be actual fighting in this section of the country, the presence of a large force would be required just the same.

“Secret service operatives from the Bureau of Investigation cooperate with the army in protecting railroad, since the Bureau in charge of Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona is located in Denver, that city would become the center of most of the secret service operations in the west, it is stated.”

It is said that the Union Pacific has for several weeks employed a large force of guards in this state, placed at many points along the line, several being stationed at the Edison Tunnel, at the bridge over the Platte River at Fort Steele and other danger points in this section.

Threat of war was a worry to many, but the immediate concern in the valley was a severe spring snowstorm, which had closed all roads in and out of Saratoga and Encampment. “The Sun” noted:

S&E Line will be
Opened Soon

U.P. Engine and Rotary Snowplow Now Working in Vicinity of Pass Creek

A determined effort has been made the past few days to open up the local railroad line as far as Saratoga, and reports today are to the effect that good progress is been made and the probabilities are that the line will be open to this point by tomorrow evening, or Saturday at the latest . . . but, then that’s down the road.