The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC) is offering a new series of evening programs and activities for this summer. The programs are free and open to the public.
“We are pleased to offer a variety of exciting and engaging programs on Wyoming and local history,” said Trails Center Director Mike Abel.
The following is the schedule for the summer evening programs:
July 11, 7 p.m.
Calamity Jane’s Story: The Truth, Mostly...
A legend of her own time, “Calamity Jane” is woven into the fabric of the American West. Most everyone knows the name “Calamity Jane,” but few know how Martha Jane became so famous. Glenda Bell, of Powell, Wyo., has been researching Martha Jane for the last 20 years, and has presented programs on Calamity Jane over 2,400 times throughout the United States. Her program will last approximately one hour.
July 18, 6 to 8 p.m.
Bessemer Bend: An Evening of History and Recreation
For western emigrants following the North Platte, Bessemer Bend provided the last opportunity to ford the river. The public is invited to join NHTIC staff member Jason Vlcan at Bessemer Bend for a presentation about this historic site. A picnic dinner and family fun by the river will follow the 20 minute presentation. Bring picnic baskets, footballs, Frisbees and fishing poles. Meet at the NHTIC parking lot at 6 p.m. and follow BLM staff members to Bessemer Bend, located approximately 10 miles west of Casper, off of Highway 220.
July 25, 7 p.m.
Why We Took Off Our Corsets: Is There a Curious Connection Between Undergarments and Suffrage?
Melanie O’Hara, an English and humanities teacher at the Albany County branch of Laramie County Community College, will give a speech on the correlation between women’s undergarments and women’s suffrage. O’Hara compares the lives of East Coast women who traveled west, and how they declared their independence from undergarments which led the way to women’s new-found freedoms. The program is one hour.
The program is in association with the Wyoming Humanities Council’s Humanities Forum.
August 1, 7 p.m.
The Johnson County War: Myths, Misconceptions and Damn Lies
The Johnson County War shaped Wyoming and reverberates to this day. But much of what we know may be wrong. According to Bob Edwards, this was a dark period in Wyoming’s history, and has much to teach us about what happens when wealth and arrogance conflict with liberty and the rule of law. Bob Edwards is the former museum educator and assistant director at the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum in Buffalo. He is also the co-author of Frontier Wyoming.
August 8, 7 p.m.
Tom Horn: Back from the Dead
Chip Carlson will present a stirring portrayal of the famous stock detective who was tried, convicted, and hanged in Cheyenne for the murder of a 14-year-old son of a sheep rancher in 1901. Horn is a famous name in Wyoming history because of the controversies over whether he actually murdered the boy, a confession extracted by a deputy U.S. marshal, and the trial. Chip Carlson, an authority on Tom Horn, lives in Cheyenne and is an author of Tom Horn: Blood on The Moon: Dark History of the Murderous Cattle Detective.
August 15, 7 p.m.
Pony Express re-ride
Join Pony Express re-enactors at the Trails Center for a Pony Express re-ride. The riders will discuss the significance of the Pony Express Trail to both U.S. and Wyoming history. The program will last approximately one hour, and will conclude with a rider galloping into the sunset. Re-enactors include Les Bennington and Rick Bretton. Bennington, of Glenrock, is the national president of the National Pony Express Association.
August 29, 7p.m.
Ella Watson’s Fence: The Story Behind the Lynching of “Cattle Kate”
The six men who lynched Ella Watson near Independence Rock in 1889 were furious about the wire fence she had erected on her Sweetwater valley homestead claim. Watson's murder underscored the tensions between cattlemen and homesteaders, custom and law. Tom Rea explores how sensational newspaper reports created a false portrait of Watson as "Cattle Kate," a rustler and prostitute. The program will last 45 minutes. Tom Rea is a journalist and author of Devil’s Gate: Owning the Land, Owning the Story. He lives in Casper.
Sept. 5, 4 to 8 p.m.
Kearney Frontier Regulars re-enactment
The Kearney Frontier Regulars, from Buffalo and Sheridan, bring frontier military history to life. The Regulars will set up a military camp on the grounds of the Trail Center. Stations will include tents for officers and a laundress. Re-enactors will perform infantry drills, and will talk about the rigors of frontier military life.
For more information about summer evening programs, contact Alex Rose at the NHTIC, (307) 261-7780. The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the BLM and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation. The facility is located at 1501 N. Poplar Street, Casper, Wyo. The Center is currently operating on summer hours, and is open daily, 8a.m. to 7p.m.