Ranchester, mile post 714.9 on the Big Horn Sub, was formed in 1894 by the Lincoln Land Company. Ranchester grew to become the most highly populated community in the area at that time. It is located along the Tongue River, which runs through town. Ranchester was was named after a nearby rancher whose name was S.H. Hardin. It is not uncommon to name a communities "chester" in England, so this is what Ranchester was named.
The first passenger train went through Ranchester in 1896. The first lot was sold to J.A. Hartman for $130. He opened a store, which was soon followed by a saloon and livery stable. In the early 1900's a bank and post office were built in the town. On September 5, 1911, the town was incorporated with 22 people signing the necessary petitions.
Ranchester is located on Highway 14 on the way to the Big Horn Mountains. Many of the local people chose to live in this smaller community and commute to Sheridan and the coal mines for work.
Last Update 07/22/01
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