Thursday, July 12, 2012

Laramie, Wyoming

(F.E. Warren AFB, WY) Hi 83  Lo 56 – It was a beautiful day for a one-hour drive west to Laramie, WY, home of the University of Wyoming. We left mid-morning with the temperature in the low 70’s. On the way out of the base we saw this little lady.
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Like we mentioned before, antelope are very plentiful on the base. The trip west on I-80 offered some very pretty scenery. Here are some examples.
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A few miles east of Laramie we passed the highest point on I-80.
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Then we began the descent into Laramie.
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The historic downtown portion of Laramie is very pretty. We love the look of the cities and towns out west. Most of them retain the look from the wild west days.
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Our friends Kerry and Marsha told us to be sure and see the Laramie Territorial Prison. Dee and I both love touring old jails and prisons, and this turned out to be one of the best we’ve ever seen.
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The Territorial Prison was built in 1872 and was used for 30 years to house violent and desperate outlaws, including the notorious Butch Cassidy, who served 18 months of a 2-year sentence. The prison  was restored in 1990 and the complex includes not only the main prison building, but the warden’s house, the prison industry building, and a small replica of a plains town from the 1880’s.
The warden’s house sits next to the main prison facility.
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The two-story main prison is an imposing looking brick structure.
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This is one of the two 2-story cellblocks, one on either end of the building.
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The cells are very small, and normally housed one prisoner. However, during times of overcrowding they put two prisoners in each cell.
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It was a tough life for the prisoners. They weren’t allowed to talk to each other, and were kept in the cells at all times except when working. They even had a small section for women prisoners. Of the 1,063 convicts incarcerated during the 30 years, 13 were women.
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The prisoners were allowed one bath per week in the summer, and one every two weeks in the winter.
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Behind the prison building is the prison industry building.
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In this building they had a thriving broom-making industry, both to make money for the prison and to keep the prisoners busy. Inside the building is a lot of equipment like they used back in the day. They still make brooms today, and mail them around the world.
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On the grounds next to the prison is a very accurate replica of a prairie community of the late 1800’s, including this pretty little church.
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In this photo the house is in the middle behind the barn, and the building to the left of it is the schoolhouse.
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This is the kitchen of the house.
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And the bedroom.
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And of course out back is the outhouse.
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Inside the one-room schoolhouse, which was typical of the day.
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The rest of the small “town”.
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This looking back at the church from the town area, with the prison building in the background.
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And another view from a different angle.
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After spending two hours wandering around the prison grounds we were pretty hungry, so we stopped at a small BBQ diner in town for some lunch. We then made our way to the Laramie Plaines Museum, which in our opinion was quite mis-named. It’s full name is “The Laramie Plains Museum at the Historic Ivinson Mansion.”
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It turned out to be a tour of a very large home that was built in 1892 by Edward and Jane Ivinson. Edward Ivinson was basically a very rich city father who built the biggest home in town and showed off his wealth. Every town has one, right? :)  Anyway, the tour was nice, but we were expecting a museum life on the plains in the pioneer days. But this house was pretty spectacular. I wasn’t allowed to use flash so photography was a challenge. But here’s a couple of pics.
The parlor.
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The dining room.
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Our tour guide was an eighth-grader named Alex. He was pretty good as long as he kept to his script. But he wasn’t very good at answering questions. And he led us from room to room without much time to look at some of the many artifacts around the home. The tour didn’t cost much ($10.00 with military discount), and it was an enjoyable tour. Just not what we were expecting.
Before leaving Laramie we drove through the campus of the University of Wyoming.
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It’s a pretty campus with brownstone buildings, and smaller than most state universities that we’ve seen.
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We made it back to Cheyenne and rested for a couple of hours until it was time to leave for dinner with Kerry, Marsha, and Marsha’s mom. It was a very pleasant evening with good food and conversation. Another busy but great day comes to an end.

I might mention that this high altitude is affecting us both, but me more than Dee. Any little effort causes us to get out of breath, and today walking around the prison I got a headache and felt kind of bleh! Drinking lots of water seems to help. Apparently this is normal for “flatlanders” when they first get to high elevations. So tomorrow we’re going to spend a day around the rig resting up. I know you all feel really sorry for us, right? Oh woe is us! :)


Mike and Terri said...

We like touring old prisons too. That one looks really interesting along with the prairie community. Love the picture of Dee in the outhouse!!! :)

Joe and Nancy Conrad said...

Thanks for the tour we will have to visit that one. Last fall we toured the Yuma Territorial Prison, it was quite the place.

Rod and Loyce Ivers said...

That altitude sickness is nothing to sneeze at, it is very real... It makes you feel like you are about to kick off or something.... Just a very general feeling of ill will...... And even resting doesn't help, but drinking loads of water seems to keep it bearable... But as you spend time there, it will subside eventually...

Thanks for the neat prison tour, but that's about as close as I want to come, for any prison....


GGuncle said...

You missed old FT. Laramie.

Jill said...

Looking at your picture of the antelope, it occurred to me that I don't think I have ever seen one in the wild yet. I enjoyed your tour of the jail too.