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Piedmont, Wyoming

Uinta County

Piedmont Wyoming began life in 1868 as a town on the Union Pacific side of the transcontinental railroad. As with all towns along the rail bed, Piedmont began life as a tent city as the workers came through building the rail line. Wells were drilled and water was plentiful. Being close, somewhat, to the Unita Mountains, the town began life as a refueling station for the trains. The track through this area was at the high end of the steepness scale and soon provisions were made for helper engines to aid the heavy freight engines get over the summit. One of the first settler's, a man named Moses Byrne saw a business opportunity and built 5 charcoal kilns in Piedmont. The charcoal, which is used in smelting ore, was shipped to Salt Lake for use in the mining industry there. The town was originally named Byrne but was soon changed to Piedmont to avoid confusion with the town of Bryan. The town prospered as a farming community along side the charcoal business. As is with all business, the railroad was always looking for ways to save money. Sources differ on the time frame, but the Union Pacific began work on a tunnel through the Aspen Mountains in the early 1900's.  One source says 1901 while another says 1910. Either way, the tunnel was the beginning of the end of Piedmont. Once the mile and a half tunnel was completed, the need for helper engines disappeared and the main line now bypassed the town completely. Without a close source for shipping, the charcoal business soon became unprofitable and the town began to die. It did not die a rapid death though. The town held on till the early 1940's and finally gave up the ghost. There are several buildings still standing as well as 3 charcoal kilns. There are 2 graveyards in the town, one being the large Byrbe-Hinsdale family plot and the other a tiny and sad plot. There are just 2 markers in this yard. One says F.E.P. while the other says "Children of A & C H Payne". No dates or other information available. Piedmont was the town where Dr Thomas Durant was held somewhat of a hostage in May of 1869. The Union Pacific head honcho was on his way to the meeting of the rails in Promontory Utah when his train was delayed by disgruntled employees who had not been paid. Durant's car was placed on a siding and held captive until the payroll arrived from back east. Once the money was paid, his car was released and headed off to the ceremony in Utah. A few of the sources on Piedmont claim the town is on private property marked no trespassing. The main town area is not fenced in nor are there markers stating stay out. There are a few buildings on the west side of the road behind fences and we did not cross over to inspect them. The kilns, main town area, and tiny graveyard are all accessible. There is a trail to the large graveyard that sits behind the kilns so it is available to visit also. I recommend a spring or fall visit to Piedmont. It was really hot there on our visit August 6th which makes exploring not as much fun as it could be.   

Piedmont fotos