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Part 1: History lives on at the Stagecoach Museum

Posted: Thursday, Oct 4th, 2012

Above is the front from the oldest building in Lusk owned by ellis Johnson. It was originally at the townsite of Silvercliff in 1886. The log part of this building is from the Rawhide Butte State Station. This historic building is behind the Stagecoach Museum and is part of the museum’s tour. Photo/Phillip Collins

While interpretations of history can vary radically, few would contest the importance of preserving the relics that tangibly attest to its passage. Even fewer could question the Stagecoach Museum’s commitment to such preservation, as is evidenced by a recently completed restoration effort. Equipped with the fruits of its fundraising efforts and a recreational grant through the local school board, the Stagecoach Museum has refurbished three historical buildings located just behind the two-story venue.

Chief among these aged structures is ironclad store, which was transplanted from Silver Cliff in 1886. Situated along the old stagecoach route, Silver Cliff was the original town site. At the time, a majority of the rural community was composed of tents. The ironclad store was the only wooden structure.

The transplantation of the store in what would eventually become Lusk was necessitated by the somewhat disadvantageous placement of the railroad. Evidently, the tracks were laid too far from Silver Cliff to be exploited commercially.

Elaborating on this unfortunate consequence of geographical karma, Stagecoach Museum volunteer Eleanor Aamodt said, “When they put the railroad in, they missed it and the town and store owners were really unhappy.”

In hopes of placing the store and town nearer to the railroad, renowned Wyoming rancher Frank S. Lusk donated some land that was located roughly a mile east of Silver Cliff.

“So, he plotted it out and gave the land to the town and moved everything over the hill,” Aamodt said.

For the complete article see the 10-03-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-03-2012 paper.

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