New Book Depicts Images of Wyoming Bars

January 7, 2010
Hudson Wyoming Bar
The Union Bar in Hudson, located between Lander and Riverton, is among 66 bars featured in "Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Photographic Companion to Wyoming Bars and Backways," written by University of Wyoming lecturer Julianne Couch. (R.K. Hansen Photo)

University of Wyoming faculty member and author Julianne Couch has published a second book of essays about the unique bars scattered throughout the small towns of Wyoming.

"Jukeboxes & Jackalopes: A Photographic Companion to Wyoming Bars and Backways," published by the Wyoming State Historical Society, is 108 pages of color photos featuring 66 bars and the landscapes where they are located. Some of the bars are so small they may be the only business at a location named and noted on the map, but perhaps only claiming two residents.

Regardless of size or remoteness of location, these watering holes often serve as community centers and living rooms away from home for those folks who populate the neighboring ranches and energy industry camps. They offer a delightful environment for travelers who dare to leave the interstate in search of a unique experience.

"In Wyoming, some distinctive, classic watering spots still serve up a cold one or a bracer against the winter winds," writes UW History Professor Phil Roberts in the book's preface. "As each photograph shows, each bar -- like its owner -- has a distinctive look and a unique feel. These snapshots of Wyoming bars give (readers) the flavor of life in what may be one of the last unpretentious, locally patronized institutions in many Wyoming towns."

"Our Wyoming landscapes seem to be changing these days as quickly as our culture, so this book is a bit of a snapshot of the moment," says Couch, a lecturer in the UW Department of English.

The new book, available through the Wyoming Historical Society and at many local bookstores, is a companion to Couch's work, "Jukeboxes & Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey" published in 2007 by Pronghorn Press. The book earned her a Western Horizon award from Wyoming Writers, Inc.


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