Superior: A True Living Piece Of Sweetwater County History

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For many, it’s just a dot on the map along I-80, but that little dot is truly rich in history and character.

Located just 26 miles east of Rock Springs lies one of the best pieces of Sweetwater County history. If you haven’t guessed by now, that little dot on the map is the small Wyoming community of Superior.

With the discovery of coal in the early 1900’s, the area quickly became a destination for those looking for employment. The town of South Superior was originally called White City because the community was filled with white tents providing homes for workers. The first actual building was built in 1903 and served as a bar for the citizens of the area. The town of Superior was incorporated in February 1911, and South Superior a month later.

Superior was originally owned by Superior Coal Company which was later purchased by the Union Pacific in 1916.

Baseball was popular among mining towns. Those who chose to participate joined the Twilight League which consisted of teams from Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. At one time, the team from Superior played in jerseys from the New York Yankees.

Superior was home to the first female Sweetwater County Commissioner, Catherine Chaussart, who served from 1953 to 1961.

In 1940, the combined population of Superior and South Superior was 2,125 residents. In just ten years it grew to 2,360. By 1950, Superior had a population of 1,580 and 780 in South Superior. With the need for housing on the rise, the federal government constructed apartments, the Union Pacific turned boxcars into living quarters, and school enrollments were high.

With the Union Pacific’s demand for coal declining in the late 1950’s, the towns were close to becoming ghost towns. Many residents moved from the area in search of jobs elsewhere. Several houses were purchased and relocated to Rock Springs in 1959. Those homes are now located in the Lincoln Elementary School area.

Although only a few of the original buildings, mines, and homes remain today, one thing can be said about Superior: it is truly a living piece of history for Sweetwater County.

All photos courtesy of Superior resident Dawn Copenbarger.