History Rhymes
Nineteenth-century History

Wyoming Territorial Prison

Well, the internship that I was going to start at the Wyoming Territorial Prison Museum fell through unfortunately, but I am going to write about it anyway.

Wyoming Territorial Prison in the 19th century

Wyoming Territorial Prison in the 19th century

Located in Laramie, Wyoming, the Wyoming Territorial Prison was the result of the need for a penitentiary for convicted felons after Wyoming became a territory of the United States. Legislation for the creation of a prison in Laramie, Wyoming was approved in 1869. With federal funding, the prison was opened two years later in 1871 with a total of 42 cells. When Wyoming became a state in 1890, the prison officially became the Wyoming State Penitentiary. During the facility’s 30 year run as a prison, it held notorious prisoners such as Butch Cassidy and Dan Parker. In 1892, a broom factory was built within the stockades of the prison in which prisoners would make brooms.

In 1903, prisoners were transferred to the new prison in Rawlins, Wyoming. At this point, the University of Wyoming, also located in Laramie, began using the old facility as an experimental stock farm. It was not until 1989 that restoration began and the prison was converted into a museum which opened to the public in 1991.

For more information about the Prison Museum, visit their website.

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2 Comments

  1. Pam Walter
    Posted May 9, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    So now you have to find another internship for the summer? Will that be difficult or are there a lot to choose from?

  2. Alex Seifert
    Posted May 10, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately it looks like I’m going to be stuck with just a regular job for the summer….

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