Established by Jim Bridger and Louis Vasquez in 1843 as an emigrant supply stop along the Oregon Trail. It was obtained by the Mormons in the early 1850s, and then became a military outpost in 1858. In 1933, the property was dedicated as a Wyoming Historical Landmark and Museum.
There are several restored historical buildings from the military time period, a reconstructed of the trading post operated by Jim Bridger, and an interpretive archaeological site containing the base of the cobble rock wall built by the Mormons during their occupation of the fort. All of these locations are signed in Braille. In addition, a museum containing artifacts from the various different historical time periods is housed in the 1888 stone barracks building. There are gift shops in both the museum and the reconstructed trading post. There is no camping available at Fort Bridger.
most notable historic resource in the Bridger Valley remains old Fort
Bridger, now operated as a state historic site. Bridger and Vasquez
established the fort on the Black’s Fork of the Green River and planned to trade both with the American Indians they had befriended during their years in the fur trade and
the westward-bound emigrants. Their first fort consisted of two rude
double-log houses about 40 feet in length, joined with a pen for horses.
They also boasted a blacksmith's shop, something that many emigrants
welcomed after months on the trails.
But, for those emigrants who had long looked forward to their arrival
at Fort Bridger, the post often turned out to be a disappointment. It
was not nearly as well outfitted as the seemingly luxurious Fort Laramie
on the eastern Wyoming plains. Fort Bridger turned out to be little
more than a crude collection of rough-hewn log buildings. Emigrant Edwin
Bryant said of the fort: The buildings are two or three miserable
cabins, rudely constructed and bearing but a faint resemblance to
Jim Bridger. National Park Service.The
Mormon Pioneer Company arrived at the fort on July 7, 1847. They spent a
day there, but found all the prices very inflated. When a small group
of Mormons settled nearby, tensions began to mount between Bridger and
the new settlers. The settlers reported that Bridger was selling liquor
and ammunition to the Indians, in violation of federal law.
Brigham Young, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, and a federal Indian agent, responded by sending the Mormon
militia to the fort in 1853. Bridger learned they were coming and fled
before the Mormons arrived. Later that year, the Mormons established
Fort Supply about twelve miles south of Fort Bridger, specifically to
service the Mormon emigrants.
38-acre site was named a Wyoming Historical Landmark and Museum in
1933. Parts of the stone wall constructed by the Mormons in the 1850s
have recently been the subject of archaeological explorations at Fort
Bridger. Several historic buildings, which have been restored, remain at
the fort, as well as a reconstructed trading post, an interpretive
archaeological site and a museum housing artifacts from the different
periods of Fort Bridger’s use.