From here we'll explore Wyoming's capital city of Cheyenne, located in the extreme southeast corner of the state, and some surrounding areas before heading north.
Cheyenne's first permanent residents arrived there in July 1867, ahead of the Union Pacific railroad, which was being constructed at the time. From its initial population of 11, Cheyenne is now Wyoming's largest city with a population of 53,011 (2000 census.) Quite a metropolis! ;-)
The capitol building's cornerstone was laid on May 18, 1887 and the final wings were completed in 1917. Its design is modeled on the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.
A handsome Cheyenne house...
In addition to being the state capital, Cheyenne is also home to F.E. Warren Air Force Base (which began its life as an Army fort in the 1800's) and to Cheyenne Frontier Days!
Frontier Days, which began in 1897 and is held annually in late July, is a 10 day and 10 night extravaganza of professional rodeo, parades, live musical entertainment by the biggest names in country music, Native American dancing and more. During Frontier Days, Cheyenne's population swells to 3 times its normal size! But the locals handle the crowds with aplomb....Cheyenne's been voted America's "Most Polite City" by executives across the nation. :-)
Well, let's git on out of town now...
...leaving the madding crowds of Cheyenne behind (haha), and head west a bit, to Laramie. Laramie sits at 7165 feet above sea level ~ real nosebleed country! ;-)
Laramie is the site of the University of Wyoming, home of the Wyoming Cowboys and Wyoming's only university, which opened its doors in 1887. From the beginning, UW was open to women. Wyoming was the first state or territory in the nation to give women the right to vote, on Dec 10, 1869. It was in Laramie that the first female vote was cast, by 70-year old Louisa Swain, on Sept 6, 1870.
This statue depicts Esther Hobart Morris, who is usually (though erroneously) credited with getting women the right to vote. In February, 1870 she became the first female justice of the peace anywhere. Wyoming also had the first woman governor in the nation, Nellie Tayloe Ross, elected in 1924. (There are some cynics who say Wyoming only gave women the right to vote to entice more females ~ a scarce and valued commodity in the wild frontier towns ~ into the state!)
Also in Laramie you will find the Wyoming Territorial Prison, built in 1872 to house federal convicts in the newly formed Wyoming Territory.
The most notorious criminal ever housed here was Butch Cassidy. The prison closed its doors in 1902 when the prison, now a State Prison, was moved to Rawlins. The old Territorial Prison is now open to the public as a museum.
We'll head northeast now, to Guernsey, close to the Nebraska border, where you will find these:
The old Oregon Trail ran through here in the mid 1800's, and the thousands of covered wagons have left a permanent legacy of their passing in the soft sandstone.
For another legacy of the Oregon Trail, we'll head almost due west, to a spot 50 miles southwest of Wyoming's second largest city, Casper.
Independence Rock is a state historic site, and a well-known landmark on the trail west, as thousands of emigrants scratched their names on its surface.
"Beaches of Cheyenne"
And now let's head due north, to Wyoming's northeast corner where we'll find the Big Horn Mountains and Devil's Tower!