Veteran newsman talks Wyoming history, wonders

TORRINGTON – The local community was the recipient of a whirl-wind tour of the state’s attractions, history and people recently, all through the eyes of a veteran Wyoming newsman.
Bill Sniffin, retired newspaper publisher turned book author, visited several local groups recently, touting his recent trilogy of coffee table books covering all aspects of the Cowboy State. One of the stops Sniffin, from Lander, made was to pay a visit on the Torrington Rotary Club during its regular Monday luncheon meeting at the Cottonwood at Torrington Country Club here.
Sniffin’s journey in book form began almost a decade ago, as part of his “My Wyoming” newspaper column. He eventually started work on the book that would eventually bear the title Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders and 33 Other Fascinating Places, based on those early musings. Published in 2012, the book features Sniffin’s writings, as well as those of contributing writers and photographers, highlighting his views on the must-visit parts of
the state.
“The biggest response I got (to those early columns) was, ‘Who gave you the right to pick the seven wonders of Wyoming?’” Sniffin said.
A couple of his “Seven Wonders” have ties to Goshen County, starting with its presence on the direct route of the Oregon Trail. But, working on a book on the seven natural wonders of Wyoming sort of precluded noting the man-made wonder of the emigrant trails, he said.
“But we have some mighty rivers in this state,” Sniffin said. “And there’s no question, the North Platte is a major river in Wyoming. If Wyoming had Mississippi River, it would definitely be the North Platte.”
His other books in the trilogy include his Wyoming at 125, detailing the history of the state for its quasquicentennial in 2015, written at the request of Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead. Rather than just talk about occurrences and events since Wyoming achieved statehood in 1890, Sniffin had somewhat loftier ideas.
“As I started my research, I learned that all the good stuff happened here before statehood,”
he said.
His research included pouring through some 6,000 historic photos, eventually winnowing them down to 53 of what Sniffin called “the most iconic photos of
Wyoming history.”
Despite delving into the history of the state from super volcanoes and dinosaurs to the Lincoln Highway and the contributions of Native Americans, Sniffin still won’t wear the moniker
of ‘Historian.’
“I’m not an historian,” Sniffin said. “But, if you’re a journalist in Wyoming, history is a big part of the story. I’m just a journalist with an interest in history.”

Video News