The History of the Cheyenne and Green River Railroad
It was in the mid 1800’s that the Union Pacific Railroad completed the Transcontinental Railroad when they joined up with the Central Pacific at Promontory Summit in Utah. There was lots of celebration.
Later on there was a group of men who decided to form an investment group to build a competing railroad from Cheyenne to Green River with the possibilities of constructing even further.
This group of investors included; Henry McCarty, George Parrott, Samuel Bass, Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett and Charles Bowdre. Their investment group was known as the William Investment Group, Inc.
They began their construction in Cheyenne, Wyoming and immediately built in a northwesterly direction following the Crow Creek. Their surveyors were taxed with the chore of finding a route that would avoid difficult elevations so that they could maintain good movement on a steady grade. And so they struggled to find that route around the Laramie Range and beyond. They surveyed on and began to turn to the west. The railroad swung down to a point north of Medicine Bow on the Union Pacific, and then back to a line running north of the Union Pacific. It was during this segment of construction that the crews had befriended a small antelope. They fed and nurtured him as they pressed forward and he in turn followed along. It was during this time that one of the construction workers decided to name their mascot. He chose Sherman for a name, the hill that they had gone around to take a more level faster route. And so the railroad moniker became “Sherman, the route of the raging antelope”.
The line ran thru the desert near Muddy Gap and eventually southwest toward Green River. They built an industrial yard to serve the area which included a railroad car repair shop. The railroad continued on down to the Green River and built a port there to trans-load ship to rail products.
It was about this time that the investment group was going into bankruptcy and took up another profession to try to recoup their losses. Henry McCarty began acts of robbery and became known as Billy the Kid and talked Charles Bowdre to join his gang. They eventually had been shot and killed.
George Parrott saw the path that Henry did so he too decided to take up robbery to recover his lost investments. Samuel Bass did the same and both were taken by the Pinkerton’s agents and local Sheriff’s.
Patrick Floyd Jarvis Garrett went a different route and hired out with Pinkerton’s.
Over the years various investment groups took over control of the C&GR Railroad. For a period of time from 1939 through 1949 the railroad lay dormant with nothing running. In 1950 a group of friends got together and began upgrading this abandoned railroad. These gentlemen did not have a lot of money so it took them until 1970 to get the track and structures back in working order. They even installed block signals to improve the speed of the trains. In 2000 they all decided to retire and passed the railroad on to their children who continue its operation today
So what you see before you today is the Cheyenne and Green River Railroad that began so long ago and is back in service for the future.