May 2018 will mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the City of Laramie. That same year, Wyoming Territory was created, and Albany County came into existence in December. To mark these historic occasions, Laramie and Albany County will celebrate the 150 years of our existence beginning on May 4th.
While a few Europeans had been permanently residing on the Laramie Plains since at least 1862, and Fort Sanders was constructed in 1866, it was not until the railroad tracks arrived in what is now downtown Laramie on May 4, 1868, that a permanent settlement was created. That same week, Laramie’s first election was held, choosing a provisional government. Although it failed after six weeks, it marked the beginning of the effort to form a cohesive community.
From that time, the city and county have marked many milestones. Overcoming a six month period of lawlessness, the city settled down and became the focus of world attention in 1870 when, for the first time in history, women served on a formal jury and voted in a municipal election, enjoying equal rights with men.
Rapidly, local businesses began to flourish with ranching and mining complementing the railroad as major employers in the county. The city grew from 788 citizens in 1870 to 2,697 in 1880 and the county from 2,021 to 4,067 souls. Growth was additionally assured by the creation of the University of Wyoming and its location being fixed by the Wyoming Territorial Legislative Assembly at a location “near Laramie.”
While there were the expected ups and downs in the economy, the city and county have weathered the fluctuations and have grown to be the home to more than 36,000 residents who enjoy the benefits of wide open spaces and cultural amenities provided by a first class university.
To mark the actual anniversary of the city, a reception will be held on May 4th at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historical Site. There will be an afternoon of fun and historical hands-on activities for school-age kids from 12:30 to 3:30 and from 3:30 til 6:30 historical speeches and western movies.
Throughout the remainder of 2018, various events will be announced that highlight not only the 1868 founding of city and county, but the entire 150 years of our more than interesting history. Already local churches are planning an old-fashioned ice cream social, the Laramie Plains Museum will have an open house, the Laramie Historic Train Depot will have a model railroad display and the University’s American Heritage Center will be showing photographic displays of our history.
All local organizations are encouraged to sponsor events to mark the sesquicentennial (a fancy word for a 150th anniversary).
Please contact Michael Gray email: Admin@visitlaramie.org Phone: 307-745-4195 for additional information.
Two perspectives of a historic railroad town by Katie Jackson
End of Track is the story of the Transcontinental Railroad’s construction march across southern Wyoming and the growing pains of a state in its infancy. It’s a story of incredible engineering achievements and boisterous “Hell on Wheels” towns. A story of greed and corruption, murder and mayhem; of a clash of cultures and Native American retaliation. But it’s also a story of hope and ambition, determination and unimagined success.
Before the Interstate Highway System, before famed Route 66, before highways were even numbered, there was one road that started it all, one road that changed America forever: The Lincoln Highway. “100 Years on the Lincoln Highway” is the story of the first coast to coast automobile road in the United States and its impact on Wyoming.
Built in 1872, the Territorial Prison holds the stories of some of the state’s most colorful characters including Butch Cassidy and other notorious outlaws. Interviews with author Elnora Frye, Wyoming historian Mike Massie, Director of Marketing for the prison Grace Willing, and chairman of the board for the Territorial Park Fred Henman. We also get a tour of the prison with guide Jim Vander Hooven.
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