SWEEPING winds and a rigorous climate, a great diversity of settings, and the availability in some localities of native building materials, lacking in others--all these factors have played a part in determining the architecture of the State. It is generally characterized by utilitarianism.
Early inhabitants of the region left many evidences of the use of rock caves as shelters. The best known of these are in Dinwoodie Canyon, now the center of intensive archeological investigation. Natural caves, with smoke-stained walls and floors strewn with charcoal scraps and flint chippings, are found at the bottom of the limestone cliffs in a gorge in Whalen Canyon, Platte County. A great part of the State served only as a summer camp or hunting ground for the later migrant tribes of Indians, including the Shoshone, Crow, Sioux, and Blackfoot. Their shelters were brush huts or movable skin tepees.
The first cabin in Wyoming of which there is a record was a crude structure erected by Robert Stuart and his Astorians at Bessemer Bend in 1812, on their return trip from the Pacific Coast to St. Louis. It was 8 feet wide and 18 feet long. Its walls, 6 feet high, were hung within with buffalo skins, and a hole in the roof served as chimney for the fireplace in the center of the dwelling.
Most of the early trappers and traders moved about according to the seasons or the game supply, and their temporary shelter was usually a one-room log hut on the bank of a stream. Jack Robertson, a trapper known as 'Uncle Jack Robinson,' is said to have established a permanent cabin on Black's Fork in 1834.
With the development of the fur business, trading posts were erected; the first one, built about 1828 by Antonio Mateo, stood near the forks of Powder River. Mateo's buildings, constructed of hewn logs, mortised to a heavy sill, were surrounded by a bastioned log stockade about 200 feet square and 8 to 10 feet high. These stockades, called Portuguese Houses, were used for trading. On the river bank, a few