Museum strives to keep Goshen County history alive


"I've always had a strong passion for history and it just sort of fell into place,"  says Sarah Chaires, assistant director of the Homesteaders Museum in Torrington, WY.  "We moved back right when they had this job opening. It was very lucky."

Chaires knew she wanted to move back to Goshen County after college.  Since starting her position in January, Chaires' goal is to expand the museum's presence.

"Goshen County is pretty sparsely populated and I think people always go through it on the way to somewhere else," says Chaires. "You know, we're on the way to Yellowstone, or Deadwood, and they just kind of drive right through."

The museum's main building is an old union pacific railroad depot, and houses a majority of the museum's artifacts.

Also on site, an original homestead shack built in 1910.

"It's set up on the inside, the way the family actually lived," says Chaires.  "It was the parents and three kids that lived in this tiny little, one room shack, which is just phenomenal. I can't imagine."

Railroad memorabilia is on display in the yard, and an old stage coach can be found on site, as well.  The museum's transportation building is home to Goshen County's very first automobile. Built in 1907, their International Harvester Auto Buggy could reach speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

The museum is also home to an authentic one-room school house.

"We have school groups that come in and the kids really enjoy seeing that," says Chaires.  "It helps them appreciate what they have now."

Chaires says one of the best things about her new job, is discovering her own family's history, while bringing Goshen County's to others.

"We have tons and tons of pictures and documents and I opened up a photo album and found a picture of my grandpa from when he was 20."

Chaires says words can't describe the excitement she feels while re-discovering, not only her families past, but her home's as well.

"More people need to discover the area because it's a pretty great little county."

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