J.W. Hugus once owned over twelve mercantiles in Southern Wyoming and Northern Colorado. At least seven of these stores included banks, and telephone switchboards were installed in the stores for communication between them. These mercantiles made up one of the west's first chains of general stores. The general store was a core business of the early western community that provided banking, postal service, groceries, hardware, catalog service and agricultural products all under one roof. Some of the Hugus stores even had areas partitioned off for use as saloons. The Hugus Company Mercantile in Saratoga was established in 1896, and the building is one of the oldest remaining historic buildings in the community. The brevity of it's lifespan emphasizes the rapid growth and change of this part of the Old West.
After founding the first Bank in Saratoga, J.W. Hugus sold his business here to his brother W.B. Hugus and Fennimore Chatterton and moved on, establishing more mercantiles and banks and eventually settling in Pasadena, CA. The Hugus brothers names can be found scattered throughout the history of the Old West, from Fort Phil Kearney to California. JW Hugus was a man of vision, respect, and great foresight. He realized when opportunity existed and acted upon it by determining the needs of a pioneer country.
The descendants of J.W. Hugus welcome you to Saratoga, Wyoming and look forward to seeing you again.