10. Wyoming Territorial Prison

Address: 975 Snowy Range Road Laramie, Wyoming 82070


 

Home to Outlaws, Desperados and Gunslingers.  Meet the bad boys of The Wyoming Territorial Prison

Originally built in 1872, the Prison ran on the Auburn Prison System. This required silence at all times, black and white striped uniforms and numbers replaced names for some of the most infamous criminals.

The Wyoming Territorial Prison is a former federal government prison near Laramie, Wyoming. Built in 1872 it is one of the oldest buildings in Wyoming. It operated as a federal penitentiary from 1872 to 1890, and as a state prison from 1890 to 1901. It was then transferred to the University of Wyoming and was used as an agricultural experiment station until 1989. In 1991 the facility was opened to the public, and in 2004 was designated as Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site.

History
The prison was built in 1872 and began accepting prisoners in early 1873. The facility had problems from the outset, with a fire in 1873 and recurrent jailbreaks. Of the 44 prisoners accepted in the first two years of operation, 11 escaped. By 1877 the prison was overcrowded. As the prison filled its reputation worsened, and it became less used, being considered more appropriate for those with light sentences. During the 1880s the prison was under capacity, with as few as three prisoners at one time. However, in 1889 a second cellblock was constructed, an expanding capacity to 150 and providing a central kitchen, dining hall, guards’ rooms and steam heat. There were at least five cells for female inmates, and several solitary confinement cells. In 1890 Wyoming became a state and the facility was transferred to the new state, which already had planned a new facility in Rawlins. Butch Cassidy was incarcerated here in 1894-1896. Prisoners were transferred to Rawlins in 1901, the prison was closed in 1903 and given to the University of Wyoming. Now it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Wyoming State Park. Open Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day check website for hours of operation!

Prison Tours: http://www.wyomingterritorialprison.com/