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The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Laramie

(340+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site
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.HistoryThe 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,a 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.The university operated the property to conduct experiments in livestock breeding until 1989. In 1991 the property opened to the public. In 2004 it was established as Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 29, 1978.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I attended/helped set up a wedding in June 2017, and as a venue, the upstairs part of the Horse Barn was amazing. Beautiful and open, and the staff was wiling to help us with anything we needed during...  more »
  • Only expected to spend 1-2 hrs here. Definitely plan more. The whole grounds have a unique history. The warden's house is open and furnished in period pieces. There is a great photo op in the prison w...  more »
  • This is a must see if you are in Laramie. The restoration of this facility is amazing. The tour guides were fun and interesting and if you love the old west and its history you will love this experien...  more »
Google
  • Really loved this - quite unassuming from the outside, the exhibits in the prison itself are incredibly well done, nothing at all like I thought it would be. Also, the adjacent work building shows how they made brooms - quite interesting. Handmade brooms of various sizes for sale in the visitor center - never thought I would be excited about a broom, but these are really great!
  • Very interesting historical site close to interstate highway - well maintained and it only cost $5 to visit - volunteer staff does a Great job to keep you informed - I will recommend this stop to all my contacts interested in historical sites.
  • Great place to learn more wyoming history...the old buildings and stuff is great to look at...they also have some rv parking
  • Informational if you are into Western history. The tour covers 1880 to 1900, and talks about the Laramie Plains at that time. The university is mentioned as it took over the property in the early 1900s'
  • This place was extremely spiritual I truly enjoyed myself and the self-guided tour made it perfect I highly recommend it for anyone passing through or staying a few days like me.