Time Line

These historical events have been extracted from various Star Valley Historical Society archival sources...

1801: Thomas Jefferson becomes the newly-elected President of the United States. Part of his campaign platform includes westward expansion.

1803: The United States doubles its size by negotiating the Louisiana Purchase. The United States' new western boundary is the Rocky Mountains.

1804: Meriwether Lewis and William Clark explore the Northwestern region of the United States.

1808: The Yellowstone area is explored by John Colter.

1811: Wilson Price Hunt's Astorians discover the Mad River (Snake). Deeming it too treacherous, they decide not to travel on it.

1818: Hudson's Bay trappers known to be in the Star Valley area.

1823: Rocky Mountain Fur Company trappers see a portion of the Bannock Indian tribe at the junction of the Snake and Salt Rivers.

1827: The first publication of the description of Yellowstone written by a trapper.

1830: Warren Angus Ferris, Company trapper, records his thoughts regarding the "Boiling Kettles", North of present day Auburn.

1831: Bridger, Sublette and "Doc" Newell report a skirmish with Blackfeet Indians on Grey's River.

1835: Captain Walker and about 55 trappers work from the Bear River to Smith's Fork in early August. They have a run in with a bear in the area of Allred Flats and one man is killed.

1839: Joe Meeks traps the Salt River with a Shawnee Indian named Big Jim.

1840: Russell crosses the Salt River Valley in May.

1843: "Oregon Fever" - Westward immigration.

1846: Mormons flee westward from Illinois.

1847: Mormons enter Salt Lake Valley.

1848: California Gold Rush - Gold discovered at Sutter's sawmill.

1857: Lander's Cutoff surveyed and construction begun under the direction of Frederick West Lander.

1860: James Granville Stuart buys and trades livestock with emmigrants in Salt River Valley.

1861: Abraham Lincoln elected President of the United States. George Goodheart, working for American Fur Company, chances upon a group of trappers at the mouth of Salt River packing up furs and preparing for a quick exit from the Valley because of marauding Blackfeet Indians.

1865: President Lincoln assassinated.

1866: The Oneida Salt Works is established on Scott's Fork by B. F. White and J. M. Stumpp. The majority of salt is sent to the gold fields of Montana and the Northwest where it is used in refining ore.

1867: Union Pacific Railroad pushed across Wyoming.

1868: Evanston sees first train.

1869: May 10th. Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads link at Promontory, Utah. With the coming of the continental railroad, emigrant travel over the Lander Cut-Off declines rapidly, as does the need for Oneida salt. December 1st. Uinta County created.

1870: Gold discovered at Cariboo Mountain, located on the western side of the Salt River Valley.

1872: March 1st. Yellowstone National Park created by Congress thus becoming the first National Park in the world. Elizabeth Paul and child buried along the Lander Trail at Labarge Creek.

1873: Evanston incorporated as a city.

1874: Cokeville established.

1876: December 15th. Exploration party from Fort Ellis, Montana Territory emerges from disastrous trip down the South Fork of the Snake. They spend a cold night in an aspen grove and make their way up McCoy Creek the next day, receiving aid from gold miners.

1877: Moses B. Thatcher and William B. Preston, Presiding Bishop of the LDS Church, visit upper Salt River enroute from Bear Lake Settlements. Several uninhabited Shoshoni wickiups are seen. The Desert Land Act went into effect - applicants must be residents of the U.S. and age 21. Land was $0.25 an acre.

1878 Two cabins built by trappers are noted in the Valley. August 29th. Brigham Young Jr., dedicates Salt River Valley as the gathering place for the "Saints". Services are held along the Salt River about five miles northwest of the site of Afton.

1879: May 7th. Mormon Apostles, Charles C. Rich and Moses Thatcher appointed to supervise the founding of LDS settlements in Salt River Valley. First settlers in Lower Valley arrive at the present site of Freedom in the early summer. Group includes: Mr. and Mrs. William Heap, Mr. and Mrs. John Rolph and sons, Albert and Jay Maroni and Cynthia Hunt and family, Frank Cross and John and Hannah Hill.
First settlers at Stumpp Creek (Auburn) arrive in August. Group includes: Harmon Lehmberg, James and Amanda Simmons Sibbett with four children, Sam Sibbet, Jacob Grover, Mr. and Mrs. Dave Robinson with six children, Will Simmons and Hyrum and Anna Simmons.
October 28th. Theodore Simmons is born at Stumpp Creek to Hyrum and Anna Sibbett Simmons. The first group of immigrants to arrive over the Crow Creek road settle in Star Valley. Hannah LaBelle Sibbett was born first Winter in Stump Creek.

