2. Railroad Romance

Address: 718 S. 1st Street Laramie Wyoming 82070


 
The Love story of General Jack Casement and his wife Francis. While tracks were laid coast to coast, a love story flourished across the miles. General Casement and his wife Francis, corresponded for 4 years as he oversaw the Union Pacific’s construction.
History: As Casement’s crews pushed across the plains they were followed by a large contingent of “camp followers” who provided such indulgences as prostitution, liquor, gambling, and other services for the laborers. This ever moving assemblage of rail workers and hangers-on became known as Hell on Wheels. As well as being descriptive of daily life at “end track,” the term has now become further enshrined by an eponymous TV series, Hell on Wheels (TV series).
In 1867 when the Union Pacific crossed into what was to become the Wyoming Territory, Casement, a popular figure, was elected to be Wyoming’s first Representative in Congress. After a long struggle, Congress ruled that the election was illegal and Casement was never seated.
Legend has it that when the Golden Spike was to be placed to mark the completion of the transcontinental railway, the driving of the spike was to be done by Leland Stanford, President of the Southern Pacific. When Stanford was unable to hit the spike properly, Casement supposedly took the spike maul and drove it himself but the story is probably apocryphal.
After the completion of the transcontinental railway Casement continued to be active in railway construction and even played a role in the construction of a second route to the Pacific, this time in Costa Rica.
Casement had the misfortune to be in San Jose, California when the 1906 San Francisco earthquake struck. Staying at the Vendome Hotel with his wife, he was pinned in his bed and suffered three broken ribs when parts of the hotel collapsed. [2] Although he survived this encounter, his full health never returned.
Casement died in Painesville, Ohio, on December 13, 1909. Casement Airport is named in his memory, as was a World War II liberty ship, the SS John S. Casement.