Hilery Lindmier, student at Natrona County High School from 1993-1997: Ever since I was little I wanted to attend the school that looked like a castle! Needless to say, I was pretty excited to be able to go to NCHS, following in the footsteps of both my father andgrandfather. I loved entering the school through the grand foyer — it always made me feel like I had really arrived somewhere important. My favorite memory actually predates when I went to school as a high school student. We use to attend Wyoming Symphony Orchestra concerts when I was in grade school, and my brother and I would sometimes help by handing out concert programs. Our favorite place to sit was in the balcony, and I remember studying the ceiling as I’d listen to the music, wondering what it would be like to climb around in the attic space and look down through the ornate vents. I also remember tracing the water marks across the ceiling, which is particularly sad when I think about it now, because that means the auditorium (and school) has experienced neglect for twenty plus years.
Natrona County High School (NCHS) stands as one of Wyoming’s most distinguished buildings, displaying the Collegiate Gothic style of architecture used for many prestigious educational buildings in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Its soaring tower and terra cotta detailing are just some indicators of the importance of education in the state of Wyoming, both then and now. Constructed after the 1920s oil boom in Casper, the physical appearance of the building, its conception, and its growth are closely intertwined with the economic growth of Casper and the evolution of progressive ideas about education sweeping the country.
Through the years, the school has been recognized as one of the leading high schools in Wyoming, providing education to many youth who went on to become prominent leaders in many ﬁelds. Both former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne Vincent Cheney graduated from NCHS in 1959. Lynne Cheney wrote of NCHS in her book In Blue Skies, No Fences: A Memoir of Childhood and Family,
”Our High School was one of the most beautiful buildings in Casper, if not in all of Wyoming…It rose like a castle from land that within living memory had been empty prairie. As an entering freshman in 1955, I loved its grandeur, as had students for nearly thirty years. In a time and place when most construction was done with today and tomorrow in mind, we had a high school for generations.”
Many members of the Casper community hold strong ties to the school. This is evident in the current renovation project underway. The renovation and addition will allow NCHS to adapt to foreseeable changes in 21st century learning curriculum and enrollment growth while preserving the historic architecture of the building.
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