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Wyoming Territorial Prison
 

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Wyoming Territorial Prison Homepage
 
 

Activities & Amenities

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Do Time With Us

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Wyoming Territorial Prison opened as a U.S. Penitentiary in 1872 and later became Wyoming’s first State Penitentiary.  For 30 years it held violent and desperate outlaws. Now a museum, visitors walk through the building to discover the stories held behind the prison walls. At the “Big House across the River” displays of cells and artifacts reveal the Prison’s past. Your visit includes the prison building, the Prison Industries Building, and the Warden’s House. Located next to the prison building, the Prison Industries Building (broom factory) was built to raise revenue, manage the prison population, and maintain a workshop year-round. 

After closing as a prison in 1903, the site took on a new life as an agricultural experiment station for the University of Wyoming until 1989. Visitors can explore the site’s grounds to see historic buildings dating to the early 20th century, and view the Science on the Range exhibit in the historic Horse Barn building.

In the 1990s, a group of dedicated community members worked to raise funds to restore the Prison. The entire site took on a new life as a Western Heritage Theme Park. It 2004 the site became a State Historic Site. 

Located on 197 acres, the site offers restored historic buildings, exhibits, a picnic area during the summer, a nature trail along the Big Laramie River, a visitor center with gift shop, and a RV Dump Station.

Click the “Visit” tab to learn more.


River-in-front-of-PrisonPrison ca. 1890

 

Prison-and-Wagon

 

 

Visit

ADMISSION FEES

Adults: $9.00

Youth ages 12-17: $4.50

Children 11 and under: FREE

 

Wyoming State Parks Annual Daily Use permits and Wyoming Lifetime Veteran permits are honored as Free admission.

 

HOURS

Last ticket sold one (1) hour before closing.  

 

SUMMER HOURS

May - September

9AM - 4PM Daily*

 

WINTER HOURS

October-April

OPEN: Thursday- Saturday

10am - 3pm*

 

*Hours are subject to change due to special events. Check our events calendar or Facebook page for updates. 

 

HOLIDAY HOURS

The Historic Site is OPEN on the following holidays:

Memorial Day

Independence Day

Labor Day

Veterans Day

 

The Historic Site is CLOSED on the following days:

Thanksgiving

Christmas Day

New Year's Day

 

PETS

Pets are allowed on the grounds, but must be on a leash no longer than ten (10) feet in length and physically controlled at all times. Pets are not permitted in any of the public buildings. This includes, but is not limited to, the Territorial Prison and the Prison Industries Building. Service dogs are allowed in all public buildings. For further detalis please refer to the "Rules and Regulations" for Wyoming Parks.

 

PHONE

307-745-6161

 

LOCATION

975 Snowy Range Road

Laramie, WY 82070

 

TOUR INFORMATION

 

Please note that the temperature inside the prison will be colder during the winter and warmer during the summer than the outside temperature. 

 

GUIDED TOURS

The guided tour highlights the Territorial Prison’s history, architecture, notorious prisoners, prison management, and Wyoming history. It includes the prison and, time permitting, the Prison Industries Building.

 

Guided tours are typically offered late May through early September. No additional fees apply, pay entrance fee upon arrival. Times and days are subject to change. Tours last approximately 60-90 minutes, and visitors can join and leave the tour at any time. 

 

SELF-GUIDED TOURS

Most visitors take a self-guided tour. Site walking tour brochures are available in English, Español, Français, and Deutsch. Visitors typically spend 1-2 hours touring the site.

 

SCHOOL TOURS

Students examine the larger story of the American west through the lens of the Prison’s history. Click the "Education" Tab to learn more.

 

Exhibits

From territorial days to early statehood the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site tells the story of Wyoming’s past. Visit these exhibits to learn about infamous outlaws, prison reform, and the agricultural history of Wyoming. 


Butch Cassidy: Who Was That Guy?

Examine the mystery, the myth, and the man known as Butch Cassidy. He assembled an elite and organized group of outlaws which became one of the most successful gangs of thieves in Western American history and made Cassidy’s story larger-than-life. Explore the folklore and history behind the escapades of Butch, Sundance, and the Wild Bunch. This exhibit is located in the North Cellblock of the prison building.

Butch-Cassidy-Exhibit
Posse-and-Pinkerton-Detectives

 


May Preston Slosson: A Light in the Dark

Dr. May Preston Slosson was appointed the first female Prison Chaplain in the United States on July 7, 1899. Dr. Slosson aimed to build up the prisoners’ sense of self-respect and provide education that she believed would assist in an orderly transition from prison life to life outside the walls. Chaplains visited prisoners, provided church services, and also served as librarians and record keepers.  In prisons of silence (such as this one) chaplains often acted as the voice of the prisoners. Learn about the life of Dr. Slosson and the role of prison Chaplains in this exhibit located on the 2nd floor of the prison building.

