Some cities appear out of nowhere and thrive for years to come. On the other hand, not all cities are nearly as lucky. Some, for various reasons, die off faster than they appeared. Buford, Wyo., is one city that experienced growth and quickly died off.
Despite its minimal population, people still visit this unincorporated ghost town.
So what’s bringing them to Buford? Let’s find out.
Where Is Buford, Wyoming?
Buford, Wyo., sits halfway between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyo. You can find it in south-central Wyoming, just north of the Colorado border. Those looking to travel to Buford from Denver can do so in approximately 2 hours. Getting to Casper, Wyo., from Buford will take about 2 hours and 45 minutes.
About Buford, Wyoming
The town of Buford is the highest point along Highway 80 and came on the scene in 1866. It grew to more than 2,000 residents but didn’t stay that way. Buford originated as a tradepost during the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. However, the bustling town began to shrink when the fort moved to Laramie.
During its heyday, Buford offered just about everything residents could need, including a school. The school operated from 1905 until 1962. A post office appeared in the town in August of 1900 and continued to serve the area until February 1999. Officials shut down the post office entirely in July 2004.
The town hit the auction block in 2012, and the winning bidder, Pham Dinh Nguyen, paid $900,000 for the town. The Vietnamese owner branded a coffee company and sold it through the town’s convenience store. The owner rebranded Buford in 2013 to “PhinDeli Town Buford.” Nguyen never lived there and would rarely visit. In 2017 the convenience store manager resigned, and the store boarded up.
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What Is Buford, Wyoming, Known For?
The town doesn’t have a massive reputation, but those aware of it know it for Sherman Hill Summit. This is the highest point along Interstate 80. I-80 is a transcontinental interstate that runs from Teaneck, N.J., across the country to San Francisco, Ca., on the west coast.
Buford is also an access point for reaching Ames Monument, a large pyramid designed by Henry Hobson Richardson. The monument lies in Sherman, Wyo., another ghost town that died off when officials moved the Union Pacific tracks further south.
Why Do People Visit Buford, Wyoming?
People continue to visit Buford today because they enjoy seeing and exploring ghost towns across the country. Walking through communities once active with residents can make a unique way to experience history. However, many stop in Buford to get a picture of the town’s famous sign.
The sign marking the start of Buford indicates the elevation of 8,000 feet and the population of one lone resident.
Things to Do Around Buford, Wyoming
While you’re not going to find hopping restaurants or active nightlife in Buford, you can find some things to do in the area. Let’s look at a few places you should visit while exploring Buford, Wyo.
Visit the Ames Brothers Pyramid
If traveling along I-80 and looking for a unique place to get out and stretch your legs, the Ames Brothers Pyramid can make the perfect stop. You’ll find it only a couple of miles from the interstate, and it has an interesting story.
The pyramid is a National Historic Landmark and pays tribute to the former owners of the Union Pacific railway, Oliver and Oakes Ames. They made a killing by selling shovels to gold seekers heading west to California in hopes of striking it rich during the gold rush.
They took their fortunes, purchased the Union Pacific Railroad, and suckered taxpayers out of an estimated $50 million. In 1872, investigators found that Oakes Ames had bribed members of Congress to get their way in Washington.
The scandal ruined the reputation of the Ames brothers, and the Union Pacific built the pyramid to salvage their former owners’ reputation. The monument was an attraction for passengers as the train workers switched engines. The pyramid stands 60 feet tall and measures 60 feet wide at the base. However, it stopped receiving attention when the Union Pacific went bankrupt in the 1890s, and the tracks moved further south.
Walk Around the Old Sherman Cemetery
Approximately a quarter mile north of the Ames Brothers Pyramid is the .14-acre Old Sherman Cemetery. The cemetery has no gate, and a section of the fence has been trampled. This abandoned cemetery sits quietly on a hill, and only a single headstone remains here.
Despite the lack of headstones, it has 53 graves and an additional five graves outside the fenced-in area. The graves inside and outside the fenced-in cemetery belong to 12 females and 46 males.
There’s evidence that one of the graves at some point was exhumed. Many believe the graves are from male railroad workers and the females had supporting roles in the community.
Spend a Day at Curt Gowdy State Park
Curt Gowdy State Park is open 24/7 year-round. The park, 24 miles east of Laramie, features various landscapes and is home to three reservoirs. You’ll find some excellent trout and kokanee salmon fishing in these waters. Plus, this is a great place to visit if you enjoy water sports.
The park is also home to Hynds Lodge on the National Register of Historic Places. The area that houses Hynds Lodge also has an amphitheater that gets used for concerts, productions, and many other cultural activities for the community. You’ll have views of gentle, rolling hills, making it a great place to see wildlife and birds.
Pro Tip: After visiting Curt Gowdy State Park, head to Larmie and check out these 9 Best Things To Do in Laramie, Wyoming.
Do People Still Live in Buford, Wyoming?
Sadly, the last resident moved away in 2012. However, some reports say that the boards on the gas station have been removed, and it’s undergoing a remodel. Gas is available for purchase at the station, and it looks like the new owners have made some upgrades. At the time of the last census, the population sat at zero.
Is Visiting Buford, Wyoming, Worth It?
Buford could be a fun stop when traveling along I-80 and need a place to get out and stretch your legs. Don’t expect a whole lot in terms of entertainment or other offerings. Seeing the physical remains of a once-active town can be a fun and unique experience.
You just may run into the gas station owner or someone that knows a bit of history about the area. So stop and check out Buford, Wyo.
Is a stop at Buford, Wyoming on your bucket list? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
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