Lessons from Wamsutter, Wyoming

Welcome sign outside the Conoco station at 350 McCormick St., Wamsutter, Wyo. Note the encouragement to attend church.

On road trips along I-80 in Wyoming between Rawlins and Rock Springs, I discovered a gas station in Wamsutter that encourages church attendance, posts social decorum rules as well as displays original murals in the restrooms.

On the “Welcome to Wamsutter” sign outside the Conoco station, travelers are encouraged to “Start Your Week Off Right, Attend the Church of Your Choice.” As you should note, the sign did not say which church to attend. Society is vexed with problems, so the reminder is as timely now as it was years ago when the sign was posted.

On the station’s front door is the notice: “No shoes, no shirt, no service.” I’ve seen this standard posted in myriad places. However, it stood out on my trip a few weeks ago because Boulder’s new nudity law allows women to bare their breasts in public. I hope Boulder businesses follow the Wamsutter stations’ lead and post the same rules.

Visitors to the restrooms can see murals where deer bucks ram each other in a meadow with pine trees and snow-patched mountains behind them. They can see a deer at a lake, a wolf and a deer fight, waterfalls, a soaring eagle, and Mount Rushmore and other American scenes.

The station asks on several signs for patrons to help keep the restrooms clean, no smoking and no writing on the walls. James J. Ironhorse, a Lakota Sioux Indian and a station employee, painted the murals in 1987 with extra paint from other projects. Though the paintings are irreplaceable as Ironhorse died in 2003, pictures are allowed.

Though I am sure it was not the intended outcome, one rule caused me to smile: “Do not steal our signs!!” Apparently others like what the station is saying.

Mount Rushmore, a portion of a mural painted in 1987 by James J. Ironhorse, a Lakota Sioux Indian, on a restroom wall of the Wamsutter Conoco gas station, 350 McCormick St., Wamsutter, Wyo.

Mount Rushmore, a portion of a mural painted in 1987 by James J. Ironhorse, a Lakota Sioux Indian, on a restroom wall of the Wamsutter Conoco gas station,
350 McCormick St., Wamsutter, Wyo.

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