May-Preston-Slosson-and-prisonersDr. May Preston Slosson with prisoners

 


Science on the Range

Learn how the Prison became a dairy barn. When the prison closed in 1903, the University of Wyoming acquired the property and embarked on a remarkable venture to adapt the land and buildings for use as an agricultural research station. The University conducted numerous experiments on crops and stock animals from 1903 to 1989.  It was also known for its national stock show champions that were bred and raised onsite.  The steadfast goal of the staff and students at the research station was “to help build the most important agriculture industry in the west.”  Thus advancing farming and ranching practices in Wyoming and around the world. Located on the first floor of the historic Horse Barn.

 

 

Cuffed, Chained and Confined

 
Journey through time image

ButchCassidy

Butch Cassidy - Convict #187

Born Robert LeRoy Parker, he changed his name to Butch Cassidy when he began his life of crime. Later known as a legend of the American West and leader of the Wild Bunch, Cassidy was incarcerated at the Wyoming Prison at Laramie, for grand larceny (stealing horses) from 1894-1896. This would be the only Prison to ever hold Butch Cassidy. Upon his release he would establish the most successful band of bank and train robbers this country has ever seen. Butch and his gang would steal over $233,905.00 from trains, banks, and mining payrolls all over the West in five years. Cassidy, the Sundance Kid (Harry Alonso Longabaugh), Kid Curry and other Wild Bunch gang members were some of the most wanted men in four states with Pinkerton detectives, posses and bounty hunters dogging their steps. Butch and the Wild Bunch would become the country's last horseman outlaws. In 1901 the gang dissolved, Butch, the Sundance Kid and Etta Place set sail for South America. Cassidy may have died in a gun-fight with local law enforcement authorities in San Vicente, Bolivia in 1908 or he may have returned to the United States under another identity. His fate remains a mystery.

 

 

 


RobertLee

Robert (Bob) E. Lee - Convict #491

A member of the Wild Bunch gang and a participant of the infamous Union Pacific Wilcox Train Robbery (June 2, 1899), Lee was incarcerated at the Prison in 1900 and released (from the new state penitentiary in Rawlins, WY) in 1907. He was also a member of the Curry Gang, led by the infamous killer, Kid Curry (Harvey Logan).

 

 

 


ArthurHinman

Arthur Hinman - Convict #549

After stealing a horse and saddle, Hinman was convicted of grand larceny and incarcerated from 1901-1903. Upon his walking through the iron doors, at the age of 14, he was the youngest convict ever put behind bars at the Prison.

 

 

 


ElizaStewart

Eliza "Big Jack" Stewart - Convict #459

Stewart walked up and shot a man in the neck at a dance hall in Hanna, Wyoming. Not known if it was a lover's quarrel or a fight over money, she was convicted for "assault to commit manslaughter". Steward was incarcerated at the Prison from 1899-1901.

 

 

 


JamesBrown

James Brown - Convict #516

Convicted of Forgery and sentenced to 3 years hard labor, Brown was one of many escape attempts at the Prison. He had 1 year left on his sentence when Brown escaped on May 30, 1903 while cleaning the chicken house. Prisoner was recaptured and punished by usual methods then given an additional 30 years. He was the last prisoner to escape State Penitentiary at Laramie. He served out the remainder of his incarceration at the new state penitentiary in Rawlins, Wyoming and was released in May 1935 at the age of 99.

 

 

 


WilliamWilcox

William T. Wilcox - Convict #134 & #324

Wilcox did hard time at the prison for burglary from 1893 to 1896 (and again for forgery1897-1898). While incarcerated, he became a friend of Butch Cassidy, who was serving time for grand larceny. Wilcox possibly rode with the Wild Bunch gang after he and Cassidy were released. In later years, Wilcox would impersonate Cassidy, convincingly leading many to believe in the 1920s and 1930s that Cassidy had returned from South America to the American West.

To learn more about the 1,063 convicts that were locked up, worked and lived behind bars read: Atlas of Wyoming Outlaws at the Territorial Penitentiary, by Elnora L. Frye., c.1990

 

 

 

Wyoming Territorial Prison popular Pumpkin Walk event October 7

WY-Prison-HS-LogoRGB

WTPPumpkinWalk

A celebration of the Fall season featuring food, games, pumpkins and candy is scheduled at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site Pumpkin Walk, October 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The cost to attend the event is $5 per adult.

