Friday, June 29, 2012

Shoshoni, Wyoming and a Bra

View through a hole in the back of an abandoned building in Shoshoni, Wyoming.
(Click images to view larger)

Many of us in Wyoming know about Shoshoni because of Yellowstone Drug, now defunct, but once famous for handmade milkshakes.  With the demise of that business, the abandonment of the old downtown is nearly complete, but when I stopped there this week, a tattooed man from Casper and his young daughter were busy renovating.  "We've been working on it for a few years," he told me.  "I love Shoshoni...I'd love to see more artists move here."  When I asked him what his plan was, he said that he intended to reopen the store as a milkshake place "in a couple of years."  

So there's hope.  

According to Wikipedia, "in some years Shoshoni is the driest town in the Mountain Time Zone," which might partly explain why it's not as populous as it once was.  Established in 1905 on the railroad as a mining town, Shoshoni boomed briefly and then declined.  Millionaire Charles Henry King lived here and built the building that would become Yellowstone Drug.  Surprisingly (Wikipedia again), King was the paternal grandfather of President Gerald Ford, who was born in his Omaha house, where King had moved after leaving Shoshoni.  Shoshoni was also the birthplace of Isabel Jewell, a Hollywood actress who appeared in many films, including Gone with the Wind (a fitting title for a Wyoming girl).  

Apparently, many of the classic downtown buildings that line the east side of the street were damaged by fire.  I walked around back to have a look and discovered the bra.  I'll check in again the next time I'm through, hopefully with a milkshake in hand.

There are some old photos online at this site.

Gambles Department Store, Shoshoni.

Poem and art, Shoshoni.

Window display, Shoshoni.

Window display, Shoshoni.

Store and wall painting, Shoshoni.


  1. is with an i!

  2. Thanks for the correction! I fixed it.

  3. I lived in and went to Shoshoni hi school 1950 when it was booming because of boysen dam.I worked in the now abandoned Conoco gas station on the main high way.Was a great time of my life.
    Bob Berry

  4. Bob--I would love to have seen Shoshoni in the 50s. I'll bet you have some great stories about it. I still enjoy stopping in Shoshoni every time I pass through--even without Yellowstone Drug. Thanks for looking. Best, Ken

  5. thank you ken. it was a great place back then.We lived in a trailor across the highway from the blue,it was a house of ill repute back then.They had one in riverton called the yellow house.
    At that time the town was full of slot machines,it seems there was one in every business.the wagon wheel bar then had a big dance floor in the back.the girl I liked was janet williams.the owner would let us go in there and play the niclelodean?spelling?)for free .Janet actually worked at the soda fountain in the drugstore.
    I have many memories of that town.ty again Ken.

  6. If you want the best handmade malt or shake, Mimi's Diner and Malt Shop has opened up in Shoshoni at 607 W. 2nd and has continued to serve amazing malts and shakes made the way Yellowstone Drug Store did. They have remodeled the interior with the 50's diner theme as well.

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  8. Ken The building that has "greasy wrench"written on the side of it was a gas station in the '50s owned by a family named Albright.I think the youngest one named Don now lives in Dubois.

    1. Hi Bob: Thanks again for the great info. For some reason there were two duplicate comments, so I deleted one of them. I look forward to getting back up to Shoshoni, but haven't been up that way this summer.

  9. Nice to see a piece of history of a boom town. I like buildings that still have the old painted on ads. It's like a old hard cover book with character.