Table Rock Village was built in the late 1970’s by Colorado Interstate Gas (CIG) to provide free housing for employees working in the Red Desert Basin area between Rock Springs and Wamsutter, Wyoming. In addition to the housing, residents of the community enjoyed free utilities, cable television and use of the recreation facilities. Until its closure in July of 2003, this remote village provided a unique lifestyle for a host of families and individuals that elected to take advantage of the opportunities it offered. After closure of the village, some of the homes were moved 45 miles west to Rock Springs, where they now form a small community within the boundaries of the city. After standing for many years and deteriorating, the remaining homes and supporting buildings were demolished.
Unfortunately, if you type “Table Rock, Wyoming” into GoogleMaps or Mapquest, the “pinned” location isn’t actually the village, the plant or even the butte the location is named for. The map location below shows the exit and the village loop. By zooming out gradually from this view, you can get a good picture of the actual location. As you can see, the distance from major towns is considerable; approximately 45 miles east of Rock Springs and 63 miles west of Rawlins. Use the buttons to check out some alternate views.
Click on the photo at left for a better view of the butte that the Village was named for. This is a good example of the environment that makes up the setting for the community. Sage and desert grasses are the predominant vegetation in the alkaline soil and the dry, rocky hills deter most travelers. Those that lived, worked and played here found much more than the casual eye observes.
Table Rock Village housing was far above average for what might be considered a “company camp”. All the family homes were roomy, split-level houses with 3 or 4 bedrooms, family room and living room, 2 full bathrooms and double garages. The cedar fenced back yards were ample and each house featured an elevated deck accessed via the door that led into the kitchen. Although the houses were all the same, most families made an effort to create something unique about their little “piece of The Rock”. Exterior painting was the Company’s responsibility and color choices were limited, but trees, shrubs and flowers were planted and carefully tended to encourage them to take hold in the less-than-ideal environment. Photos of the Village as it stood until its demise are a testimony to the green thumbs of some of the residents. Top
For the few single individuals that chose to work in the area, a quadriplex of comfortable apartments was constructed. Residents fondly dubbed this structure “Animal House”, for its fraternity house style and as a friendly jibe toward the single lifestyle. The residents of Animal House were a integral part of the community and our lives there. Top
The Recreation Center, referred to by the residents as “The Rec”, was the pride of the Village and the site of celebrations, activities and events for both the adults and children of the community. As an added incentive for employees to live and work in this remote area, CIG constructed a facility that had few equals in its time. The massive building in the center of the Village housed a full-sized gym with a custom-poured, Tartan floor, an indoor raquetball court, a huge indoor balcony overlooking the gym, a kitchen, TV room with fireplace, pool tables and a foosball table. There were also small meeting rooms and restrooms. Outside the building were tennis courts, a large playground and park and an immense patio. In addition to Company parties, dances and events, the residents formed basketball and volleyball leagues, held raquetball and pool tournaments, Scouting events and much more. Residents could reserve the facilities for private parties on a limited basis and according to availability. Top
Just inside the entrance to the village stood the District Headquarters building. A small crew manned offices, a warehouse and radio dispatch for the many employees in the field. It also served as a check-in station for visitors to the Village. Top
The Table Rock Village lifestyle was uniquely challenging and equally rewarding. Living 45 miles from what most people consider civilization means learning to plan ahead. Trips to the grocery store didn’t happen every day, so we learned to stock our freezers well. Carpooling for those trips as well as activities like bowling, gym classes, etc. not only helped with fuel bills but made the drive more interesting.
The distance and isolation had advantages. Our children played safely within the boundaries of the Village. Rush hour traffic? Not a problem. Noise levels were far below the average town – we respected the sleeping hours of graveyard shift workers. There were no drug dealers on the corners. Car trouble? There was always a neighbor willing to help out. We knew and trusted the neighbors that bussed our children to and from school in Rock Springs and Wamsutter.
Hundreds of acres of public land around the Village provided motorcycling, biking and snowmobiling adventures. Exploration of the surrounding countryside revealed unexpected beauty as well as historic sites and mysteries like ice caverns in the desert. This area yields some of Wyoming’s best pronghorn and mule deer hunting and most Village freezers were well stocked with game meat. We had easy access to the back routes to the popular fishing, hunting and recreation areas that others drove hours to reach.
A Social Club of annually elected Company employees scheduled events like picnics, dances and Holiday parties for adults, kids and families. Scouting programs were started and stayed active. We formed volleyball and basketball leagues and softball teams. We supported our kids and those of our neighbors in their school programs and activities. Table Rock residents never ran out of things to do.
It wasn’t a Utopian life. Winters were extremely harsh. Winds were often fierce. Power outages were common. The highway we traveled to and from town could turn treacherous in minutes. We learned to be prepared for anything and to pull together when things were tough. We learned from the environment and from each other. We also learned much about ourselves. Top