The museum administers a unique historic property, the Reliance Tipple,
located at the town of Reliance, about five miles north of Rock Springs
off Highway 191 North. The tipple, one of only two such structures left
in Wyoming, was once used to sort and load coal. It was stabilized and
fenced for protection in the late 1980's. A handicapped accessible
walking path and interpretive signs around the perimeter present the
story of the tipple and coal mining. Tours can be arranged by calling
the museum. Click on the
map below for
enlarged view and directions to the tipple.
Here, where the Reliance Tipple still stands, the first coal loading facility was constructed in 1912. The stone foundations for the earlier wooden tipple are still evident east of the present metal tipple.
The tipple you see today was completed in 1936 and still contains machinery from when it was in operation. Few tipples remain from the era when coal was king. Modern mining methods and a shift to gasoline and diesel powered locomotives made underground coal mining too expensive to compete in the energy market while using the technology of the early twentieth century. Tipples such as this one were torn down and the equipment sold as salvage. The Reliance Tipple is a silent marker of a by-gone age and serves as a tribute to the miners and their families who worked to establish homes in southwest Wyoming and to the men who lost their lives in the coal mines of Sweetwater County.