Vernal, Utah, is one of the sites being considered by a national association of writers, history buffs and descendants of Old West outlaws that is looking to move its library to another Western town and establish a research center.
Grand Junction and Laramie, Wyo., are other towns being looked at by the National Association of Outlaws and Lawmen, said Jim Dullenty, executive director of the group.Dullenty, a bookstore owner in southwestern Montana, said his association has about 500 members, most of them writers and history buffs and many of them descendants of infamous Old West outlaws.
In addition to doing research for books, articles or genealogy, Dullenty said, association members also hold a rendezvous every year "that gets pretty wild. We get gunfighter groups who give demonstrations and dress up and have a good time."
"We have people you wouldn't believe," he said. "We had Lula Parker Betenson, Butch Cassidy's sister, until she died."
The association's collection of books, manuscripts, tapes, photographs and other research materials prized by western authors is in storage at the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center in Laramie.
Dullenty said university officials "boxed everything up and put it somewhere a couple of years ago when an oil company gave them a big exhibit and ran out of room.
"We want our materials available to the public and to our members," Dullenty said.
Vernal is on the list partly because it has plans to put in a national outlaw center, and Laramie wants to turn an old prison into a museum.
In addition, Dullenty said, members of the association are lobbying for their own states as the location for the museum-research center.