Susan Wissler House

By Katherine Kasckow

May 10, 2017

“The Susan Wissler House is important in our history, not only to the old west days but as a reminder of the great role women played in making this country great. The Susan Wissler House is in the center of Dayton with historical buildings to the right, left, and across the street. It is important to keep the community history intact for future generations of locals and visitors alike.”
-Elaine Stevens, Owner of the Dayton Mercantile House

Susan Wissler was born in Broadhead, Minnesota in 1853 and would become the first female mayor in Wyoming. She was also one of the first women in the whole United States to be mayor, following in the footsteps of Susanna Salter, who was the first female mayor, elected in 1887 in Argonia, Kansas.[1] Wissler was appointed to office in May of 1911 on a non-partisan platform that aimed to make Dayton the “cleanest town in Wyoming, morally, physically, financially, and every other way.”[2] She was in office for three years, where she regulated gaming and saloons within the city. Making good on her promise to clean up the city, she installed the city’s first water works, established a five miles-per-hour speed limit for cars, and outlawed shooting of firearms inside city limits.[3] Once her term was over, she moved to Montana.

wissler house.jpg

The house Wissler lived in when she held office is located on 406 Main Street, Dayton, Wyoming. The house was built around 1885 by an unknown architect. Like most houses, the building has had some alterations over the years, but most of the changes are minor and the building has kept its original historic integrity. The house has 1 ½ floors with a false front façade typical of commercial architecture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. When she moved to the building in 1905, she paid a total of $700.00 and established a hat shop on the first floor of the building. The house is a monumental structure that will remind generations through the ages where the first woman mayor in Wyoming resided.

Susan Wissler’s house, which includes the house with the modern additions, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It remains a key piece of history within the town of Dayton, Sheridan County, and Wyoming as a whole.  

[1] http://www.kancoll.org/khq/1954/54_3_billington.htm

[2] Sheridan Press: 9 February, 1934.

[3]  National Register Application for the house, https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/76c0c9d4-19df-4499-a8d0-da0b91174079

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