History of Worland

Charles H. "Dad" Worland in 1900 dug his underground stage stop here on the old Bridger Trail. From Dad’s dugout grew the City of Worland drawing pioneer men and women possessing an indomitable spiritual force, dreaming that the Big Horn River would create a new way of life here in the desert.

In 1903, a party of surveyors made their way into the Big Horn Basin area to determine the feasibility of a large irrigation project. At that time, the current site of Worland had a population of less than 100 people. However, the area held promise and plans were started. With muscles and guts, horses and hand tools, they dug miles of irrigation canals. With the precious water, the parched land became an oasis. By 1904, the project was in full swing and Camp Worland prospered into a community with a school, church, post office and general store. In 1906, with the coming of the railroad, Camp Worland faced a dilemma. The railroad tracks were laid on the east side of the Big Horn River and the encampment was located on the west side. Forced to make a decision about the future of Camp Worland, townspeople decided to move their community across the frozen Big Horn River by sliding the buildings on skids. Incorporated in 1906 as the town of Worland, the friendly community continues to prosper and grow.

Sheltered by formidable mountains the Big Horn Basin nurtured hunting tribes of Crow, Sioux, Arapahoe, and Shoshone who followed the Buffalo. Trappers and gold seekers ripped and ran. Bluecoats came and went. Ranchers and farmers brought courageous wives to put down roots and to weave a new civilization here in the wilderness. They took the sand, sage, and water and made it into Worland - the Jewel of the Big Horn Basin. The proud tradition of Worland is evidenced throughout the town today. Our heritage of courage and determination continues to drive this friendly, warm and western town into the future.

"…and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." Isaiah