VAN TASSELL

NAME: Van Tassell
COUNTY: Niobrara
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 1
CLIMATE: Warm weather in the summer, very cold during Winter!
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Any time in Spring or Summer.
COMMENTS: Since 1986, the population of this semi-ghosttown has grew from 10 to 18. The town is visable from the road only because of it's Historical marker. Van Tassell lies on county highway 20, 20 miles east of Lusk and Node, close to the Wyoming/ Nebraska border. While you're there, visit the Diner in Harrison, NB for great food! Statistics & Facts for Van Tassell, WY.

The population of Van Tassell is approximately 8. The approximate number of families is 6The amount of land area in Van Tassell is 4.733 sq. kilometers.The amount of surface water is 0 sq kilometers. The distance from Van Tassell to Washington DC is 1508 miles. The distance to the Wyoming state capital is 111 miles. (as the crow flies) Van Tassell is positioned 42.66 degrees north of the equator and 104.09 degrees west of the prime meridian.
REMAINS: A number of old, derelict homes dot the grass-land.

Van Rensselaer Schuyler Van Tassell had acquired the land surrounding his namesake village by marrying one of his five wives and treated the community like an illegitimate child. He ignored the town and its residents and even insulted it by shipping in supplies for his Van Tassell Ranch from Cheyenne instead of the nearby Van Tassel depot.In 1877, he purchased the Jay Em Ranch from its owner, Jim Moore. Statehood was still 13 years away and the area was part of the Wyoming Territory. Van Rensselaer Schuyler Van Tassell believed that the "end justifies the means," and therefore saw nothing wrong with marrying for profit. After Jim Moore died in 1880, Van Tassell married Moore's widow and gained control of even more land to create his empire. When the railroad crossed the border into the Wyoming Territory in 1886, officials were quick to recognize that the depot just over the territorial border would soon burgeon into an important community. In 1886, four years before statehood and in a period of rapid settlement of the American West, the railroad reached Wyoming and opened the territory to the migrating homesteaders It was therefore necessary that the stop-off be given a name, and since Van Rensselaer Schuyler Van Tassell owned everything in site, the railroad people thought it was only proper to name the station in his honor. Van Tassell, however, was not impressed. The last thing Van Tassell wanted after he had married the widow Moore for profit was to have the location of his malefaction named after him. The newly named depot community of Van Tassell set roots that would hold the town together for the next century. In 1903, the first batch of homesteaders arrived in the sparsely populated Van Tassell region, an area dominated by cattlemen. Civilization had reached the high plains and the days of free-roaming cattle wandering across unfenced prairies were quickly ending. In April 1916, the community was incorporated and attained what in those days amounted to municipal status. By 1919, the town could boast of a new hotel, a bank, furniture store and billiard parlour--and citizens no longer had to travel the long stretch to Lusk or Harrison, Nebraska to find the finer things in life. In 1920 and 1921, the town could point with pride to its two hardware stores, lumber yard, bank, two churches, weekly newspaper, blacksmith shop, electric light plant, three cafes, hotel and city jail. And it was during the week of October 15, 1924, that Van Tassell joined Chicago and a host of other cities which had been shot up in the middle of the night by "criminal elements." The criminal element in Van Tassell was not a gangster, however, but a transient from Oklahoma who The Lusk Harold reported was seeking to "enjoy his libations in a quiet town." The depot and creamery town of Van Tassell, which had a peak population of about 200, also contributed its share to the health, wealth and progress of the decade and the years to follow. In April 1922, O.I. Stenger was the first person in Niobrara County to install a "radio phone receiving set." The Van Tassell Cooperative Creamery produced 68, 972 pounds of butter in the first nine months. The Buckaroo Bar added to the glamour of the community by serving gallons of beer and spirits across what was claimed to be the longest bar in Wyoming. And the "two-year accredited" Van Tassell High School, which had a graduating class of five people in 1936, provided the beginning of the education and development of Dr. John Pendray, a Van Tassell resident who was later to achieve a national reputation for pioneering rocketry and space research. The community, which was once the hub of activity in the newly settled region, was now a part of the world beyond the Nebraska Stateline or the Niobrara River. Van Tassell citizens could now seek health, wealth and happiness from people and places down the road, through the wire and over the air. The isolation which had bonded the community together was gone and many residents were quick to join those on the highway to bigger and brighter places and lives. Now, as a traveller speeds over the buttes and down the hill from the Nebraska State line, on the way to Cheyenne, Casper or Yellowstone, the town of Van Tassell will catch the travellerís eye as a collection of abandoned houses and buildings cast like dice on the rough edges of the Coffee Siding Buttes. The 10 citizens who now compose the population have roots as deep and as fast as the fence posts set by their homesteading ancestors. The town is an incorporated Wyoming municipality, has received revenue sharing funds with which to build and maintain a fire station, and is not about to abide by Van Rensselaer Schuyler Van Tassell's wishes that it dry up and blow away. In 1986, the town celebrated its centennial and had then survived the man by nearly sixty years. When the 70 year-old R.S. Van Tassell was guiding his friend Teddy Roosevelt on a "hell bent for leather" horseback expedition from Laramie to Cheyenne in 1908, he set such a pace that the dirty and weary 50 year-old President remarked, "Van, you old rascal, I believe you are trying to show me up!" Now, the community has survived and "shown up" its reluctant name giver. Van Rensselaer Schuyler Van Tassell is long gone but his name lives on in the town he tried to forget.I would like to thank members.aol.com/rickvt/vtwyoming.htmlwhere I gathered most of this great information! Submitted by: Ryan J. Hill


Van Tassell Area
Courtesy Ryan Hill


Van Tassell Area
Courtesy Ryan Hill


The old Union Pacific still passes by VanTassell.
Courtesy Ryan Hill


VanTassell's historic marker and view of Ghost town.
Courtesy Ryan Hill


Barren praries surround VanTassell Wyoming.
Courtesy Ryan Hill


Van Rensselaer Schuyler Van Tassell.
Courtesy Ryan Hill


Van Tassell, population 10
Courtesy Ryan Hill

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