Little America Wyoming, Wyoming

In the southwest corner of Wyoming is a monument of car travel, Little America, known to many for its barrage of billboards along Interstate 80. This gas station/motel/restaurant stop was the first Little America location, built in 1952, when it was US Route 30 that went through here. The creation myth of the place, as described by its founder, the developer Robert Holding, is that he, as a young rancher herding sheep in the area, got stuck overnight in a blizzard, 40 degrees below zero. He survived the night, and later imagined building a refuge here, in the remote treeless plains of southeastern Wyoming, for any travelers passing through. Since he owned the land, he did, and named it after Admiral Byrd’s remote snowbound Antarctic base, Little America. Holden grew his collection of real estate and hotels, including the Little America brand, ski resorts, and the Sinclair Oil Company, into an empire that made him a billionaire a couple times over. For a while this Little America Travel Center was also known as the nation’s largest gas station, with 55 pumps–Sinclair branded, of course.