A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.
In early October of 1921 a buzz began to circulate around Riverton as the Fremont County Natural Gas Company and Hope Engineering Company worked together to bring natural gas piping from Sand Draw to Riverton. The hope was that bringing in this new enterprise to Riverton would also draw in other new and exciting business ventures to the town. With that in mind the Riverton City Council, as well as the Riverton Chamber of Commerce, worked together to form a committee that would be appointed with the sole purpose of creating an event around the arrival of natural gas in Riverton. So on November 19th, 1921 Riverton celebrated the first time natural gas lighting was used to light their main street and main street businesses. This photo, facing east, shows the intersection of Broadway and Main lit up for the first time.
This party promised to be “an affair of success, both indoors and out-of-doors.” Both sides of Main Street, from the intersection of Main and Broadway all the way up to the Depot, were lined with gas-fed pipes that were temporarily buried 6 inches underground. The pipes fed gas to signs that were hung over the Depot and the office for Fremont Natural Gas (located somewhere in the 400 block of east Main) and 8 flaring gas torches were put up on each side of Main Street, from Second street all the way up to Broadway. Finally, a large torch light extended out from the flag pole that was in the center of the intersection.
There were already electric lights up throughout parts of the city, but the main streets and business portion of the city had never been light up with gas lighting like this before. The majority of the celebration was carried out as soon as the sun started to set, with folks strolling down Main Street and some of the businesses staying open late. It ended in a big free dance in the Masonic Temple with a free lunch.
Photographs were taken by E. Pinard who had to wait until well after midnight for the streets to clean out in order to have full exposure time for his images. The crowds were so excited that they threw confetti into the air and danced from 9 o’clock at night to well into the early morning hours. Despite the fact that by all accounts the night of the event was incredibly cold, dropping to somewhere around 20 degrees, the event was still well attended and excitement buzzed around Riverton for weeks after.
Next up for the Fremont County Museums
April 14th, 2pm at the Riverton Museum, “Rabbit Hide Painting”
McDonald’s Children’s Exploration Series
April 19th, 7:00pm at the Pioneer Museum, “150 Year Anniversary of Atlantic City” by
Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series
April 21st, 1-3pm at the Pioneer Museum, “Sheep Shearing Day”
McDonald’s Children’s Exploration Program
The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum rely heavily on the financial support of individuals to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years. Consider making your donation to ensure that the amazing work we have begun can continue to build a valuable resource we can all be proud of. Please make your tax deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.