- City Managers Office
- Natural Resources
- Bath Ranch Municipal Water Project
Bath Ranch Municipal Water Project
Background and Significance
- The combined water rights of the Bath Ranch & Monolith Ranch properties represent 94% of the water rights in the Dowlin Ditch water right along the Laramie River. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
Dowlin Ditch Water Right
The 1868 Dowlin Ditch water right is the number one priority right along the Laramie River system. The purchase of the Bath Ranch will add an additional 10 cfs to the existing 20 cfs the City acquired with the purchase of the Monolith Ranch in 1981.
View of Dowlin Ditch facing south on Bath Ranch Property
- The Laramie River meanders through the property from the southwest to the northeast. Entering from the northwest corner of the ranch, the river flows for approximately seven miles across the property.
- In addition to water rights on the property, the City of Laramie is exploring other potential uses of the land such as public access, hunting, and fishing. The City intends to partner with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to consider these uses.
- The ranch sits adjacent to the Hutton Lake National Refuge and, with sustaining water as a prominent feature, is home to many species of birds and a variety of big and small game species. The City will continue to build its partnership with The Conservation Fund regarding use of the land.
- The historical significance of this property is notable and some of the current structures on the ranch have potential to be a unique opportunity to preserve the history of Laramie and the region. These buildings include an 1860's bunkhouse and blacksmith shop. The Overland Trail Stage Station was located just across the river on the west bank and adjoining ranch. The City intends to partner with the State Historical Preservation Office and other professionals to assess and develop these treasures. @(Model.BulletStyle == CivicPlus.Entities.Modules.Layout.Enums.BulletStyle.Decimal ? "ol" : "ul")>
Map of Bath Ranch Property with proximity to the Monolith Ranch and city limits:
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A few of the current structures on the ranch today may date back to the 1860's and include an old bunkhouse and blacksmith shop. The City of Laramie is exploring the potential of creating a Big Laramie stage stop historical site on the property to educate members of the community about the history of the Overland Trail and its significance to the City of Laramie.
Historical Marker: Big Laramie Stage Station
Located near the Bath Ranch Property is the Big Laramie Stage Station Historical Marker. It marks the location of the historical crossing of the Laramie Plains along the Overland Trail. Remnants of life along the trail are still scattered throughout Wyoming, some of which still remain on the Bath Ranch property today, including an old bunkhouse and blacksmith shop. The main Stage Station building is located on the west side of the river, on what is known today as the Richardson's Overland Trail Ranch. Inclusion of the Bath Ranch in the National Register will be explored as a possibility.
Historical Marker Inscription:
"From 1849 through the end of the 19th century, thousands followed the Overland Trail into Wyoming, across the Laramie Plains, to a toll bridge near here on the Laramie River. The historic crossing of the marshy plains consisted of a corduroy road which today is located southwest of the modern bridge. The surviving corduroy road remnant is all that remains of the trail in this area.
In 1862, Ben Holladay, consolidated several stage and freight operations to form the Overland Stage Company, which he moved from the Oregon Trail south to the Overland Trail. The new route proved to be both shorter and safer. He improved the trail and stage stations as he rose to dominate the stage, freight, and mail businesses. Constructed in 1862, Big Laramie Stage Station served as a "home station." where drivers' routes ended and passengers obtained meals while horses were changed.
Wells Fargo and Company bought Holladay's operation in 1866, three years before the completion of the Union Pacific's Transcontinental Railroad, which ended use of the Overland Stage. The Trail, however, continued to be used by local travelers and those unable to afford railroad fare. After completing a Union Pacific grading contact, Charles Hutton, Tom Alsop, and Edward Creighton created the Hart Ranch, which encompassed the property containing the Big Laramie Stage Station. Eventually Creighton sold his share and the ranch divided in two with Alsop using the Stage Station as headquarters for his ranch on the west side of the river. The ranch is known today as Richardson's Overland Trail Ranch and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places."
Marker is located on State Highway 230 near County Route 33, on the left when traveling west.