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When Were Wyoming’s Best Known Dams Built?

Some people love history and geography. We feel an innate need to know where things are – whether that be towns, rivers, and/or the projects that dammed them, and when. In Wyoming alone the North Platte has a number of reservoirs.

Here are some of the best known dams in the Cowboy State:

Alcova Dam is a 265-foot tall earthfill dam in central Wyoming, built over three years from 1935 to 1938 on the North Platte River.

Anchor Dam is in Hot Springs County, about 35 miles west of Thermopolis. It’s a concrete dam completed in 1960.

Big Sandy Dam in Sweetwater County 10 miles from Farson is on the Big Sandy River and stands 85 feet high. It was built from 1941 to 1952.

Buffalo Bill Dam on the Shoshone River irrigates the Bighorn Basin. It turned a semi-arid sage covered plain into productive ag land. It was known first as Shoshone Dam when constructed between 1905 and 1910. It is by far Wyoming’s oldest dam.

Flaming Gorge Dam on the Green River in northern Utah extends 91 miles into southern Wyoming, submerging four distinct gorges. Construction continued between 1958 and 1964.

Flaming Gorge Reservoir, wikipedia
Flaming Gorge, wikipedia

Glendo Dam on the North Platte in Platte and Converse Counties contains two hydroelectric turbines and the reservoir is used for irrigation flood control, and water sports. Construction began in 1954 and finished in 1958.

Jackson Lake Dam had one main purpose – to provide water storage for irrigation in the Snake River basin. Jackson Lake is a natural lake but its depth was increased by the dam in 1997.

Pathfinder Dam on the North Platte River, approximately 47 miles southwest of Casper is included on the National Register of Historic Places. It was named for General John C. Fremont, who was nicknamed the “Pathfinder of the West.” It was originally constructed between 1905 and 1909, but has been modified several times.

Seminoe Dam is the uppermost dam on the North Platte River and lies in a narrow, isolated canyon cutting through the Seminoe Mountains about 40 miles northeast of Rawlins. It’s construction lasted from 1936 to 1939.

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