Scheduled yearly on the first Saturday in October, this family-friendly event, funded by the Wyoming Territorial Park Historic Association, offers a variety of activities including a straw bale maze, pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin ring toss, a photo back drop, tric- or-treating and pumpkin pie by the slice.

“The Pumpkin Walk is an event that focuses on families with children 12 years of age and younger,” Wyoming Territorial Prison Superintendent Jessica Lira said. “It celebrates the transition from summer to fall with a pumpkin theme.”

While there are elements of the Halloween Holiday, the event is geared towards providing the site’s visitors a good time. Children get an opportunity to not only collect some candy, but a prize wheel provides a chance at winning a prize. Additionally, there will be a Pumpkin Patch where kids can get a pumpkin.  All prizes, pumpkins, etc. are while supplies last. 

Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Planning for the Pumpkin Walk begins in June, according to Lira, with a bulk of the planning picking up in August and involves meetings with local event partners. Laramie Connections coordinates the volunteers for the Pumpkin Walk and sponsorships from C&A Pet and Livestock Supply and Aspen Family Chiropractic help make this community event possible.

With a favorable weather forecast and the Fresno State vs Wyoming football game scheduled at 6 p.m., Lira expects this year’s event to be well attended and a great time for everyone.

Lira reminds the public that the Wyoming Territorial Prison is closed to regular visitation during the Pumpkin Walk.

 

Behind the Numbers

30,000 – pieces of candy to be distributed

4,000 -- prizes

3,000 – expected Pumpkin Walk attendees

1,200 – pumpkins

120 – volunteers

20 – State Park support staff

1 -- Day of Fall fun

 

View more updates for Wyoming Territorial Prison!

 

View Events for Laramie District:

LaramieDistrictCalanders


Education

Below you will find the lesson plan for Journey Through History, our Primary and Secondary Sources Presentation, a link to our Journey Through History Story Map, and a fillable worksheet for your students.

If you have comments, questions or would like to schedule a tour, please call 307-745-6161 or use our "Contact Us" page.

 

 

 

SCHOOL TOURS

Students examine the larger story of the American west through the lens of the Prison’s history. The Prison's establishment and operation had a vital impact on the social development of Wyoming. School visits offer teachers and students the opportunity to think critically about the historical narratives of Western settlement, Wyoming statehood, and the built and natural environments.   

Tours are tailored to the grade level or college year of your group and last 1-2 hours. Tour dates fill up fast; please schedule your school visit at least 2 weeks ahead.

 

Guided tours focus on primary and secondary sources and covers these benchmarks:

Social Studies 2.2.1, “Culture/Cultural Diversity”: “how human needs and concerns (i.e. freedom, justice, and responsibility) are addressed within cultures”

Social Studies 2.3.1, 2.3.2, 2.3.3, “Production, Distribution, and Consumption”: “importance of major resources, industries, and economic development of the local community and Wyoming” and “different ways that people earn a living in the local community in Wyoming”

Social Studies 2.4.2 and 2.4.3, “Time, Continuity, and Change”: “how current events influence individuals, communities, state, country and/or world” and “settlement of Wyoming"

Social Studies 2.5.3, and 2.5.4, “People, Places, and Environments”: “identify relative location in terms of home, school, neighborhood, community, county, state, country and continent”, and “describe relationships among people and places and the environmental context in which they take place”

 
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Site Status

 

The Dump Station is closed for the season.

The Historic Site is on Winter Hours.

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Hours

 

LAST ADMISSION TICKET SOLD ONE (1) HOUR BEFORE CLOSING

 

 

 

 

 

 

May – September 

  • 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Daily

October – April 

  • 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Thursday-Saturday

Holiday Hours

The Historic Site is OPEN on the following holidays:

  • Memorial Day
  • Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Veterans Day

The Historic Site is CLOSED on the following days:

  • Thanksgiving (November 24 and 25)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • New Year's Day (January 1)

Tour Information

GUIDED TOURS are typically offered late May - early September and are included with the entrance fee. Times and days are subject to change. Pay entrance fee upon arrival.

SELF-GUIDED TOURS are available during open hours. Pay entrance fee upon arrival.

FEES

$9 Adults/Seniors

$4.50 Ages 12-17

Children ages 11 and under are Free.

 

Map

Phone Number

 

307-745-6161

Map

 Location

 

 Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
 975 Snowy Range Rd
 Laramie, WY 82070

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