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Abandoned Bentonite Mill, Clay Spur, Wyoming, 1989

Osage, Wyoming is approximately 15 miles southeast of Upton. Nearby at Clay Spur, Wyoming, was one of the first modern bentonite mills constructed in the state. The plant opened in 1928 and closed in the 1970's due to the low quality of the remaining reserves of clay which fed the plant. Clay would be brought into the plant by railroad hopper car, empties. The clay would be cut up into small pieces and fed into large oil fired drying ovens. The dried clay would then be pulverized before being shipped.


Abandoned Machine Shop, Bentonite Mill, Clay Spur, 1989.

Nearby were the clay pits. In the 1990's experimentation was conducted at relaiming the former clay pit sites with vegetation. It was found necessary to mix in sawdust into the clay in an effort to get grass to grow. Testing is still be carried out.


Stable, Clay Spur, wyoming, 1989.

Clay Spur was a company town in much the same manner as earlier coal camps and oil camps of the period. Single employees could stay in a bunk house.


Bunkhouse, Clay Spur, 1989.


Bath House, Clay Spur, 1989.


Abandoned house, Clay Spur, 1989.

For married employees there were both single houses and duplexes.


Abandoned Duplex, Clay Spur, 1989.

Although the above plant has now been razed, major bentonite operations still exist in Wyoming. There operations are conducted by American Colloid Co. of Belle Fourche in Colony, Wyoming, Lovell, and Upton. American Colloid also operated in South Daktoa, Lowndes County, Alabama, and Aberdeen Mississippi. The Bentonite Corp operates in Big Horn County, Colony in Crook County as well as in Montana. Other companies also have operations in Johnson, Natrona, Big Horn and Washakie Counties.