The cowboy city of Laramie was founded in 1868 and named after French fur trader Jacques La Ramée, who disappeared in the area in 1821. It has a nice historic downtown, a Wild West prison, and a university. We stopped for a few hours on our way to Cheyenne.
The first thing we did was stroll through the downtown. We walked past shops, restaurants, and bars housed in historic buildings.
There were some cool design elements, such as a vegetable garden wall, murals, and bike racks shaped like train engines and cabooses.
3rd Street had most of the traffic and restaurants, including the beautiful St. Matthew’s Episcopal Cathedral. The cathedral was completed in 1896. The cross at the spire is at 7,276 feet above sea level, making it the highest cathedral in the US.
Lunch at Grand Avenue Pizza
Before continuing our tour of Laramie, we had a very good and affordable lunch at Grand Avenue Pizza, located at the corner of 3rd and Grand. The staff was very friendly and we liked the paintings of rock legends on the wall. According to Food Network, they have the best pizza in Wyoming. They also serve other Italian food. Once our waiter, a political science student at the University of Wyoming, found out we had all lived in Istanbul, we had a great conversation about world travel and Turkish politics.
Union Pacific Railroad Bridge
A bridge over the Union Pacific tracks gave us a decent view of the tracks and Laramie, including the historic Johnson Hotel, built in 1900. It was considered Laramie’s finest hotel during the heyday of the railroad.
A bit further south is the old Laramie Depot, which has a small railroad museum and is located on a small park with train cars on display. Laramie, like many cities and towns in the West, was born shortly after the railroad came to town. The depot was built in 1924 to replace an older one destroyed by fire in 1917. It served as an Amtrak depot until 1983.
Wyoming House for Historic Women
As a United States territory in 1869, Wyoming was the first place in the world that allowed women to vote. The Wyoming House for Historic Women celebrates this achievement and the important women in Wyoming history. Unfortunately, it was closed for the season.
It was too late to visit the Laramie Plains Museum. It’s housed in the Ivinson Mansion, which was built in 1892, and displays Victorian artifacts, items from early Laramie history, and historic clothing an farming equipment. Adult admission is US$10.
We were able to visit one important historic site, the Wyoming Territorial Prison. This prison, which once held Butch Cassidy, is now a state park. It has been reconstructed and also features a small pioneer village with authentic buildings.
Overall, I enjoyed Laramie, the friendly people we met, and I would like to come back to visit the museums that I missed.