A piece of history, a part of the real old west, and possibly more haunted than any other location in the Cowboy State. From heroic canines to romantic lovers, the ghosts at Fort Bridger State Historic Site carry the spirit of the old west.
Fort Bridger takes its name from the founder, Jim Bridger, who established a trading post with a blacksmith shop on the site in the early 1840s. At the time, that part of the country was considered part of Utah territory, and was highly contested by local neighbors before being annexed by the Wyoming territory in 1868. While the original site was just a few log cabins with dirt roofs, eventually it grew to have military-style barracks, and many other historic buildings that have been restored and still stand to this day.
As a part of both the Oregon Trail, the Pony Express, and the Utah war, Fort Bridger has its fair share of history, and whispers of the past still exist there to this day. It’s worth noting that this was also the fort that the Donner Party diverged from the original mormon trail and ended up stuck during the winter. While the fort has undergone many different restorations and changes in use, the historians say there were five major parts of the historic site’s history; “Mountain Men, Mormons, Military, Milkbarn/ Motel and Museum.”
Fort Bridger houses 27 historic buildings, 6 modern buildings and the site encompasses over 30 acres of land. In 1842, the namesake of the fort opened the first trading post in this location, with the oasis in the plains keeping the area lush and also providing good grazing grounds for cattle and other livestock.
It is said that the cemetery at the site, which includes such famous residents as Jim Bridger’s own daughter, also includes many visitors that have never left the grounds. There is a legend of a man who patrols the cemetery in full 1800s military regalia, perhaps keeping patrol on his final resting place. As well as that, a decorated military dog still watches after his owner in the afterlife, proving the phrase “Dog is man’s best friend.”
The dog’s spirit is often seen laying on the grave of his former owner, even decades after his passing. In life, the pup had been awarded a medal of valor for saving a young boy from certain death while traversing the difficult terrain outside of the fort.
Nearly all of the historic buildings are said to have their own resident ghosts on the grounds, many of them from the tumultuous era of the site when Native American attacks were frequent and wars among the wild western residents were breaking out over territory. One newer ghost proves that true love does exist in the afterlife, when a man was said to walk the Fort Bridger cemetery after his death, disappearing from the site after his wife joined him in the afterlife.
A piece of history, a fabulous historic experience, and maybe a hotspot for paranormal activity, Fort Bridger State Historic Site still stands with plenty of stories to tell in the eastern part of the Cowboy State. A visit to the historic site may bring more than just a history lesson- You might also meet the loyal ghosts that call the area home, even in the afterlife.
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Born in Death Valley and raised on the prairie, Deborah is a Wyoming-based paranormal researcher and a senior at the University of Wyoming, studying Communication. Her interests lie in folklore, history, rhetorical analysis and research. With an obvious love for ghost stories, frequently those interests combine with her work on Ghostlandia.