Rural life, rural history

The Woods Landing Dance Hall is one of the locations featured on Saturday’s Ranch Tour hosted by the Albany County CattleWomen.

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

SHANNON BRODERICK

For the 66th year, rural life in Albany County will be on display this weekend.

The Albany County CattleWomen Ranch Tour is set for Saturday, with the tour to take participants to six stops along the Big Laramie River Valley south of Woods Landing in Wyoming and Colorado.

The tour is scheduled to depart from the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site at 9 a.m., with participants invited to meet at 8 a.m. for refreshments, parking instructions and a printed tour guide.

Participants can drive or carpool in their own vehicles, and the tour itself is free. The CattleWomen rented a school bus for the tour, with seats available for $15 by calling Bonnie at the Eppson Center for Seniors at 745-5116.

The first stop on the tour will be the Mike and Barb Hohnholz Ranch, located about an hour-and-a-half from Laramie.

“Mike will talk about the Big Laramie Valley ranch history,” said Sandra Eike, a member of the CattleWomen.

After a long first ride, successive stops are spaced much closer together, she said. The next stop is the Diamond Tail Ranch, which produces buffalo and beef.

From there, the tour will pass through the remote, historic mountain community of Glendevey, Colorado, en route to the ranch of Holly Golen and Merrilee Hohnholz, which was recently recognized by the state of Colorado for being owned by one family for 100 years.

“There’s a lot of history there,” Eike said.

Back in Albany County, the N.K. Boswell Ranch was founded in the 1870s and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The ranch’s namesake, Nathaniel K. Boswell, served as Albany County sheriff and the first warden of the Wyoming Territorial Prison.

Local historian Dicksie Knight May will present the ranch’s history.

“It’s probably the ranch with the most history in Albany County,” Eike said.

The next stop is the Holland Ranch, where rancher Brad Holland will talk about a historic log cabin he moved across the river and remodeled.

The last stop is the Woods Landing Dance Hall, where May will talk about a time when a local lumber mill used the river to float logs for delivery.

Tour participants can purchase a hot lunch for $6, or they can bring their own. The CattleWomen will have water and restrooms available. Participants should bring a chair for lunch. The tour is expected to return to Laramie at about 5 p.m.

Eike said she’s expecting more than 150 people to go on the tour, many of whom have been coming for years. Tour organizers try to visit different areas of the county each year.

“We try to choose places that have been in the family a long time or have a colorful history,” she said.

The Albany County CattleWomen took over organizing the ranch tour three years ago, and Eike said the goal is to promote an understanding of rural life, rural residents and the agriculture industry.

People who live in town get to see new country and get to hear directly from ranchers themselves about their operations.

“A lot of (the ranches) are beautiful, and a lot of them old,” she said.

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