Laramie, WY & the Wyoming Territorial Prison

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Laramie was my next destination, home of the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Territorial Prison. Yes – I said prison. I was excited!
Getting back onto the I-80 from Happy Jack Road.
I arrived in Laramie and this is the view. I don’t think you can ask for anything better!
Laramie is home to the University of Wyoming. From what I could see there really wasn’t anything else in the town other than the school and housing.
Chief Washakie is one of the statues on campus.
Chief Washakie (“Shoots on the Run”) was a warrior who led a band of Shoshones to the Treaty of Fort Laramie council meetings in 1851. He is well known for his leadership in fighting and friendliness with the white pioneers. He had a distinct sound heading into battle as he carried with him a balloon of dried buffalo hide filled with rocks which earned him the name “The Rattle” or “Gourd Rattler”. Chief Washakie later became a scout for the US Army. He is known as one of the most respected leaders in Native American history, even honored by the US Government by naming a US Outpost on a reservation as Fort Washakie. This is the only US Outpost ever to be named after a Native American and the only Native American to have a full military funeral. The dining hall (see in the background) is also named after Chief Washakie (not nearly as cool as a Fort or County but none the less).
His life was pretty interesting, you can read more about him here and here.
I think this is the most popular statue at the University of Wyoming – Wyoming Cowboys / Cowgirls.
Wyoming Territorial Prison can also be found on the outskirts of Laramie.
The prison was built in 1872 and its as creepy as it is old, well as long as you are touring it by yourself. Crazy me was roaming around Wyoming and where do I choose to go? A old prison, go firgure. In 1890, the prison was renamed the Wyoming State Penitentiary. The prison was open for 30 years, housing over 1,000 men and only 12 women along the way. Outlaws like Butch Cassidy, Dan Parker, Clark “the Kid” Pelton and Eliijah Canary were all housed here.
In 1903, the prison became the stock farm for the University of Wyoming. In 1989, local citizens fought to have the building restored to a historical landmark and here it is today.
The prison offers self guided tours and give yourself a couple hours because the property is extensive. You can tour the prison museum, Warden’s house, Horse Barn exhibit, Box Car house, Broom Factory (where the prisioners worked), Church and the Ranchland.I don’t have a lot of pictures of inside the buildings as I was attempting to take videos and kind of run thru it as it kind of freaked me out. Have I mentioned that already? Walking through old buildings alone isn’t really the kind of thing that I’m super excited about. One building was filled with two floors of individual cells and rooms used by the prisoners and you could hear every little noise. I was bound to get the heck out of there but I also wanted to see everything the landmark had to offer.
The property also showcased part of what would have come with the livestock holdings from the University of Wyoming.
A small western town was also built on the property all decked out for Halloween. I suppose this would be a good place to go for haunted houses or tours. I’ll leave that up for one of you to tell me how it is.
The view definitely wasn’t bad though, that’s for sure!
After all my fright and the sun beginning to set, I figured it was a good time to get the hell out of there (I really was creeped out). But the views, man, I’ve wanted to go back since before I left.
The entire way back to Colorado, I would see these land for sale signs and the land was pretty cheap if I remember right. Wouldn’t that be an adventure to just settle out in the middle of nowhere.
I can dream.
Back on the road.

3 thoughts on “Laramie, WY & the Wyoming Territorial Prison

  1. chefmeredith

    Is this a recent trip here or is this an old trip and you’re just posting now? I would totally love to see these sites (the prison). The pictures are great, esp the one w/the windmill. Our county opened a new prison a few yrs back and of course Josh & I went to check it out, it was actually pretty interesting. If I lived closer I’d totally check out these sites w/you!


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