Sep 25, 2015

Cody items could be among Wyoming's top 10 historical artifacts

With your help, a couple items from Cody's olden days could make the list of Wyoming's top 10 historical artifacts.

A collection of tags worn by workers during construction of the Corbett Tunnel (which carries irrigation water west of Cody) and a 117-year-old instrument used to survey the original location of Cody are among 25 entries up for consideration in an online vote.

The Wyoming State Historical Society and the University of Wyoming Libraries picked the top 25 artifacts in celebration of Wyoming’s 125th year of statehood. They built the list after combing through documents, books, fossils, clothing, artwork and other items that were submitted by museums all across the state.

Each artifact showcases a unique aspect of Wyoming history and offers tremendous educational opportunities, the State Historical Society said in a news relase.

You can see the artifacts and vote for your top 10 here. Voting ends Wednesday.

These tags were worn by workers during construction of the Corbett Tunnel. Photos courtesy Wyoming State Historical Society
The 10 Corbett tags, dated 1906-08, were worn by workers during construction of the 3.3-mile Corbett Tunnel, part of the U.S. Shoshone Reclamation Project.

The Shoshone Irrigation Project was the first irrigation project completed in Wyoming, and one of the first in the United States. It resulted in a water-delivery system that would irrigate over 107,000 acres of semi-desert land in the northern Big Horn Basin, according to the entry. 

This was used to survey the town site of Cody in 1898.
The Shoshone project employed 1,500 workers who earned 30 cents per hour, the entry states. That’s approximately $7.25 per hour by today’s standards accoring to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ inflation calculator.

“Often battling extreme seasons and high water, these vigorous workers (became) the unsung heroes of the greening of Northwest Wyoming,” the online entry states. The state’s development was directly impacted by this brilliantly designed and engineered water delivery system. The land and its people still continue to thrive 106 years after its completion.”

Some of the other 25 entries include:

• The instrument used by Charles E. Hayden to survey the town site of Cody in 1898. 

• A branding iron for the OW Ranch.

• A sheepherder’s wagon.

• “Clovis Point” spearheads found with mammoth bones.

• Weekly ration tickets given to American Indian families on the Wind River Reservation.

The original painting for the Wyoming state flag.
• An 1890 speech by the Hon. Joseph M. Carey asking Congress to admit Wyoming as a state.

• A 147-year-old mill from South Pass.

• A handwoven horsehair bridle made by a prisoner at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.

• A missile shell marking FE Warren Air Force Base.

• Panels from a Chinese temple in Evanston

• Stereo views of the Oregon Trail

• An apatosaurus skeleton


• The original painting for the Wyoming state flag designed by Verna Keays in 1916 when she was 23 years old.

The top 10 artifacts will be announced later this fall.

For more information, contact Linda Fabian of the Wyoming State Historical Society at 307-322-3014 or linda@wyshs.org.

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