1879-80: Severe winter. Extra heavy snows and cold weather catch setlers off guard. Many reports of losing cattle, trips out of the Valley on foot to get food, etc.

1880: September 3rd. Meetings with Church leaders and new settlers. Charles D. Cazier set apart to preside over LDS branch. Settlers advised to relocate on east side of valley at mouth of Swift Creek. Moses Thatcher renames valley "Star Valley" and President Budge suggests name of "Afton" as name for new townsite.
September: Aaron Heap is born to William and Sarah Ann Heap at Freedom; first baby born in Lower Valley.

1881: Post office named "Charleston" is established; Charles D. Cazier is new Postmaster. No regular mail is sent or received. Tie hackers work Grover and Jensen Canyons.

1882: Edmunds-Tucker Anti-Polygamy Act enacted. Accelerates migration into Star Valley between 1885-86.

1885: October. Alfred Dixon is born at Afton to Harvey and Susan Elizabeth Harmon Dixon. Osmond is settled.

1886: William Walton Burton opens general store. August 25th. John Phillips of Grover harvests first grain in Valley. Sophronia Phillips, first child born in Grover. Meeting house built in Afton. Freedom Branch organized.

1887: Edmond Hepworth and family come into the Valley, then built 2 cabins at Homer West. University of Wyoming is opened. Stump Creek area organized as part of Afton Branch of the LDS Church.
May 1st. School election held in Afton. School district organized and school board elected: Charles D. Cazier, A. Lu Hale and A. C. McCombs. Log school house built on Fourth Avenue in Afton, two blocks west of Washington Street. Cottonwood (Smoot) settled. Permanent settler's home built in Glenco (Thayne). Afton Branch organized into a Ward.

1888: Establishment of the first school district at Grover. The first school began at Grover. Cabin built in Bedford. Townsite surveyed at Stump Creek; name changed to Auburn. Mail route established for semi-weekly delivery from Montpelier to Afton. Etna organized into the "Liberty Branch" of the LDS Church.

1889: U.S. post office established in Fairview with Phoebe Irene Allred as postmaster. The first burial took place in Grover. William Sant is buried. Fairview Branch organized. First medical doctor, Arthur V. Stroughton, locates in Valley.

August 24th. Post Office established at Grover.
October 7th. Post Office established at Auburn.
December 18th: Post Office established at Fairview. Gardner's Grist Mill established at mouth of Swift Creek. Seventeen years later Intermittent Spring would be discovered as reason for unusual stream flow. Rock Meeting House established in Auburn. Afton has population of 60 families.
June 30th: Afton Ward divided. Branches in both valleys are organized into Wards. Those living on townsite of Afton remain in Afton Ward.
July 1st: Auburn Ward organized. |
July 1st: Grover Ward organized.
July 2nd: Fairview Ward organized.
July 2nd: Cottonwood Ward organized. Freedom Church house built. "The Hard Winter", a repeat of the 1879-80 winter. Tom McCarty and Matt Warner winter in the Valley.

1890: Turnerville settled.

July 10th: Wyoming gains statehood as 44th state in the Union.
October 29th: Old Convict Road from Cokeville to Star Valley completed.
May 8th: Thayne Post office established. Name changed from Glenco to avoid confusion with Glenco, Wyoming. Auburn has 178 people. Heber A. Holbrook is the school teacher. Dr. Pugmire is practicing in Afton. First election held in Fairview.
June 17th: Freedom Ward organized. Glenco Ward organized - includes Bedford and Turnerville. 174 LDS families listed in Star Valley - 1041 adults.

1891: Caroline Sprague Campbell and her baby died; first grave in Fairview. Orson Tolman first man from Fairview to die from diptheria.

