Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site, Laramie

4.7
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.
The 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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Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
488 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Learn about the history of how and why Wyoming became a state. Excellent guides and well preserved prison throughout. Good shops and a worth the time and money.  more »
  • We were very pleased with our tour of this historic prison. We had a self-guided tour which was presented very well with pictures, informational boards, etc. The tour made it very interesting and...  more »
Google
  • This place is great!!!!! The staff is super friendly, the museum itself is an A+ experience. They've got enough artifacts to fill the trunk of my car and more! Come here if you're in the area and looking for a once in a lifetime experience, I was not disappointed.
  • Amazing piece of Wyoming history. Well put together, and the staff are very pleasant and helpful. It was a great experience and opportunity to see how prison life was in the late 1800s. The Cassidy exhibit was really well designed and the old Winchesters were awesome.
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