History of Cheyenne Walking Tour
Enjoy a walk through this historic Wyoming town. The tour includes several museums as well as markers, landmarks, cultural sites, and historically significant buildings.
The Wyoming State Capitol, located in downtown Cheyenne, was originally built in phases beginning in 1886. It serves as the seat of government for Wyoming and is historically and architecturally significant. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and named as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The building was designed by David Gibbs and William Dubois in the French Renaissance style.
Established in 1895 and located in Cheyenne, the Wyoming State Museum's mission is to educate the public about the history of the state and the Rocky Mountain West. It collects and preserves artifacts that reflect the natural, human and cultural history of these areas—from prehistoric times to the present. The museum has permanent, temporary, traveling and online exhibits and offers various educational and outreach programs such as lectures series, family days and school programs. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The Wyoming Governor's Mansion, built in 1904, is the historic and former residence of the state's governor and family. It was designed by architect Charles Murdock in a combination of the Georgian and Colonial Revival styles. It served as the governor's residence from 1905-1976 and is now a museum. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
This handsome building was constructed in 1888 as the home for businessman Erasmus Nagle and his wife and son. Today it is a popular bed and breakfast. By the time he built the home, Nagle owned businesses in several areas, in Wyoming, a small portion of North Dakota, western South Dakota, and western Nebraska. He also held served as the commissioner of the capitol building committee and other civic positions. The house was designed in the Romanesque style and until 1960 had a stone facade when it was replaced by stucco (the stones were of poor quality and began to crumble). The house features 6 guest rooms—with a bathroom in each—a parlor, library, conference rooms, sitting room, hot tub room, a workout room, and a patio, fountain, and gardens. There is also a guest house that is connected to the main building that features an additional 6 guest rooms. Interesting features of the main house are some Moorish tiling, a Moroccan chandelier, and original stained glass windows. The property was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.
The Cheyenne Depot Museum, formerly the Union Pacific Railroad Depot, is dedicated towards preserving the city's railroad history and the history Transcontinental Railroad. The building, designed by Henry Van Brunt in the Romanesque style, was constructed between 1886 and 1887 by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. It is the last of the grand 19th century depots built along the Transcontinental Railroad still standing (the others have been destroyed by fire or demolished). The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.
This marker commemorates the Lincoln Highway (former U.S. 30), the first transcontinental highway that was built over several years beginning in 1913. Around 3,400 miles long, it stretched from New York to San Francisco. Construction was funded by private and corporate donations. The highway was named after President Abraham Lincoln and accompanied by thousands of post markers with a small bust seals of Lincoln embedded into them and the letter 'L' painted on the sides. The highway no longer exists and was overtaken by interstate highway 80, which was constructed by the federal government. A replica post stands next to the historical marker and an original one is located in the Wyoming Department of Transportation Building.
This large monument features six detailed historical markers describing the the history of the the Cheyenne region from prehistoric times to 1950. The markers are: Prehistoric Cheyenne - Those First to Live Here; The Native American Indians - The Early Residents; Cheyenne 1860-1890 - The Early Years; Cheyenne 1860-1890 - The Early Years (continued); Cheyenne 1890 to 1920 - From Frontier Town to Modern City; and, Cheyenne 1920 to 1950 - The Recent Past. The markers discuss the evolution of Cheyenne as a dusty frontier town founded along the Transcontinental Railroad to the modern city it is today. They examine how Western expansion forced Native American tribes to move westward in search of land and food (mainly bison herds), the the conflicts that inevitably arose between Natives and settlers, the cattle ranch industry, the onset and development of tourism, and the various industries that sustain the city today.
The Cowgirls of the West Museum & Emporium was founded in 1995 with the purpose of promoting the roles women played in shaping the West. It collection is comprised of a wide variety of Western and historical-related artifacts such as antiques, saddles, tack, clothing, and memorabilia. The museum aims to educate the public about what a woman's life was like in early pioneer and ranching days, as well as their roles in early rodeo and trick riding. There is also an emporium where visitors can buy Western-related items. The museum hosts luncheons between September and June during which speakers present Western programs.
This marker commemorates one of more important dates in women's history. On December 10, 1869, the Wyoming legislature convened as this location and voted to grant women the right to vote. Governor John Allan signed the legislation, making Wyoming the first state to pass such a law. The Cheyenne chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected the marker in 1917.
The Nelson Museum of the West is dedicated to preserving Western history. It was founded in the 1970s by Robert L. Nelson but did not open this museum until 1998. It features 14,000 items in its collection and 4,000 books in its library. The collection is comprised of cowboy, charro (Mexican), Native American, and U.S. Cavalry artifacts. Western art is also part of the collection. Exhibits cover topics such as the U.S. Cavalry, firearms, Plains Indian art, and Mexican cowboy culture. A subdivision of the museum is The Military Memorial Museum, which grew out of the cavalry collection. It features numerous uniforms from all the branches of the military, including generals and women. There are also a number of awards and medals on display, including some awarded to American servicemen in other countries.
This marker commemorates a few of the major players of Cheyenne's cattle industry of the second half of the 19th century through the first part of the 20th century. The industry was a major economic driver for the region and the railroad, built by Union Pacific, played a major role in the business as well. The prospects of work and potential prosperity attracted ranchers, settlers, and businessmen, many of whom came from eastern part of the country and even abroad.