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The Alliance for Historic Wyoming is Wyoming's statewide historic preservation nonprofit. A 501(c)(3) organization, AHW is dedicated to protecting our historic and cultural resources in both the built and natural environments.
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The Casper Artists' Guild's renovation of the former Pacific Produce building for their new location is a great example of how abandoned historic buildings can transition from a public burden to local gem and destination place with strong community support.
The Laramie Plains Civic Center is a terrific example of how former school buildings can be adaptively reused for the greater good of a community. Laramie will have to face this issue once more as the high school built in 1960 is now empty after the city built a brand new high school that opened in 2016.
In 1911, Park County split from Big Horn County, and in 1914 the Park County commissioners appointed a board for a public library system. The city council immediately applied again for a Carnegie Public Library Building grant.
Within the city of Rock Springs stands the grandiose Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church that was officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 22nd, 2015. With its Romanesque architecture and a 125-feet bell tower, the Church looms over the southwestern Wyoming town.
The Big Horn County Library was created in 1907 by the Book Lovers’ Club, an organization created by a group of women in Basin in 1906.
The Rock Springs Coal sign was originally constructed in 1929 by the Wyoming Coal Operators. The welcome sign arched over the Lincoln Highway to greet travelers as they came through town.
The Bim Kendall House in Laramie is home to the University of Wyoming's Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources. The house was built in 1954 by prominent Laramie architects Eliot and Clinton Hitchcock.
In order to make the Cheyenne depot stand out, the Union Pacific turned to prominent architect Henry Van Brunt who was nationally-known for his institutional buildings designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque style that was popular during the late 19th Century.
The bandshell in Laramie is one of thousands of public works projects that were completed as a result of the Works Progress Administration. Communities across America are dotted with buildings and parks that came from Roosevelt's New Deal.
The Wyoming Motel in Cheyenne was one of the many motels that sprung up in the heyday of long distance automobile travel. The motel was built in 1936, making it Cheyenne institution for the last 80 years.
The depot in Medicine Bow stands out in the small town with its bright red roof. It speaks to a time early in the state's history before the Lincoln Highway and the Interstate highway system when train travel was still the best way to get from destination to destination.
In a way, the the Wolf Hotel in Saratoga owes its existence to a particular case of rheumatism. Now it has become a feature of Carbon County.
The town of Granger is currently in the process of converting their former school into a community center.
The Lincoln Highway was notorious for attracting unique landmarks to draw in business from travelers. One such place on the Lincoln Highway, now Highway 30, is a monolithic, three-story stone building - the Virginian Hotel.
The Fossil Cabin Museum on Highway 287 just outside of Medicine Bow, Wyoming was built in 1932, but its materials are much older. The cabin is constructed entirely out of dinosaur fossils.
The castle-like structure that sits atop a cliff overlooking the Guernsey reservoir was a Civilian Conservation Corps project initiated during the Great Depression.
While the Allen Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church has not been in one location for its entire lifetime, its congregation and presence in the community have been an important part of Cheyenne since it was established in 1878.
Fort McKinney, located about two miles west of Buffalo, Wyoming, was home to at least four companies of Buffalo Soldiers, all members of the Black Ninth Cavalry, making it a significant site in Western African American history.
The Ucross Foundation has successfully developed a way to find creative new uses for historic buildings while at the same time honoring the historic use of the location and the agricultural traditions of the area. Ucross still operates as a working cattle ranch, while simultaneously serving as a retreat for artists from across the country, making it a truly successful preservation project.
With the new Laramie High School now completed, questions surround the fate of the one built in 1960. There is a glimmer of hope, however, if we turn to the past. Laramie has an excellent track record of reusing its high schools, with one former high school now being used as apartments and the other serving as the Laramie Plains Civic Center.
One of few schools in Wyoming to incorporate Craftsman elements in its design, Nellie Iles School in Laramie is seamlessly integrated into the surrounding neighborhood.
The Lincoln Highway didn't only offer spectacular views of the beautiful countryside across America. It also offered some pretty nice accommodations. The Hotel Tomahawk in Green River was as glamorous as any hotel in its time, and it has continued to serve the population of Green River in various ways over its lifetime.
Elmer Lovejoy brought the future to Wyoming when he introduced the state to the horseless carriage in 1898. University of Wyoming professor Phil Roberts tells the story of Wyoming's first automobile.
Cover Photo credit: Cinema Treasures
When you think of Sinclair, you might think of the bold green dinosaur associated with the oil company. However, there is also a small town named for the company in central Wyoming. In the town are not green dinosaurs, but instead a plethora of Spanish Mission revival architecture. One great example is the Sinclair Theater, which has been empty for some time but is currently in the process of a historic preservation project.
The Kuster Hotel in Laramie is not named for infamous General George Custer who was very active in the west during the mid to late-19th century. The Kuster Hotel was actually named for a German family that was one of the first to settle Laramie in the 1860s. Built in 1869, the hotel was the first stone building built in the town.
