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The Search is on for "Bad Apples" Who Attacked WYO Historic Site

February 26, 2009

Fremont County, WY – The repair bill will be at least $30,000 to clean up after a vandalism spree at the old Carissa Mine near South Pass City. It's a site the state had funded for restoration as a salute to Wyoming's industrial heritage. Some time earlier this month, the security gates at the historic Carissa Mine were rammed, windows were broken out of buildings and underground workings of the mine were damaged after the mine entrance was pried open.

Joe Ellis is the superintendent of the nearby South Pass City State Historic Site. He inspected the damage, which he estimates was done by at least two people.

"They threw construction material around, broke out windows; they damaged an historic ore car. They just did some senseless vandalism."

Ellis says the site is considered one of the most complete, unspoiled historic mines in the country. Wyoming began a $3 million restoration project there in 2004.

Lesley Wischmann, co-founder of the Alliance for Historic Wyoming, says the Carissa Mine also commemorates the "gold rush" days that led to the settlement of the area.

"It's so close to South Pass and that whole movement of immigrants across the trails. Some of those people, who had just been looking at going West, all of a sudden had a reason to stop."

The owners of the U.S. Steel building in the area are offering a $1,000 reward for information about the incident; their property was also damaged. Anyone with tips can call the Fremont County sheriff's office, 307-332-5611.


Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY