Ames Monument, Albany County

By Katherine Kasckow

April 20, 2016

For a long time I’ve heard of the Ames Monument and seen the signs for it on the way to Vedauwoo, but I never ventured in its direction. One day I decided to take a chance and finally see this historical monument. As I turned onto Road 234, I noticed a triangular object in the distance. As I got closer, I realized the object was a pyramid. Why was there a pyramid in the middle of Albany County? I thought I was going crazy, but as I arrived I was astounded to find out that this seemingly out-of-place pyramid actually serves an important purpose. 

Ames Monument rises out of the plains just south of Interstate 80 in southeast Wyoming

The Ames Monument commemorates Oliver Ames, president of the Union Pacific Railroad, and his brother Oakes Ames, a Massachusetts congressman in the 1860s. Henry Hobson Richardson, a prominent American architect known for his own version of the Romanesque style, designed the pyramid and sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens chiseled the large portraits of Oliver and Oakes that are positioned at the apex of the edifice. Today, both portraits are missing their nose due to old age or possible gun shots, making what some called the “finest monument” lose its air of prestige. Despite the damage to the monument, the pyramid continues to stand as a perplexing and strong structure in Albany County today. 

The gigantic pyramid was stationed right beside The Union Pacific making it a marvelous sight for all passengers in the 1800s, but when the railroad went bankrupt the tracks were moved to a less expensive route. This move left the pyramid with a decrease in foot traffic and this is still prevalent today. The monument is still open to the public, and if you ever have the time to see the pyramid of Wyoming, I highly suggest it. 

Note: The Ames Monument was officially designated as a National Historic Landmark on October 31, 2016. The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office will be holding several events to dedicate the monument as a historic landmark on July 7th and 8th. Learn more by visiting their website here.

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