In September, we took a trip out West and among other things, one of the highlights of our trip for me was a visit to
Ft. Bridger in . Wyoming Ft. Bridger lies 124 miles from . It was very warm that day and we were told that the college students who usually man the different buildings on the fort had returned to school, but we would be able to see the interiors of the fort through Plexiglas and possible enter a few of the buildings, like the jail. Salt Lake City
I was especially intrigued with the small building of the restored school house which was painted white as it was historically. It was the first school house ever in the state of
in 1860. Judge William Carter was appointed as the Army’s Wyoming fort Postmaster at . He established the school for his four daughters and two sons in order that they would be educated and in compliance to meet college entrance standards without further preparation into colleges such as Vassar and Cornell. Only the best instructors in the East were employed. Ft. Bridger
In my photograph, the right side of the building was only one room, barely large enough to accommodate the teacher’s desk, blackboard, and four student desk. The building attached on the left was the milk room. I took this picture of the interior through the window since it was closed because of lack of student volunteers. It was like stepping back in time as I wondered how hard it must have been to keep warm in the winter. Just down the walk was the parade ground. Behind the school were the fort’s stables and where the wagons were kept. Housed in the same square was a stable for the pony express. In the same area was the dining hall and commissary.
It was hot the day we were there and the air very still and silent. I could just hear the children’s happy voices as they made their way to the little school house where the teacher awaited them with her prepared lessons, while the soldiers, busy with morning drill and activities, paused to greet the children as they sauntered by. I stood and marveled that these buildings were still preserved after all these years, and contemplated a simpler time that allowed one to hear the morning trill of a nearby bird perched on the fence, the wind howling around the outpost promising another harsh winter in the offing with the only real concerns were of possible Indian attacks or snowstorms. No cell phones, computers, twitter, radios or TV’s to occupy them or cars clogging the peaceful prairie roads. I wonder if I would have been strong enough mentally and physically to endure what the pioneers were able to withstand. Maybe that’s why I enjoy the history so much and being able to write novels about a different era.
It was said of Judge Carter that he was a man of culture, devoted to science and literature. He was generous and his hospitality knew no limits. He gave of his time and means to advance his home community and
I could tell you so much more about the history of
and Judge Carter, and perhaps I’ll revisit it again in another post. Mainly because right now I’m in the middle of galleys for book 3, A Love of Her Own in my Heart of the West series and have a book signing in Kennesaw tomorrow. So much history…so little time. Ft. Bridger