The small high-plains town of Lusk is home to 1,567 people and is the seat of Niobara County, the smallest county population-wise in the state of Wyoming. In fact, Lusk is known for being the county seat of the least-populated county in the least-populated state in the US. This is despite Niobara county being approximately twice the size of Rhode Island. But if you believe the town's slogan, this little town is still full of big possibilities!
Lusk was founded in 1886 by Frank S. Lusk, a prominent Wyoming rancher who settled there and established a post office. During that time, the famous Cheyenne-Black Hills Trail ran through the town, leaving behind a strong western heritage. This included a history of armored stagecoaches carrying gold bricks racing to avoid bandits and attacks by Native American tribes. At the turn of the century, silver discovered in the surrounding hills brought a steady stream of miners to Lusk. By the 1950s, growth in the town had stabilized when cattle ranching took over as the primary industry in Lusk. Cattle ranching remains on top here to this day.
This little museum is located in the former Wyoming National Guard Armory and houses a wide variety of relics from the 19th and 20th centuries, when Lusk was a notorious cow-town and homesteading area. Visitors can view everything from an authentic stagecoach used on the Cheyenne to Black Hills Stage and Express Line to a two-headed calf. On your self-guided tour, you can even walk through an old-time store and a one room schoolhouse. Get a real taste of the Old West at this unique museum!
Mother Featherlegs was a prostitute and brothel owner who lived near Lusk along the Cheyenne-Black Hills Trail in the 19th century. Her name came from the "ruffled pantalettes" she was said to have worn. Her establishment was little more than a dugout near a stream, but it became a refuge for bandits in the area. These bandits are said to have entrusted jewels, money and other valuables to Mother Featherlegs for safe-keeping. This may have contributed to her death, though: the unfortunate Madame was murdered in a robbery in 1879, and her grave 10 miles south of Lusk is marked by a small granite monument: the only monument in the US dedicated to a prostitute.
The second weekend in July, the town of Lusk comes together to bring the Old West back to life. Locals dress up in frontier garb and drive a wagon train through town for this pageant/reenactment called the Legend of Rawhide. The players drive the wagon train down the hill, where they make camp at the bottom of Rawhide Buttes. According to the legend, this used to be right in the middle of Indian Territory. Re-enactors portray the story of Clyde Pickett, a man who sneaks off in the middle of the night for unknown reasons. A gunshot is heard and an Indian princess is found dead, but Clyde claims he is innocent. The two-day pageant consists of two performances over the course of a weekend, and is full of tee-pees, gunfire, horse races and the burning of a wagon to remake the old Indian vs. Settler legend. A live band and dances begin at the end of each performance, and the weekend is also marked by a car show and a parade. This is one unique hometown celebration worth traveling for!
Some would argue that The Pizza Place serves up the best pizza in Wyoming, and is even among the best they have ever tasted. We don't want to start a debate, but one thing is clear: people love The Pizza Place for its delicious homemade pies, wide variety of ingredients, warm atmosphere and craft beer selection. In addition to great pizza, you can enjoy delicious calzones, salads and desserts at this local spot. Don't visit Lusk without stopping here for a slice!
If you're looking for a coffee fix, Rough n Refined is the place to go in Lusk. However, this quaint coffee shop has much more to offer than just a cup of Joe. They also offer a variety of breakfast options, pastries, sandwiches and salads to accompany your cappuccino or Chai. With options like the Turkey Avocado BLT and the Toasted Veggie Wrap, there's something for everyone. Whether you're passing through town on a road trip or are planning to stop and stay a while, R n R (as the locals call it) is sure to please.
I wouldn't want to live anywhere else, the sense of community here is truly one of a kind!