The South Chugwater Highway sign on Historic US-87 is in bad shape and no longer paid attention to. The Interstate-25 sign in the bottom left directs travelers on the Old South Chugwater Highway on how to leave town.
The Grant Hotel entertained guests for over 70 years since it opened in 1914 on Chugwater's main street. Today it is over a hundred years old and sits forgotten and blighted, waiting for the day a new owner will bring it back to life.
Since the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 signed into law by President Eisenhower, most towns that did not have a significant economic diversity or were not a metropolitan hub or a tourist destination fell into decline. Highway officials of the 1950's would often assure towns that were being bypassed that an abundance of signage would ensure motorists who needed lodging and food would still stop there, and that only extra traffic that was trying to get through town would be alleviated as shown here in this 1950's Interstate promotional video: https://youtu.be/wnrqUHF5bH8?t=865.
This did not take into account that when traveling at high speeds on the interstate, most people will opt to stop only in relatively large town centers with many options, and usually no more than a mile from the offramp before getting back on the Interstate after their needs have been met at a basic level. Economic activity has since been concentrated into what were already larger commercial centers, and funneled away from smaller towns that were not considered from the comfort and speed of the interstate.
Smaller towns such as Chugwater, Kaycee, Midwest, and Glendo have lost the majority of their commercial activity and lost population since the Interstate bypassed them while larger towns and tourism destinations such as Cheyenne, Wheatland, Casper, and Sheridan have gained population. Many of the larger towns have however struggled to maintain their historic downtowns and have lost significant cultural landmarks while seeing an expansion in large retail, fast food chains, and suburban sprawl.
Gas stations and motels were once proud establishments with ornate details in their roofline, doors, and windows. Lining the highway and offering services from tune-ups to oil changes as well as full service gasoline refueling, these small local businesses were proud of their community and their highway and were sometimes a destination in and of themselves!
What was West Wind Cycle on Business 87/25 in Wheatland in the 90's was likely a gas station and garage in the 1920s and 30s. Neither business has survived the Interstate bypass.
The Sunset Court motel on Historic US-87 in Wheatland (1301 9th street) as it looked in the 1940's/50's. (Image Platte County Library Archives)
The Sunset is no longer a motel, like many motels has turned into an apartment complex for a more stable source of income as traffic on US-87 dried up with the advent of Interstate-25 (Image Google Maps)
This portion of roadbed about 5 miles North of WY-387 and Exit 227 on Interstate 25 and visible from the current highway has no state, county, or local designation. It appears that no one is maintaining it since it was abandoned in the 1980's as the final alignment of US-87 from Midwest to Kaycee. The road is poorly maintained with large potholes along the entire remaining segment from Exit 235 to WY-387, but is drivable.
Further South along the unnamed roadbed of Historic US-87, a large cut and three lane highway are visible. Installed sometime in the 1960's to bypass and shorten the older route at Exit 227, the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 had already been passed and its fate seen today sealed. As mentioned above this roadbed is NOT maintained at all and full of large potholes and cracks with grass growing out of them.
Original alignments that have been abandoned are often washed out making them very dangerous to drive on because of unseen undermining. This is often due to lack of maintenance as well as weathering and exposure to grazing livestock.