St. Joseph's began in 1930 as an orphanage. Since then, it has been converted to a psychiatric residence facility for kids from around the state. St. Joseph's uses its history in the area to enhance their practices by preserving and reusing historic facilities in their day to day operations.
The grand art deco fountain that rises in front of Cheyenne's municipal airport honored early aviation history when it was built in the 1930s. Today, it not only continues to honor that early history, but also memorializes every year of aviation in Wyoming ever since it was built. The group Cheyenne Historic Preservation is actively working to restore the fountain to allow it to continue to embody the aviation spirit of Cheyenne for many more decades.
Fort Bernard was founded in 1845 outside of Fort Laramie, and was the site of a major conflict between settlers, the military, and the Lakota Sioux. The Western History Center is excavating the site and is looking for help building a fence and controlling weeds.
Sadly, the Shoshone Episcopal Mission School burned down March 24th. The school building is rooted in the history of Wyoming, the west, and the United States. Read more about it here.
The cabins at Simpson Lake can only be reached by horseback. Their remoteness is only one contributing factor to Simpson Lake Lodge's charm.
Officially closed on February 1, 1946, the Douglas, Wyoming prisoner of war camp that housed Italian and German P.O.W.’s during WWII represents an interesting chapter in the history of our state.
Jeffrey City did not begin as a mining town. The town originally sprang up in the early 1930s when Beulah Peterson Walker and her husband moved to the area from Nebraska and homesteaded in the area.
Located in northeast Wyoming along the Powder River, the LX Bar joins a long list of historic ranches that tell the story of the early cattle industry in the state of Wyoming.
Carbon was founded in 1868 along the Union Pacific railroad and was named for the resource that was mined in the area: coal.
Our relationship with fire goes way back, but we are still engaged in a constant negotiation with the flame to this day. Fire lookout towers stand as beacons in the everlasting conversation between natural processes and human interests.
Empire was founded in 1908 by African American settlers who came from Nebraska to build a racially self-sufficient, politically autonomous community in the Equality State. Empire thrived for about a decade, but vanished from the map in the mid-1920s.
While railroad towns like Cheyenne were already developing reputations and nicknames like “Hell on Wheels,” the railroad industry was also thriving in the mountains that span the vast spaces between those towns. The early period of railroad construction throughout the west formed a strong connection between interstate commerce and transportation and what would become our nation’s national forests.
The development of the modern west was largely related to the vast open spaces that surround the towns. Many of these lands are federally owned, and contain historic resources related to homesteading, ranching and grazing, energy development, and fire suppression. The National Historic Preservation Act plays an important role in preserving these open spaces and the cultural resources that lie within them.
Historic preservation is always an ongoing process - it is rarely finished, and is often a community effort. Preservation at Heart Mountain wouldn't be possible without a community of volunteers and supporters who see the value in saving such a troubling place. Their hard work will keep Heart Mountain available for people of the next generation. Read Part III of our Heart Mountain profile to learn about long term preservation at the site and how to get involved.
How do you preserve something when there is nothing left to preserve? The story of preservation at Heart Mountain shows that there may always be something to preserve - you just have to go find it and bring it back.
Historic preservation isn't always about saving the prettiest buildings or the sites of triumph of the human spirit. Historic preservation is at its core about preserving sites that are important. Important sites can include both the triumphant and the embarrassing moments from our history. They all provide us with insight and direction about who we are, where we came from, and how we can create a more equitable future.
Stacy Whitman-Moore worked for two years for the Alliance for Historic Wyoming as an archaeologist in Grand Teton National Park. Read her testimony about her experience and why cultural resources matter.
Oftentimes in historic preservation, there are conflicts that arise between industrial development and historic places and spaces. In this piece, AHW volunteer Kathrine Kasckow shares her personal account of how the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act helped preserve an important historic landscape on public lands.
The western cowboy's history in Wyoming is actually relatively short. Several different Native American groups inhabited the region far before immigrants from the east settled there, and they are still here today.
Not all towns last forever. However, they leave behind relics, clues, and memories that excite the imagination and inspire tales of mystery.
Historic ranches don't just give us beautiful century-old barns to look at - they also contribute in preserving the wide-open spaces that have come to define Wyoming.
South Pass played a crucial role in allowing the booming United States to spread from coast to coast
Wyoming’s economy has long been driven by energy extraction. However, what remains less well-known are some of the remarkable industrial heritage sites that dot the state.
Wyoming has always been at the heart of the nation’s move west.
What's new in preservation
Carbon Cemetery Day to take place on Saturday, May 20th
Anyone interested in participating in the day's activities should plan on being at the cemetery by 10:00 AM. This year the focus is going to be on constructing a trail between the town site and the cemetery. To get there from Medicine Bow, go west on US 30 approximately 10 miles to Carbon County Road 115, turn left, and go south about 5 miles. From Hanna, go about 15 miles east on US 30, then turn right on County Rd 115. People are advised to bring their own lunch.