History of the Sinks Canyon Center


Homesteaded in 1873 by William Nichols, the 127-acre facility soon gained attention as one of Wyoming's first commercial orchards. In 1892, the Nichols family and numerous Lander citizens donated the land to the University of Wyoming (UW). From 1892 to 1943, UW devoted the site to agricultural experiments.

At this time the facility was referred to as the Field Station. At the Field Station testing was performed on varieties of livestock, grains, fruits and vegetables that would grow well in the area. At one point, there were nearly 2,500 fruit trees at the Field Station, producing locally successful varieties of apples, crabapples, plums, cherries, prunes, apricots, quinces, and peaches. After 1917, the experiments also included grain and grass tests.

The photo was taken of George and Joe Steinbrech who lived at the field station and were instrumental in the planting and care of the experimental orchard. When UW discontinued its work at the Center in 1942, they leased it to the John Groves family, who managed it as a hay, fruit, and summer pasture operation. After the senior Groves' death, the university rented the site to Central Wyoming College, which arranged to purchase the property in the early 1970s.


Today, the Center hosts credit and non-credit classes. It is also available to the public for educational, cultural, and social events. The Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River (pronounced "Poposia") runs through the Center year-round, providing great trout fishing.


The remains of the historic orchards occupy about 15 acres of land, while most of the remainder of the Center is in pasture. A barn and chicken coop built before 1900 remain unchanged and in their original locations. Classes, dining and cooking occur in the facility's modern, two-story Fremont Hall, named for one of the successful apple varieties once found at the Center.


Sinks Canyon Center
50 Field Station Road
Lander, WY 82520
Phone: 307-332-3202
Email: Sinks Canyon Center


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