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Cowley, Wyoming
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member BK-Hunters
N 44° 52.997 W 108° 28.136
12T E 699891 N 4973101
Quick Description: The Town of Cowley shares this building with the Cowley Pioneer Museum, using half of it for their Administration building, AKA Town Hall. It is located at the corner of Main Street and S. Division Street.
Location: Wyoming, United States
Date Posted: 4/8/2019 10:18:05 PM
Waymark Code: WM10BPK
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 1

Long Description:
The Cowley Administration building is inside the former Big Horn LDS Stake Office and Tithing Building built in 1909. The building is shared with the Cowley Pioneer Museum. Cowley's population presently hovers around the 700 mark.

The Mormons were the most significant factor in establishing the town of Cowley. They also provided the inspiration and the labour force which created the Sidon Canal. It was the Sidon Canal which supplied the irrigation water from the Shoshone River, making agriculture in this otherwise very dry area possible and, by extension, settlement of the area.

LDS Church leaders, with the encouragement of Wyoming government leaders, created an official church-sponsored colonization project known as the Big Horn Basin Colonization Company.

Cowley was named for Matthias F. Cowley, (1858-1940), a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints from 1897 to 1905. The accompanying museum documents the development of the Big Horn Basin Colonization Company, the building of the Sidon Canal and the development of Cowley and the surrounding basin area.

The writers of the American Guide book, Wyoming, a Guide to its History, Highways, and People, gave the little town a couple of paragraphs in the book.

COWLEY 35 m. (3,976 alt., 900 pop.), built on level benchland north of Sage Creek, has its chief business establishments along the north side of Main Street. Many dwellings and public buildings are of rose-colored sandstone from neighboring quarries. Cowley was founded in 1900 by Mormon colonists from Utah and Idaho, led by Abraham 0. Woodruff. Officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints encouraged migration to select farming areas, but they were skeptical of the arid Big Horn benchlands. Woodruff's colonists headed north on their own initiative. When water reached the bench-lands from the Shoshone River Reclamation Project, however, and Cowley, Lovell, and other Mormon settlements began to flourish, other converts were urged to settle in the basin.

The CHURCH SQUARE, south side of Main Street, is the social center for Mormon families in the vicinity. The COMMUNITY BUILDING (1936), a large, squat peeled-log structure in the center of the block, provides recreational facilities for young people, whose Mutual Improvement Association sponsors regional contests in debating, story-telling, athletics, dramatics, and other activities. The outstanding event each year is the Gold and Green Ball (open to the public), usually held in January or February. The dance is different each year, and instructors are dispatched from church headquarters to the various wards to teach the music and intricate steps.
From Wyoming, a Guide to its History, Highways, and People, Page 340

Cowley History
The town of Cowley was settled by a group of Mormon pioneers called to settle Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. The town was named in honor of Matthias F. Cowley, their founder, one of the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. In February 1900, a group of explorers were sent by the Church, to find a suitable location for a colony in Northern Wyoming. The group met with William F. Cody, who had a permit from the state of Wyoming to build an irrigation canal. The first company of pioneers arrived in the area on May 2, 1900, and began the construction of the Sidon Canal to bring water to the town from the Shoshone River. The canal was over 30 miles long and was not completed until 1904.

By winter 1900, there were approximately 18 log houses built in the area. Those original homes were built by Robert Baird, John Black, John Burke, Hyrum Cook, John Dickson, Robert Fraser, William Graham, David Lewis, Gilbert Marchant, Alfred Nebeker, William Partridge, William Simmons, George Taggart, Henry Tucker, Franklin Turnbow, Lemuel Willis, W. W. Willis and George Harston.

The first school was opened in a log house in January 1901, and the first teacher was Eliza R. Black. There were about 24-30 students. On September 26, 1910, the Big Horn Academy was opened in Cowley, as the first High School. The first class to graduate from the Big Horn Academy was the class of 1912, consisting of 13 students. The first four-year graduating class was in 1915.

A new stone building was erected to house the Big Horn Academy in 1916 (pictured above). In 1925, the name was changed to the Cowley High School. The school's mascot was the Jaguars. The Cowley High School remained in the Big Horn Academy building until 1983. Due to the declining enrollment, the school in Cowley was closed in 1983.

Beginning in 1984, the town's students began attending the consolidated Rocky Mountain High School in Byron, Wyoming, with students from Byron, Deaver and Frannie. For the 2010-2011 school year, the Rocky Mountain High School was moved to Cowley, with the completion of a new high school in Cowley.
From the Town of Cowley

Photo goes Here

Book: Wyoming

Page Number(s) of Excerpt: 340

Year Originally Published: 1941

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