While the Union Paeific railroad was being built over the hills and valleys of Southern Wyoming in the late 60s, the first residents of Green River were building their homes out of material found in their own front yards, namely adobe, in the southeastern part of what is now the town, in the vicinity of the Electric Light Plant.
The Union Pacific proceded west to its connection with the Central Pacific at Promontory Point, Utah. Bryan,12 miles west, was made Division Point but, on account of the scarcity of water in the summer months, in 1879 it was moved to Green River. The following is rather a personal history of the town as I first remember it.
The railroad property stood where it does today and consisted of a small round house, perhaps five stalls, a coal house, water tank, machine shop, and carpenter shop. Between the last two and the round house was the only spot of green planted by man in the town, a circular plot with grass and cottonwood trees, enclosed by a fence and watered by a revolving spray in its center. The yards consisted of three or four lines of tracks. Slightly to the west of our splendid brick station the old station stood, and also the Kitchen Hotel and the lunch counter. Between the hotel and the express room was a bear pit and a cage of mountain lions. The town proper comprised the two main streets running parallel with the tracks. On the south side between the tracks and the street were two deep depressions into which flowed in the spring the melted snow water or the overflow of rain, which afforded we children the sport of coasting and sliding in the winter, and in the spring and early summer rafting and catching tadpoles. It was also a wonderful breeding place for mosquitoes.
Starting at the west end where the river was spanned by a wooden bridge west of the pump house, a short distance east were two small houses, one the home of my aunt, the other the home where I was born. Then along the river bank were four other homes occupied by railroad men and between those and the shops were two houses owned by the railroad. About two blocks east were the business houses of the south side: first a brick general store, then a dwelling house, a barber shop, a saloon, a bakery, a shoe shop, a meat market, a rooming house, a dwelling house, a hotel and saloon, a small adobe dry goods and hardware store, and the post office and back of that the barns of the stage line that carried mail and passengers between here and Lander. Across the street from the post office to the north was the Hammond home. On the north side of the tracks at the bridge were the section house and two or three small houses then the company house the same as today except there were seven. One burned down where the two-storied one now stands. They were all painted red as all U.P. buildings were then, and were fenced at the rear to the next street. We children often climbed over or crawled under this fence in search of wild flowers that grew in the neighborhood. Next came the Van Andle home then the Young home, the brewery, two more homes, a saloon on the next corner, a grocery and feed store with a Fairbanks scales in the street in front which served as a fine home base for our hide and seek games, then a drug store, a meat market or butcher shop as they were called then, a general store and rooming house in the second story of a saloon, a restaurant and another saloon. On the next corner where YY Bings is was the Chrisman home. On the corner a block north was the school house. Across the street was the Scott home and then two more houses. In the rear of the present Dankowski property was the first jail, a log room with iron barred windows. The court house stood as today with the Gravelle home across the street and with the exception of a one room brick house belonging to a brick mason, that street was bare. To the east where the Y track is was our race track. The old cemetary was to the children quite a walk from Front Street. There were no churches, no place for public amusements. Our community Sunday School, our dances, and any social event of any size were held in the courtroom of the court house. The wagon road connecting the two sides of the town crossed the tracks just east of the freight house and at the stock yards. A ferry crossed the river just east of the electric plant. As the years passed the town grew gradually, had its small booms and depressions. But what I have tried to picture for you was the town of Green River as I first remember it.
Green River was first incorporated June 10, 1891.