Did you know there's a town in the Cowboy State that was founded specifically for soldiers? Just in time for Independence Day, here's a tribute to the town of Veteran, Wyoming.
In the early 1920s, Goshen County in eastern Wyoming, along the Nebraska border, was one of the last areas in the country open for homesteading. Free parcels of land up to 620 acres were set aside for soldiers returning from World War 1. It was known as "Veteran's Area" until the Civilian Conservation Corps built a camp and officially incorporated the town. Before long, Veteran, Wyo. was home to a school, several churches, a post office, a lumberyard, a hardware store, and a grocery store.
During World War II, the old Civilian Conservation Corps camp was used to house German and Italian prisoners of war. Many of those POWs liked the area so much, they settled there after the War.
Most remnants of Veteran's glory days have long since disappeared and the population has now dwindled to 23. However, if you take Wyoming Highway 54 from U.S. Highway 85, you can still see the old post office that once made the town of Veteran the most patriotic place in the Cowboy State.
Wyoming Restaurants Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
It's hard not to take this a little personally. Guy Fieri
of the Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives
has visited the Cowboy State a few times. Yet each time he stays close to Jackson
. The show takes us on a culinary voyage across the U.S, but he's never stopped in Cheyenne, Casper, or even Chugwater.
CLASSIC CHEYENNE: The Cole Shopping Center
In December of 2020, Blue Federal Credit Union
completed its new headquarters at the corner of Converse and Pershing in Cheyenne. Well, it’s not so much a ‘corner’ as it is the smooth edge of a roundabout, but anyway. Before Blue FCU built its new campus, the site was at one time a premier shopping destination for Cheyenne. From the 1950s through 2016 it was Cheyenne's Cole Shopping Center.
Local businessman Frank Cole bought the land that would become a Cheyenne gathering place in the 1950s when the corner of Converse and Pershing was the edge of town
. Starting in 1952, three
different Safeway grocery stores called the Cole home over its half-century of existence. A plethora of other stores served the neighborhood too. From the movie theater to Blockbuster; there was the Cole Department Store, the fabric store, the East Branch of the Carnegie Library, and so much more.
As Cheyenne grew and changed, the Shopping Center fell into decline. Stores closed and new ones didn't take their places. The anchor of the area, Safeway, closed for good in 2016 with much of the rest following. In 2018 the buildings were demolished
and the new construction began.
The Cole was so integral to the neighborhood that when we asked on social media for folks’ memories we were flooded with hundreds of responses.
Check out many of those memories below, along with several pictures of the Cole Shopping Center, mostly from near the end in the twenty-teens.