Lemley Mill, WY 2021
Lemley Mill, WY 2021

Lemley Mill, WY 2021

Lemley Mill, WY 2021

Lemley Mill is part of the 30-square-miles South Pass Historic Mining Area, which contains remnants of five (yes, five!) National Historic Trails. Thanks to a gold rush here in 1867, the region’s population mushroomed to almost 1,500 people by 1868. Just four years later the mines had played out, and most all the prospectors left shortly thereafter. Our work here will ensure the history contained in this site can be interpreted and explored for generations to come.

PROJECT PARTNER:  Bureau of Land Management

SESSION DATES:  August 8-13, August 15-20, August 22-27, and August 29 – September 3

Project Site Description & History

Located just 40 minutes from the outdoor-lovers’ destination of Lander, WY, gateway to the unforgettable Wind River Range, Lemley Mill is part of the 30-square-miles South Pass Historic Mining Area. A small gold discovery in 1867 bolstered the local population but quickly fizzled out following the mines playing out in the area. The Lemley Mill was constructed during a failed attempt to revive mining here during the Great Depression, but was abandoned just a decade later due to its unprofitability. It was acquired by the BLM in the 1960s. Today, just handful of folks live in the area. The historic gravity mill retains distinctive construction methods of the period and gold-milling components. The last major renovation was by the BLM in the 1970’s and included adding electricity, adding new structural support, and exterior water proofing. The building, as it stands today, needs an overhaul to stabilize many areas of collapse and deterioration.

HistoriCorps will provide work to support stabilization efforts that include interior structural reinforcement and replacement of exterior wood areas to protect the building. The project will first clean the interior areas of collapsed debris, protect the historic items in place, and replace damaged roof sections, and assist in long-term BLM site interpretation to tell the story of the miners and history of the land for generations to come.

The South Pass Historic Mining area contains remnants of five National Historic Trails. Emigrants used these trails to travel across the continent, often in search of new livelihoods. An estimated 400,000 people traveled the Oregon Trail (the most famous of the five) between 1830 and 1870. An additional historic route, the Wyoming Women’s Suffrage Highway, runs near here as well.

Intrepid travelers willing to go “where the rails end and the trails begin” enjoy exploring the natural and historic features found throughout this region. Volunteers on this project will have the opportunity to learn about mining history in Wyoming, experience dramatic and ever-changing landscapes at the base of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and do the hands-on work necessary to ensure the history contained in this site can be interpreted and explored for generations to come.

Sign reads, “The South Pass, in which you are now located, is perhaps the most significant transportation gateway through the Rocky Mountains.”

Several pieces of mill equipment were left behind when the mines closed.

Location and Logistics

PROJECT PARTNER: Bureau of Land Management

SESSION DATES: August 8-13, August 15-20, August 22-27, and August 29 – September 3. Please plan to arrive at our campsite no earlier than 6pm and no later than 8pm on the first day of your session.

SITE INFORMATION:    Tent camping only  Site is RV/trailer accessible

We will camp nearby and commute daily to the jobsite. Carpooling may be necessary. The exact campground location is still being determined, however, as of 4/28/2021, all options are accessible for tent campers, truck campers/campervans, and small RVs/trailers (although there are no hookups and the ground may not be perfectly level). This will be updated soon and volunteers will be notified.


ABOUT VOLUNTEERING: HistoriCorps projects are free for volunteers! HistoriCorps will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite. Volunteers are responsible for their own transportation to the campsite, sleeping equipment, work clothes and boots, and other personal gear.

Scope of Work


HistoriCorps is committed to educating and training volunteers in preservation skills, with an overarching mission of inspiring a preservation ethic in all those involved. Learning and working alongside expert HistoriCorps field staff, volunteers will learn the skills necessary to preserve and stabilize the historic Lemley Mill.

  • Stabilize walls and interior posts: 50%
  • Repair roof framing and decking: 30%
  • Remove debris, being careful to not damage historic machinery: 20%

Please note: Tasks vary by day and by week, depending on a variety of factors including: weather, project priorities, previous groups’ work, and more. Though it is likely you will get to learn and practice most or all of the above tasks, it is not guaranteed. The higher percentage of the scope a particular task is, the more likely you will get to practice it.

Sign Up!

We’re thrilled this project has inspired you to volunteer! Choose your session and register below:

You will know your registration was successful when you receive a confirmation email. Contact volunteer@historicorps.org for assistance.

HistoriCorps does not charge for its volunteering projects. HistoriCorps relies on donations to continue engaging volunteers to save significant historical sites across America for generations to come. Your donation of any amount will make an incredible difference! Increase your impact – make a generous gift today.

Volunteer Logistics, Policies, and Advice

We’re so glad you’re interested in joining this project! If you’re new to our community, review the Volunteer FAQ first! Please note the following logistics and policies:

  • Review our COVID protocols, including mask requirements, here.
  • Volunteering with HistoriCorps is free! We will provide all meals, tools, training, equipment, and a campsite or shared indoor lodging. Dinner is not provided on the first night.
  • Volunteers are responsible for bringing their own gear, sturdy work clothes and boots, and appropriate sleeping equipment. Check the average temperatures before you start packing – the nights and mornings may be colder than you anticipate! Then, read this advice about how to stay warm when tent camping in colder places.
  • Campsite accessibility varies by project. Some projects can accommodate tents only; others can accommodate small RVs. Please review the project site description above for more information, and if you’re still not sure, email volunteer@historicorps.org for help.
  • If this project does not offer showers, you might want to consider bringing a solar shower or research other methods to clean up after the work day.
  • Volunteer crew sizes generally range from 4-8 volunteers, with two HistoriCorps staff that lead and train volunteers in the work.
  • Safety is one of HistoriCorps’ top priorities, and volunteers can contribute to a safe working environment by ensuring their physical fitness is adequate for the work. See above for this project’s scope of work and difficulty level. Please, call us if you are not quite sure if a project is a good fit for your skills or fitness level. We may be able to suggest a project more suitable and enjoyable for you.
  • Dogs are generally allowed to accompany their humans in project campsites (actually, we love having dogs join us around the campfire!). Dogs are not permitted on the job site for everyone's safety. HOWEVER: HistoriCorps also follows the rules and regulations of our project partner. If the project partner does not permit dogs onsite then HistoriCorps is no exception. Please ask HistoriCorps or the project partner directly if you have any questions about whether Fido is welcome.