By Luke Anderson
January 2, 2017
Like many towns in Wyoming, the history of Rock Springs is closely connected to Wyoming's prominent energy industry. While many other towns like Carbon and Jeffrey City boomed and busted, Rock Springs boomed and survived. Rock Springs went through ups and downs just like any other city, but ultimately Rock Springs has proved its permanence on the Wyoming landscape.
Coal was the mineral that came to define Rock Springs, but the community itself is much more complex. The city also developed around the railroad, and later, the Lincoln Highway and Interstate 80. The combination of different industries and ease of access resulted in Rock Springs having one of the most diverse populations in the state of Wyoming.
The Rock Springs Coal sign was originally constructed in 1929 by the Wyoming Coal Operators. The welcome sign arched over the Lincoln Highway to greet travelers as they came through town. When the highway was widened, the sign was removed and later restored and placed in its current location near the railroad tracks that divide downtown Rock Springs into two distinct sections. The Rock Springs Coal sign is an iconic landmark in the city. The sign's reference to coal mining, its original placement on the Lincoln Highway, and its current location overlooking the railroad tracks ties together to embody much of the city's identity in one simple neon sign.
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