Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 25, 2020


The last stop on the mini-tour of eastern Laramie County was Burns, another of the small towns that make this part of Wyoming so interesting. 

While there I saw someone doing a job I wouldn't want - climbing to the top of a water tower. Those men (there were two of them) are far braver than I.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 18, 2020


Remember all the gas pumps in last week's post? There's more to Pine Bluffs than them, including this 30 feet high Our Lady of Peace statue. 

Located right next to the highway, the statue is one of the first things westbound travelers on Interstate 80 see when they cross into Wyoming. 

If you'd like more information, here's the link.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 11, 2020


Here's something you don't see everywhere. Not only is the flying horse a reminder of a time long past, but where else could you find so many old gas pumps?

I chuckled when I reached the intersection and saw this scene in front of me. Where did I find it? Pine Bluffs, on the state line between Wyoming and Nebraska.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - November 4, 2020


Welcome to Albin, one of the quintessential small towns in Wyoming. From the grain silos and bales of hay to the old-fashioned water tower this town of less than 200 is a picture of small-town life. There's even a port-a-potty behind the church.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 28, 2020


Burt House parlor, Fort Laramie
Remember last week's post with the photo of Officers' Row in the 1880s? That hinted at the elegance of the officers' homes. If you have a chance to visit Fort Laramie, you'll see that the interiors live up to that promise.

I was impressed with the stained woodwork and the curved doorway between the office and parlor of the Burt House. In case you were curious, the name comes from Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Burt, who was stationed at the fort twice.

I hope you enjoyed this month's peek into one of Wyoming's most important historic sites. It's well worth the trip.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Wednesday in Wyoming - October 21, 2020


Fort Laramie Officers Row 1880s
When you picture a western fort, do you imagine boardwalks, picket fences, and buildings with mansard roofs? I certainly didn't ... until I visited Fort Laramie and saw this photo.

Although I was fascinated by the whole fort, this photo intrigued me so much that I knew I had to write a story set here. Summer of Promise was the result.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Fort Laramie: Oasis on the Oregon Trail - Part Two

parade ground

As the years passed, Fort Laramie's function changed, and so did its buildings. When the threat of war with the Native Americans diminished after the Treaty of 1868, more officers brought their wives to the fort, and that brought more changes. While bachelor officers might share rooms in Old Bedlam, married officers needed houses, and so a number of buildings were constructed along what became known as Officers’ Row. The captain’s house, which has been reconstructed, is a two-family dwelling representative of the era. 

captain's house

So too is what has been called the Burt House, named after Lt. Col. Andrew Burt, who served two tours of duty at the fort.

Burt House and Sutler's Store

During the fort’s final decade, boardwalks lined Officers’ Row. Houses were surrounded by picket fences, many yards had flower gardens, and women strolled along the boardwalks carrying parasols. There were even birdbaths. But, since this was Wyoming with its infamous winds, the birdbaths weren’t the typical basin-on-a-pedestal style one might find in an eastern garden. Instead, they were circular depressions in the ground, ringed by bricks or stones. 



That era ended when the Army no longer needed a large military presence in the area. In 1890 Fort Laramie was decommissioned and its buildings sold at public auction. The fort might have become nothing more than a memory, but a group of Wyoming residents was determined that this part of American history not be lost. Thanks to their efforts, the State of Wyoming acquired the fort in 1937, and in 1938 it became part of the National Park System.

 Fort Laramie is now a National Historic Site and a must-see spot for anyone interested in the pioneers’ travels as well as life on the early frontier. Portions of the old fort have been reconstructed, providing an opportunity to see both the interior and the exterior of representative buildings. And while only foundations of other buildings remain, those foundations give visitors an idea of how extensive the fort was.

Many things have changed over the almost two centuries that a fort has existed on this site in eastern Wyoming, but what hasn’t changed is the beauty of the surrounding area and the feeling of history that surrounds visitors to the fort that welcomed so many emigrants.