Last May, between a day of ceremonies at Promentory, Utah, celebrating the Transcontinental Railroads 150th anniversary and a historic steam engine double-header featuring Union Pacific's Big Boy 4014 and 844 passing through Echo Canyon in Utah I found myself with a day free to do some road explorations in Western Wyoming. Before leaving for the trip I contacted "Greetings from the Lincoln Highway" author Brian Butko for recommendations on what was interesting and worth seeing in the area. One of the many excellent recommendations he made was a section of the Lincoln in Wyoming between Lyman and Granger. Always a sucker for a remote stretch of historic roadway I did my research and put it on my trip itinerary.
I left the Interstate prior to Fort Bridger and drove Business 80 through town and on into Lyman. On the east side of Lyman I found the section of dirt road marked by the familiar red, white, and blue sign with the blue "L" on it. From here on it was all dirt road but relatively well maintained and still used regularly.
Roadbed leading away from Business 80 east of Lyman
After passing through a causeway under the interstate I crossed the first of two pony trusses that pass over Blacks Fork River. The wide open land in this area looked to be used primarily by ranchers and at one point had to make my way through a herd of sheep. I didn’t find a date on the bridges but my suspicion is that they date to sometime during the period when the roadbed was US 30S.
Pony Truss bridge across the Blacks Fork River
Looking back south and west at the road that was just driven.
The second pony truss sits about 4.5 miles further down the road from the first.
Pony Truss #2 looking back over the road just driven
The next noticeable landmark is the eroded sandstone cliffs of the Church Buttes. It is alleged that the formation was given its name by Mormon pioneers for their steeple-like needles, however, the formation was a significant landmark along the Oregon and California trails as well as the Lincoln and US 30S later on. One report I read stated that there was a service station located across the road from the buttes, which is fitting as the area is now dominated by oil production.
Continuing east, the signs of oil production dominate the landscape as you go past an ugly and loud compressor station. At about the 10 mile mark east of the Church Buttes you reach Granger junction, or as it is listed on my 1941 road map, Little America. The junction sat at the intersection of the Oregon Trail and Overland Stage Trail and later was the split between US 30N and US 30S. The town of Granger itself sits a couple of miles to the northwest. Today Little America is a travel center located near the junction of I-80 and the current US 30.
The junction at Granger as it is today. The road to the left was the route of the Lincoln and US 30S towards Ogden and the road on the right was US 30N and followed the Oregon Trail to Portland.
And the junction as it was in 1927 (Scanned from Brian Butko’s “Greetings from the Lincoln Highway”)
A mile and a quarter further east the road intersects with US 30 which can be followed back to the Interstate, past the present day location of the Little America, Green River, and points east.