1892: John Days Lake was officially changed to Greys Lake. Star Valley Stake organized with George Osmond as President, William W. Burton and Anson V. Call as councilors and William Henry Kenning as clerk.

1894: Butch Cassidy and Al Hainer winter in Star Valley; arrested in Spring.
August 10th: Strawberry Creek Branch organized which included Bedford and Turnerville areas. John C. Dewey began running the Fairview Post Office.

1895: Star Valley Indian scare.

1896: Bedford Ward organized; includes Turnerville.

1897: Fairview's "Free Silver Band" organized by Thomas Hood; first of many such brass bands in the Valley.

1898: "Big Sheep Raid". Range lands adjacent to Fairview are divided between sheep and cattle interests.

1900: June 1st. Decision made to erect a $3,000.00 school house containing six large rooms, besides recitation rooms, offices, etc. Extensive government land between Bedford and Freedom opened to settlers. Burton Creamery established in Afton. Wyoming Census shows 393 families in Star Valley. Idaho Census shows 24 families on the western side of the Valley.

1901: First issue of the Star Valley Pioneer, first newspaper published (February 13th). The Star Valley Pioneer newspaper cost $1.50 per year. Afton votes to incorporate in first town election. A. V. Call elected Mayor.

1902: Conrad Vaterlaus took over the Star Valley paper as Editor and Publisher. Afton incorporated. Burton & Sons store install high pressure gas lights. Afton telephone connected to Montpelier through Crow Creek. Contract made to build Tincup road. Stagecoach between Afton and Montpelier, daily, cost $2.00. 400 homestead entries during this month (April).

1903: Afton Fire Department organized.

1904: Town of Afton paid $40.00 for a lot for the town jail. Star Valley Pioneer newspaper renamed Star Valley Independent.

1905: Town of Afton purchased 6-1/4 acres for cemetery for $125.00.

1906: Faler Freight Lines established by Vent Faler.

1907: The Afton State Bank is founded.

1908: Teton National Forest created. Call's Hall - Opera House built.

1910: The Afton Opera House burned down.

1911:L incoln County created.

1912: The first school started in Alpine.

1913: First Lincoln County Fair held at fairgrounds in Afton. Welch Hall built in Afton. Globe Theater, Afton's first, built on Main Street.

1914: Serious diptheria scare prevailed. 1915 First class graduated from Star Valley High School. Prisoners start work on the Cokeville/Star Valley road. Over 30 teams and scrapers are being used on the Afton/Cokeville road to make improvements. First airplane landed in Star Valley. Govenor inspects the Cokeville/Afton road. Halfway hotel on the Afton/Cokeville road is now completed and occupied.

1916: Lot for Star Valley High School was purchased. It took 18 teams and 22 men to move the slides from Geneva-Montpelier road. People of Star Valley are raising funds to finish the Cokeville/Star Valley road. 15 convicts from the State Penitentiary are coming to work on the Star Valley/Afton roads. Auto trucks are being purchased for stage line and mail service. K. Cook, early Afton resident, running a stage line twice a week to the Burgoyne Hotel in Montpelier, Idaho.

1917: Town of Afton purchased Fair Grounds from Lincoln County. Linger Longer Saloon in Afton closes doors to public. Valley now dry.

1918: Jennie Rees bought the store and post office at Alpine - honey was $2.00 per 5 gallons. All of Star Valley under quarantine for the Spanish Flu. Foreman George Mead with a group of convicts began the Star Valley to Cokeville road.

1919: Snow did not arrive in Star Valley until this day (15 February). Homecoming and victory celebration held for service men. Thirteen scholars graduated from Star Valley High School. First Seminary graduation in Star Valley - third oldest Seminary in the history of the LDS faith, and first outside of Utah.

1920: Coal $5.00 per ton at Will Roos's coal mine in Salt Canyon. Bids to be opened for Cokeville to Afton highway - will extend the road 4 miles south of Smoot. Afton to Cokeville road to be completely shaled. Engineers began surveying the Montpelier/Afton highway. Great battle being waged by farmers in Star Valley against grasshoppers. Stores to close in Afton on Wednesday Afternoons, so don't come to town (notice in Star Valley Independent).

