Where In Wyoming Is Hanna?
Call it a geeky thing, but I love opening maps and following roads to see where they go. Many times my finger will pass over the names of towns that faded and melted into the landscape. On occasion, I'll drive by one of those old marks on the map and look around to see if anything is left.
Hanna Wyoming is just a dot on the map of Highway 30. I thought it had been abandoned a long time ago. There was once a coal mine there: Union Pacific Rail Road stopped to pick up that coal and move it down the line.
Way back in June of 1903, at 10:30 a.m., an underground explosion rocked the No.1 Colliery. The explosion happened about 1.5 miles under ground. It blocked any escape for most of the workers. 215 men were on site at the time - 46 survived.
The town's graveyard was too small so the Hanna Cemetery was constructed just 3 miles outside of town.
The population peaked in 1980 at 2,288. Then, the coal mine closed. Quickly, the town began to fade.
Unlike Medicine Bow, which is right on the highway, Hanna is off the main road, but within sight, about a half mile away.
Entering the town on it's only paved road, I saw newer buildings, a couple of small neighborhoods, well kept lawns. Literally over the tracks was the old side of town with some of the smallest homes I have seen in many years. But that area has few paved roads and those cute little homes are being allowed to fall apart.
Most towns have a downtown on Main Street. Not so in Hanna.
Probably the only area that can be called a downtown is what I'll call a warehouse plaza area. There I found the only grocery store. It is small compared to what most of us are used to and locally owned. There is also a hardware store and a bar.
In the Hanna Hometown Market, I met a nice lady working behind the register. She was good enough to fill me in on the history of the area and what little work keeps the town going today. I noticed, in her explanation, the town has a lot of little bars - so at least they have a night life in Hanna. But there seemed to be just as many churches as well.
The town is worth driving through to see its history, and it is definitely worth stopping in to meet the pleasant people.