Table Rock Was What?


It’s been far too long since I’ve posted here – again.

In the midst of the chaotic aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, I find myself thinking once more of life at Table Rock and it occurs to me that my decision for the domain name I chose for this site may have been somewhat prophetic. I always thought it was kinda’ cool, but today, I’m thinking that there’s more to the name than
“Table Rock was us.” The fact is, “Table Rock was U.S.”

For those who don’t get it, Table Rock, to me, was a microcosm of what America used to be. It was a melting pot. It brought people of various ethnicity, religious beliefs and backgrounds together and gave us a unique opportunity to learn from each other and celebrate both our similarities and differences. We had a common goal: the security and strength of our community.

It was far from a Utopian society. Put 50 families in close proximity to one another, far from everything else and you’re going to have your share of problems. People are fallible. We learned from our mistakes, with various levels of repercussion. We made and lost friends. We did all those things that people do to each other, but we found ways to make it work.

Through it all, we had a community that could come together when it was called for. We helped support our children. We pitched in to help with projects. We learned to treat wounds and save lives. We not only survived extreme winters, we found ways to make then fun.  Meanwhile, those of us that were employees took our jobs seriously and “brought home the bacon” in more ways than one. (Table Rockers will understand.) We counted on our families and the community to keep the home fires burning.

Our common goals were more important than our petty differences. Yes, there were times when we trod on each other, sometimes in inexcusable ways. Through it all, we didn’t shoot each other, we didn’t interfere with each others’ beliefs and we did what needed to be done. There were more good times than bad, and man, did we know how to party as a community.

Oh, and that community security I mentioned? Some Table Rockers will remember the night it was reported that some escaped convicts might be headed our way. I can tell you that those individuals will never know how fortunate they were to have never wandered in. On the other side of the coin, we met and chatted with curious travelers and gave stranded motorists lodging and help regularly. Our borders were open, but marked and protected.

I miss the USA that Table Rock mirrored. The one in which standing up for yourself and for others came naturally. The one where we knuckled down and made a good life with what we had. The one where our children learned to be strong and kind. The one that made me and others like me.

About Dana

I spent 7 years at Table Rock with my wife, daughter and son. After transferring in from the Amarillo, Texas survey crew, I worked as a Plant Operator at Table Rock Processing Plant and later as a General Technician. Like most Table Rockers, life in Table Rock Village and working (and playing) in the Wyoming Red Desert had a great impact on the person I became. I now make my living as a freelance writer and I am working on a book about Table Rock and how it shaped the lives of the residents. I hope to share the stories of fellow Table Rockers as well as my own.


  1. Lisa Vermillion

    Damn it Dana you made me cry! Beautifully written and so true. I don’t think there are but maybe a few who would not turn the clock back and return to those Tabl Rock days. To try and describe the camp and our way of life to someone that didn’t live there is almost impossible. I always get ” How did you stand it?” Stand what? Knowing your children were protected and safe. Knowing 50 other families were going to be there for you, no questions asked. Knowing there was not one man that would not hesitate to protect you as if you were his own. Making friends that have lasted a life time.

    We had our own voting site set up at the rec center. I was an election judge almost the entire time I lived there and loved it. People didn’t just come to vote, they showed up with snacks, lunch and supper. It didn’t matter who they voted for or what party they supported. After the election was over and the votes were counted there was no anger or taking it personal. Not to say there were not heated discussions! But then it was over and the next day you went to a company party or you met to play poker, or you rode together to a child’s school event. Did we live in a bubble? If so I think I would like to be ack in it!

  2. Very Nice. SIMPLY TABLEROCK !

  3. Kevin Hartig

    Thanks for the information you assembled. I first saw the village in the mid-80’s when I moved to Green River, WY to work on the Shute Creek gas plant. I moved to Colorado shortly after but not until after marrying my wife. We have travelled between Loveland and Green River several times a year since 1987 and as we’d travel by we always wondered why there was what appeared to be a subdivision ‘way out here.’ Then a few years back we saw the story about a few of the homes being moved to Rock Springs. Shortly after that we saw that all the homes had been removed. Again it made us wonder what the story was.

    Having just travelled by the site today I searched and found this site. I can’t tell you how great it is to learn about the plant, the village and the people that made it all happen. It is a great story and a real testament to the American spirit. Thank you so much for publishing this site and so eloquently sharing the stories.

    • Dana

      Hi Kevin,
      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments. I’m very glad indeed to hear that the spirit of Table Rock is somewhat conveyed by what I write here. Those of us who were a part of it were certainly molded by it. It’s comments like yours that motivate me to keep the site going. Thanks again!

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