Friday, January 10, 2014

Bosler, Wyoming

The town of Bosler, Wyoming was one of the many victims of the modernization of America. Similar to other small towns that dotted the landscape of the American West in the early to mid-twentieth century, this town all but disappeared when the Interstate Highway system was completed and by-passed the town twenty miles to the south. The town’s Post Office was incorporated on May 3rd, 1900, and closed sometime in the mid-1980’s.
Bosler was originally a rail stop for the ranch concerns of the Bosler family, who owned two ranches and other businesses in the area. According to the 1940 U.S. Census, the town boasted a total of 264 souls; had a garage, two motels, and a handful of other business concerns.
The town’s population has dwindled to its current residency of less than ten. Only one commercial business remains: Doc’s Western Village. It’s primarily a furniture outlet, and most people driving through would assume it to be closed, given the signage hasn’t been updated in over twenty years.
This town is an example of what has been left behind in the name of progress. This is a place where people lived, enjoyed a livelihood and raised families. A place where people knew each other; attended Saturday night dances, and Sunday morning church services. Today, it’s nothing more than a disappearing dot on a map. The one remaining store was converted from one of the motels, the other motel had no indoor plumbing. It had four cabins along with a his and her outhouse. It stands as a sculpture of buildings weathered and beaten by time; how much longer they will remain standing is anyone’s guess.
I’ve often travelled through towns like this, and questioned; who thought this place would be good for some defined or undefined purpose? What was the attraction? Why did this place begin to fade? What caused its demise? Economic conditions? Environmental concerns? Were the local resources exhausted? Where did the people who occupied this space go? Did they die? Move on? When did they leave? Have they ever come back to see what they left behind?
I seek answers to these questions, and I only wish to capture the remains of the structures before they disappear. I also yearn to find beauty in the desertion, desolation, and dilapidation of what has been left behind in the isolated and forgotten places such as this.
(Please click on the images for a larger view)
This motel dates back to the 1920's.

Looking out from my motel room...

The women's room of the outhouse as seen from cabin # 1.

The entrance to the Bosler Consolidated School.

The last class to graduate from the Bosler Consolidated School was in 1983.

The main floor of the school.

The gymnasium did double duty; it also served as an auditorium.

The stage has collapsed under the weight of an old American V-8 engine.

The occupancy sign remains by the entrance to the gym.

One of the classrooms has the remnants of the people who lived here in the late 1980's.

How many people learned to sew with this machine?

Although no one has called the school home in over 20 years, this set of handyman books is in pristine condition. 

The note between the sink basins reads:"This water is unsafe for drinking."

One of the classrooms is home to a pair of motorcycles.

A lone homestead begins another day along the old Lincoln Highway.

Doc's Western Village is still open for business.


  1. I came across your post and enjoyed it! I lived in Bosler in 1985 and went to that school. Do you have more pictures that you didn't include in the post? I would love to see them! Thanks!

  2. Bosler consolidated was my first school. I lived there from '77 to about 1980. It was very interesting to read your post and look at pictures of a place I haven't seen in a very long time.

  3. Check out "The Time Winter Amost Came: A brief History of the Cold War" YouTube

    It was filmed outside of the school.

    1. interestingly enough, that's how I got here too.

  4. My grandmother had a cousin that owned a ranch near town in the early ,fifties....died about 54. Last name was Harris.

  5. I went to Jr. High and High School with a couple of guys that grew up in Bosler and even had one of the guys in one of my college classes at the University of Wyoming.

  6. Clyde and Dorothy bresnan were the people who lived in the school after it was closed. Dear precious couple

    1. They were wonderful people. Clyde was the school bus driver through out my elementary years going to school in Bosler.

  7. My family lived there in 1979. I attended school in that building in the pictures. It had a bomb shelter behind it. We first lived in the "hotels" by Doc's Store. I have pictures of myself and another boy playing pool there. We also lived in a house nearby and rented it. Used to hunt rabbits at night. I remember a tiny post office, two rooms in the school were classrooms. Lower grades in one and upper grades in another. We took a field trip to an observatory. Lots and lots in "Indian tear drops" rocks. Used to watch little kids run farm equipment.

  8. Doc, I have two pictures of myself and another young boy in that bar, the one with the windows in front. If you want copies let me know.

  9. No Clyde and Dorothy Bresnahan did not live in the old school after it closed. They were the janitors there for many years and lived in the little white house closer to the hwy, that ended up looking like a fort encased in a split log fence. The couple retired and moved back to their home in Rock River. They were my Aunt and Uncle and I played alone as a child in that magical place while they worked there during the summers when I came out from CA to visit them. The slide that stood on the side playground next to the swings would never be allowed today, far too tall and dangerous. But what a thrill for a solitary child. A young couple with children "bought" the schoolhouse, that's what they told me anyway. I met them when they were trying to "restore it," hoping they'd let me in for a look as a middle aged woman with cherished memories of the place. The school was full of asbestos, and clearly their efforts came to naught. I cannot look at these photos without wanting to cry. My aunt and uncle poured their lives into that place. Clyde died in a nursing home. Dorothy died in my house in Northern CA when she was 94 years old.

  10. Interesting info, I’ve always wondered the history of this place as I share the same last name and my family came from Wyoming