Tumble Inn Sign Removed & Getting Restored, Won’t Likely Be Returned To Powder River

The iconic Tumble Inn sign, which for years stood outside a vacant building on a remote stretch of highway in central Wyoming, was taken down on Friday and is in Casper getting restored to its neon-filled glory. Sadly, it probably won’t return to its original location.

JN
Jake Nichols

June 27, 20233 min read

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The venerated cowboy sign beckoning weary travelers in central Wyoming to stop in for a steak and a beer along U.S. Highway 26 is now completely dismantled and in a Casper warehouse.

As Cowboy State Daily originally reported, passersby became concerned when they noticed the uppermost portion of the sign missing back in May. It turned out it was all part of a restoration effort launched by the property’s new owner, Jonathan Thorne.

Thorne updated CSD on the latest progress and why the sign is completely gone now from little Powder River, Wyoming.

And while it’s not likely to stand tall over that abandoned restaurant in Powder River, Thorne said it’s staying in the Cowboy State.

Getting The Works

Neon restoration is underway. It involves replacing broken segments of the 70-year-old tubes, fixing those that can be fixed and injecting them with new gas, and putting the entire display back into its original pattern. A master glass bender is working hard on this.

Other work now involves a lot of grinding and rust removal. Rust that can't be removed will need to be encapsulated with a paint-like product made for that purpose.

No timeline for completing the work was provided by Thorne. He’s working when he can with the help of numerous experts and volunteers.

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To Stay In Wyoming

He did, however, want to assure those interested that the sign will remain in Wyoming and in Natrona County.

“My intention from the beginning was to save this piece of history for the Wyoming people who have come to enjoy it and those who will one day again appreciate it. It belongs here,” Thorne said. “It will 100% stay in Natrona County.”

Putting the sign back in its original location will likely not be happening, though.

“We noticed a lot of broken bottles and rocks that had been heaved at the sign over the years, breaking neon tubes,” Thorne said. “So, do we spend a year with restoration and get it all shiny and fixed up, and stick it back out on a remote stretch of highway? It’s maybe not the best thing to do.”

 Thorne’s gut feeling is the sign will find a home in Casper somewhere, perhaps once again inviting weary travelers to stop in, sit a spell and enjoy a sizzling steak.

“I’ve always thought this sign should do its job. It’s made to beckon people to a business. Hopefully, we can make that happen,” Thorne said.

Want to get involved, stay informed, lend a hand? Much more information is available on a dedicated website.

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Jake Nichols

Features Reporter