Monday, November 17, 2008
Dam doomed tiny town of Marquette Wyoming has always been unforgiving country, with some early settlements failing to catch on, while others faded away after reversals of work, wealth or weather. The small ranching community of Marquette was settled years before Cody was founded. But it was the decision to build a massive dam between the two spots that meant an end to Marquette, submerging the settlement under what is now the Buffalo Bill Reservoir, about 10 miles west of Cody. At the confluence of the North Fork and South Fork of the Shoshone River, near the site of what was once a large Crow Indian village, rancher George Marquette became one of the first white settlers in the area, said Jeannie Cook, a Cody historian, archivist and author. "He was a fiddler, and he would go around and play for all the parties in the Bighorn Basin. He was also a carpenter and did a lot of work for Otto Franc," a German aristocrat who founded the Pitchfork Ranch in Meeteetse, Cook said. Named after Marquette, the community got a post office in 1891, with Marquette serving as postmaster. Just a few buildings served many purposes, with the post office including a dance hall. Another building had a barbershop and saloon, and the community also had a general store....Those of us in the West who are concerned about the Kelo decision should not forget our own history: farms, ranches and entire communities were condemned for "development."