1921: From Jackson, bridge is completed across Snake River. Game licenses on sale; 15 birds $0.50 - 30 fish $1.00

1924: Star Valley Independent put in a telephone for patrons to call in the news. Whitewashed star built on hill east of Afton as a symbol for Star Valley High School. The U.S. Interior Department granted Dr. West and Ben Nield a coal lease on Blind Bull Creek on Greys River.

1925: Dr. Beal opens LDS hospital after being closed for seven years.

1926: Ernest Brog first began making swiss cheese. Dr. West is putting on more quarantine restrictions. New power plant installed in Afton by Afton Electric Co.

1927: Thomas J. White, nearly lost his life crossing Snake River when the cable broke. Opening of new cheese factory 2 miles south of Afton. Ernest Bog opened the first cheese factory in Freedom. Star Valley State Bank formed from merger of Afton State Bank and Freedom State Bank. The Burton Mercantile store closed.

1928: Contract let for oiling road from from Forest Dell to Geneva.

1929: Grand Teton National Park created. Dr. O. L. Treloar began practice in Star Valley.

1932: Star Valley Creamery Company, in Afton, started making cheese.

1934: Afton Library opened and dedicated.

1935: New "Wray" theater opened at Afton. Town of Afton purchased first fire truck at a cost $1,502.72. Dr. Samuel H. Worthen came to Star Valley to practice.

1936: The Strawberry Canal Company was incorporated.

1937: Incorporation of Lower Valley Power and Light.

1938: Electric service supplied for 287 Lower Valley Power and Light members. Vail Coal Mine explosion on Deadman Creek, Greys River, kills four miners.

1939: Grand Opening of the Valleon Ballroom. Star Valley High School has 6th largest school in Wyoming - enrollment 442. Sam Young reports 48 inches of snow on Greys River (May 12th). Completion of the Afton sewer system. The road between Star Valley and Jackson Hole completed.

1940: Contract let for oiling remainder of Highway 89 through Star Valley. Call Aircraft completed their first airplane.

1941: Fish Creek Divide ski lift in operation. CCC camp disbanded.

1942: The worst hailstorm in many years hit Fairview.

1943: The Star Valley LDS Seminary was dedicated. Afton Lions Club organized.

1944: A Japanese "balloon bomb" exploded near Thermopolis.

1945: Ralph Flygare and Associates purchase Valleon Hotel.

1946: The official starting of Cutter Racing Association. Construction boom hits Afton main street. 8 new buildings in progress. Etna is growing town - seven new businesses opened. Ski lift built at South End. Work starts on new creamery building in Thayne - consolidation of all creameries of Star Valley Swiss Cheese Association.

1947: Thayne citizens file official papers for incorporation of the town. Disastrous blaze destroyed Gardner Brothers sawmill at Afton. Wyoming driver's license law went into effect. Valleon Hotel and Ballroom books several nationally famous dance bands. Catholic Church north of Afton dedicated. No snow on ground on Valley floor (29 Feb 1947).

1948: Ranchers in Crow Creek are receiving electricity in their homes. Powerful lightning bolt knocks out Afton power plant - town in dark for several hours.

1949: 1,000-foot ski tow in operation east of Afton - Reed Nelson and Keith Robinson. Drivers Ed class began in the Star Valley High School, with a Wray Chevrolet.

1950: Vital link of Star Valley/Yellowstone highway completed.

1951: Gardner Brothers Sawmill at Afton again destroyed by fire. The new Auburn Ward chapel was dedicated. 95 inches of snow fell on the the Blind Bull Snow Course. Bedford Ward Church burned down. $60,000 damage.

1952: Actual construction starts on Palisades Dam Project on Snake River.

1953: Burglars get $24,000 in Star Valley Bank robbery. Call Air started building snow cars to meet increased demand in deep snow.

1955: A 20x100 foot chicken coop and 1300 chickens burned up at the State Experiment Farm in Afton. $29 million dollar contract let for Palisades Dam Project.

1956: Call Air A-5 was licensed by CAA.

1958: World's largest elkhorn arch built across Afton's Washington Street. Structure has a total of 3,011 antlers and weighs over 15 tons.