One of the most enduring icons of the "wild west" was the saloon. Did you know the very first establishment to ever call itself a saloon was here in Wyoming?

Brown's Saloon was established in 1822 to serve thirsty fur trappers at the Brown's Hole trading fort along the Green River, near the present-day border of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah.

Like other watering holes of its era, they likely made their own whiskey using a variety of ingredients including tobacco, ammonia, turpentine, and gun powder. The homemade whiskey was commonly referred to as "firewater", a term that fur trappers had adopted from trading with local Native American tribes.

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Many of the original old west saloons also brewed beer, which was served at room temperature until refrigeration came along in the 1880s.

In addition to a gathering place, the saloons also served as gambling parlors where trappers would wager their earnings in games of poker and faro. Although there is no official record, Brown's may have also been a brothel.

Historians aren't sure how long Brown's Saloon was in business. They do know that the area later became a hangout for Butch Cassidy and his legendary "Wild Bunch".

The oldest Wyoming saloon still in operation is the legendary Miners and Stockmen's in the town of Hartville, which was established in 1862.

CLASSIC CHEYENNE: The Cole Shopping Center

In December of 2020, Blue Federal Credit Union completed its new headquarters at the corner of Converse and Pershing in Cheyenne. Well, it’s not so much a ‘corner’ as it is the smooth edge of a roundabout, but anyway. Before Blue FCU built its new campus, the site was at one time a premier shopping destination for Cheyenne. From the 1950s through 2016 it was Cheyenne's Cole Shopping Center.

Local businessman Frank Cole bought the land that would become a Cheyenne gathering place in the 1950s when the corner of Converse and Pershing was the edge of town. Starting in 1952, three different Safeway grocery stores called the Cole home over its half-century of existence.  A plethora of other stores served the neighborhood too. From the movie theater to Blockbuster; there was the Cole Department Store, the fabric store, the East Branch of the Carnegie Library, and so much more.

As Cheyenne grew and changed, the Shopping Center fell into decline. Stores closed and new ones didn't take their places. The anchor of the area, Safeway, closed for good in 2016 with much of the rest following. In 2018 the buildings were demolished and the new construction began. 

The Cole was so integral to the neighborhood that when we asked on social media for folks’ memories we were flooded with hundreds of responses. 

Check out many of those memories below, along with several pictures of the Cole Shopping Center, mostly from near the end in the twenty-teens.


Wyoming Restaurants Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives

It's hard not to take this a little personally. Guy Fieri of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives has visited the Cowboy State a few times. Yet each time he stays close to Jackson. The show takes us on a culinary voyage across the U.S, but he's never stopped in Cheyenne, Casper, or even Chugwater.

LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.