Evanston, WY is a vibrant and charming railroad town named for the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) surveyor, James Evans, who first assessed the eastern half of the track’s route through the Wyoming Territory. Nestled in the far southwest corner of Wyoming, within the picturesque Bear River Valley, and just an hour’s drive from Salt Lake City, UT, Evanston is the county seat and the hub of commerce for the region. Evanston’s beginnings are deeply connected to the railroad, and the community boasts the only intact roundhouse along UPRR’s mainline from Omaha, NE to Sacramento, CA. The semi-circular structure, which was used to repair train engines and railcars, was built in 1912 by the railroad, and today several of the buildings on the site and a portion of the roundhouse have been renovated by the city as community event space (and potential commercial space).
Evanston’s first structure and business enterprise was a tent saloon erected by Harvey Booth in November of 1868. Soon after the town was established, a small commercial district arose in a four-block area adjacent to the UPRR tracks. One of the earliest businesses was the Blyth & Fargo Company, a general store created in 1872 on Main Street. Today, there are several businesses operating in this historic structure and many more are sprinkled throughout Evanston’s 19th century architectural streetscape.
Indeed Evanston takes great pride in the preservation of its historical downtown, which also features Depot Square. The 2.5-block public Square includes an authentic Chinese (Wing Family) gazebo and garden, Joss House Museum, 1900 UPRR train depot, Uinta County Museum/Chamber of Commerce, Lincoln Highway marker, basketball courts, picnic area, artwork and even a genuine English phone booth. The Square hosts an array of events each year, such as the annual Farmer’s Market & outdoor concert series (Music in the Air @ Depot Square and Brew Fest.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Evanston’s Downtown (Main Street) district is a dynamic blend of the city’s colorful locomotive and Western heritage and modern-day boutique shops, cafes, salons, entertainment venues and service businesses.