Join us in protecting Wyoming's historic places and spaces!
The Alliance for Historic Wyoming (AHW) 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. We work with individuals, organizations, and state and local governments to identify the places that represent Wyoming’s history and culture, and take steps to ensure that these important places survive – respecting the story of past generations and enriching our lives for the future. AHW's offices are located in Laramie, Wyoming and our board is made up of members from all over the state.
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On the western edge of the University of Wyoming campus stands a largely forgotten monument to a former Cowboy. The Lowell O’Bryan monument is an unassuming stone drinking fountain located directly west of Old Main. It bears a plaque that reads “He gave himself to insure the safety of others.”
The first library in Cheyenne was located in Central School in a relatively small room. As the town grew and its needs multiplied, a committee to build a new library was established in 1900, and two years later, Cheyenne had a Carnegie Library.
Hynds Lodge, built by Cheyenne businessman Harry P. Hynds in 1922 for $25,000, was constructed as a lodge at the recreation camp for the Boy Scouts of America. Hynds came to Cheyenne in 1882 and worked as a blacksmith for the Cheyenne-Deadwood Stage Line before acquiring several gambling saloons and making a fortune.
Chinese workers who lived in Chinatown in Rock Springs were attacked in 1885 and the neighborhood was destroyed. Unlike the buildings, the history and stories of their community was not lost.
Mt. Sinai synagogue has provided a space for the Jewish community since 1915, when the original cornerstone was laid on Pioneer avenue and 20th Street.
The First Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Church on August 13th, 1884, conducting services in Scandinavian languages. Newly arriving immigrants who were experiencing the same cultural changes were able to support each other in the shared space of the church.
Susan Wissler was born in Broadhead, Minnesota in 1853 and would become the first female mayor in Wyoming.
On July 4, 1867, the Union Pacific railroad established its headquarters in the area that would later become Cheyenne. The U.S. Cavalry followed them weeks later to establish Fort D.A. Russell. There wouldn’t be a high concentration of Buffalo Soldiers on the base until 1902 after the Philippine Insurrection.
The school was originally built in 1922 as North Casper School. Thanks to the Casper Housing Authority and the VA, the old Roosevelt High School will continue to be a neighborhood center for another hundred years.
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 $64,000 monument project was designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and was completed in 1882. It features two bas-relief sculptures of the Ames brothers, Oakes on the east side and Oliver on the west
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.