Skip to content home : browse : advanced search : preferences : my favorites : about : help  login  
add to favorites : reference url back to results : previous : next
Zoom in Zoom out Pan left Pan right Pan up Pan down Maximum resolution Fit in window Fit to width Rotate left Rotate right Hide/show thumbnail
Salt Creek Oil field, Lavoye, Wyoming
Salt Creek Oil field, Lavoye, Wyoming
TitleSalt Creek Oil field, Lavoye, Wyoming
Date of Original1923
CreatorBells Studio
Creator RolePhotographer
DescriptionPanoramic view looking down two main dirt roads lined with wooden buildings, shacks and early automobiles at the Salt Creek Oil Field in Lavoye, Wyoming.
General SubjectPioneer era
City & town life
Subject (LCTGM)Buildings
Wooden buildings
Dirt roads
Petroleum industry
Petroleum workers
LocationLavoye (Wyo)
Item Number1-68-9-10
Format of OriginalPhotographic prints
Dimensions of Original9 x 28 cm.
Transcription"Lavoye, Wyo: Salt Creek Oil Field, Wyoming. Bells Studio #724 c. 1923." Written on front of photographic postcard.
NotesTitle created by staff.
Biography/HistoryWilliam E. "Bill" Shemorry was a native of Williston, N.D. who began work in the newspaper industry as a newsboy selling the Williston Herald and the Williams County Farmers Press. In 1953, he started to publish the Williston Plains Reporter, which he operated for 25 years before selling to the Williston Herald. Shemorry then began to concentrate on his own writing and photography. In addition to writing many books on the history of Williams County, he also collected photographs of early North Dakota photographers. Shemorry was an active member of the Williston Fire Department, was Civil Defense Chief of Williams County for three years in the 1950's, and was a combat photographer in World War II. Shemorry's photograph of the discovery of oil in North Dakota on April 4, 1951 at the Clarence Iverson No. 1 is one of the most famous oil photographs ever taken, and was published in many national publications.

Lavoye, also known as Mosher Camp, was named after early homesteader Louis Lavoye. Like other boom towns in Wyoming, it started as a tent city, but rapidly grew to a town with two banks, the Bank of Salt Creek at Lavoye on the right in the above photo and the Salt Creek State Bank, the Castle Creek Supply Company, a Ford garage and other businesses. In 1924, the Ohio Oil Company served notices of eviction on the entire town, requiring the town to be literally moved, Ford dealership and all. Thus, the various buildings were moved across the prairie and re-setup in the town of New Lavoye. New Lavoye, however, also did not last and is now a ghost town. Lavoye, however, was not the only town evicted by an oil company in a dispute between the surface owners and the leases of oil rights. Such disputes are, unfortunately, all too often and the destruction of the town of Lavoye was only an extreme example.
Information above found at:
Repository InstitutionState Historical Society of North Dakota
Repository CollectionWilliam E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection Mss 10958
Credit LineState Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-68-9-10)
Rights ManagementPermission to reproduce this image must be requested from the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
Ordering InformationTo order a reproduction, inquire about the collection, or provide information about an image, please email Emily E. Schultz at
Digital IDws168910
add to favorites : reference url back to results : previous : next
powered by CONTENTdm ® | contact us  ^ to top ^