Sheridan, mile post 698.6 on the Big Horn Sub, is the County seat of Sheridan County.
In the spring of 1878, Oliver P. Hanna built the first cabin finished by a settler in what is now Sheridan County near the town of Big Horn. Henry Heald and John D. Loucks were early settlers in the town that became Sheridan in 1882, and was named for General Phil Sheridan, Louck's commander in the Civil War.
The settlers began coming to the land of the Big Horns, many by covered wagon. Within a year Sheridan had its first general merchandise store. The building, now part of Sheridan's Historic Downtown District, has a large mural on the front showing a street scene and how Conrad's store looked at the time. In l888, Sheridan became the county seat.
The coming of the Burlington & Missouri was a major event. This industry was instrumental in building the early towns of Dayton and Ranchester. The first passenger train arrived in Sheridan in 1892.
In l893 the Historic Sheridan Inn was built across from the depot and was advertised as "the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco". Col. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody frequented the Inn and was once part owner. The Inn is now a widely known National Historic Landmark.
1893 also marked the beginning of the underground coal mines. During one period of over twenty years, many mines thrived, eventually relinquishing their heyday to huge open pit mines, now a major part of Sheridan County's economy. Lumbering, mining, railroading, building, tourism, manufacturing, merchandising, health care and other endeavors helped keep the area growing.
Fortunes were also made and lost in the cattle business. John B. Kendrick was a cowboy on the Texas Trail, who become a cattle baron, Governor of Wyoming and U.S. Senator. He was but one of the major benefactors to Sheridan.
The role played by the cowboys and ranchers in this area's history is both ongoing and well memorialized in some of the sites to visit in Sheridan County.
Last Update 09/14/02
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