Early in the history of the region we now know as Wyoming, people discovered coal and sought to mine it. Initially, the coal was mined only for use locally as transportation of the coal just wasn’t possible. In the early 1900′s, however, the Burlington railroad and the Chicago and Northwestern railroad made their way into the Thermopolis area in central Wyoming whereupon coal mining became a more vigorous endeavor.
After the railroad arrived in Thermopolis, the Owl Creek Coal Company was formed to begin transporting coal out of the region north of Thermopolis. Thus, Gebo, Wyoming was formed. It was named after Samuel Wilford Gebo (1862-1940), an early mine developer. The first coal was shipped out in 1907 from Gebo.
Gebo, Wyoming was once a bigger city than neighboring Thermopolis. The town had a pool hall, school, bank, boarding houses, a community band, and a whorehouse. In 1931, two Serbian miners got into an argument at the pool hall and one of them was killed in the spat.
By 1938, mining in Gebo had ended. In 1971, the town was bulldozed. Sam Gebo committed suicide on July 10, 1940 using his gas oven. The event was precipitaed by a poor investment in a mine up in Canada that had small daily earthquakes erupting inside of it (it was known to the Natives as “Mountain that Walks”). At 4:10 AM on April 29, 1903 a large earthquake killed 76 or more people in Frank, Alberta. This earthquake lead to the undoing of Samuel Gebo and the town of Frank (which was abandoned in 1917, except for a whorehouse, which remained for quite some time). Samuel Gebo’s wife died by drowning five short months following Sam’s untimely death.
Today, nothing remains of Gebo except an eerie barren landscape. We visited the location expecting to find an actual cemetery with marked graves and perhaps old buildings, being that this was revered as a “ghost town”. Of course, the town was bulldozed in the 70′s and so there was nothing really marking the location of Gebo. Indeed, had we not had our GPS with us, we would not have even known we had reached Gebo. It was the middle of the night, as shown in the photographs and we stopped the car and got out and walked around for quite some time, never venturing too far away from the safety of our vehicle, mostly because we assumed that there were nocturnal animals out and about looking for food items and we didn’t wish to be one of them. There were indeed strange sounds and feelings of being watched, but it was hard to rule out whether they could be attributed to the local wildlife or something more ethereal.
Perhaps a visit during the daytime would reveal more obvious landmarks or the like to visitors.
Reports of strange sounds, including the sounds of babies crying and disemodied voices. Feelings of uneasiness.
No Author (n.d.). Wyoming Tales and Trails: Coal Camp Photos. Retrieved November 29, 2009 from http://www.wyomingtalesandtrails.com/coalgebo.html
Shadowlord (1998). Shadowlands Haunted Places Index. Retrieved August 11, 2008 from http://theshadowlands.net/places/wyoming.htm