BLM Logo
High Desert District
Release Date: 04/15/11
Contacts: Serena Baker,    

High Desert District Cultural Sites Named to
National Register of Historic Places

Two cultural sites in the Bureau of Land Management’s High Desert District have been chosen to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Overview of the
Finley site.

Projectile points
 recovered from the
 Finley site in 1940.

JO Ranch Overview.
Overview of the
JO Ranch.

Barns at the JO Ranch.

Antique farm machinery
at the JO Ranch.

Antique water pump
 at the JO Ranch.

The Finley Site is located within the boundary of the Rock Springs Field Office, and the JO Ranch Rural Historic Landscape is managed by the Rawlins Field Office.

Finley Site

The Finley archaeological site covering 7 acres north of Rock Springs, was discovered by local resident Orion M. Finley in 1940. Originally it was excavated by the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940’s. The site contains prehistoric projectile points called Scottsbluff and Eden points, named due to the site’s proximity to the town of Eden. The Finley site is where the Eden point was first excavated, but the points are also found from southwestern Wyoming east throughout Nebraska, and from Canada south to southern Colorado. The points date back to the end of the Paleoindian period around 9,000 years ago.

The Finley site also contains the only evidence of Paleoindian bison hunting in southwestern Wyoming. Thousands of bison bones from two extinct species have been discovered in shallow deposits during the various excavations.

“The Finley site is important on a national level because it has provided us with important links that help us understand the activities of early people in the Western United States,” says BLM Archaeologist Kathy Miller. For more information regarding the Finley Site, contact Kathy Miller, 307-352-0254.

JO Ranch Rural Historic Landscape

The JO Ranch Rural Historic Landscape, homesteaded by Joseph and James Rankin, served as a sheep ranching operation from its establishment in 1885 into the 1990’s. BLM acquired the JO Ranch in 2004 through a land exchange. The site is well preserved, and still contains a complex of original buildings including ranch and bunk houses; horse, warming, and shearing barns; and a corral system. Today, nearby ranchers still use the loading chute and corrals.

Not only is the JO Ranch highlighted for its architecture, but also for the associated landscape. Hay meadows were cleared and irrigated as early as 1886. The landscape is also marked with abandoned farm equipment and fencing. The site offers a unique look into the late 19th and early 20th century ranching experience, as well as Wyoming history and culture.

“Having a piece of history so significant to the culture and character of Wyoming is special,” BLM Archaeologist Patrick Walker said. “Former successful, working ranches under BLM care are rare, especially one in such good shape.” For questions regarding the JO Ranch, contact Patrick Walker, 307-328-4200.

Being listed on the National Register of Historic Places is sought after, considered very prestigious, and listed properties are eligible for grants to perform preservation work.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

High Desert District   280 Highway 191 North      Rock Springs, WY 82901  

Last updated: 04-15-2011