Preserving the Character of Your Community: Historic Preservation in Sheridan

By Mary Humstone, AHW Board Member

About 30 people joined the Alliance for Historic Wyoming and the Downtown Sheridan Association for a workshop November 8 on “Preserving the Character of Your Community: Historic Preservation in Sheridan.” Workshop presenters Mary Humstone and Lesley Gilmore led the workshop, which was attended by architects, cultural resource managers, building owners, realtors, and county commissioners. The workshop focused on Sheridan’s historic assets, which range from Fort McKenzie, an 1898 U.S. Army post now home to the Veterans Administration Medical Center, and the 1892 Sheridan Inn, recently rehabilitated and reopened for lodging, to the 12-block Main Street Historic District.

Humstone, an Alliance board member and University of Wyoming instructor, opened the workshop with a presentation on the reasons we preserve historic places, from personal memories to economic revitalization. Historic buildings play a critical role in our community image, community identity, and sense of history. Lesley Gilmore, a historic preservation architect with CTA Architects Engineers in Bozeman, showed the elaborate details on Sheridan’s downtown buildings, and gave advice on preserving historic character while updating a building for a new or continued use. Participants used maps of Sheridan to identify the places that they thought were most important to the community, as well as successful projects and ongoing threats.

As a result of the workshop, a group of historic preservation advocates is already talking about reviving the Sheridan County Historic Preservation Board, or establishing a city board (CLG) certified by the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office. This would help institutionalize historic preservation in the community and provide grant funds to survey historic properties, conduct feasibility studies and develop tours and other interpretive projects.