My next stop was actually Dinosaur National Monument, but I’m going to save that for later. Next I’ll share some impressions of towns in southeastern Wyoming.
Laramie as a town didn’t show me much of interest, but the surrounding area is emblematic of this plateau country. One interesting feature I couldn’t photograph was the constant winds, which were apparently so strong at times that there were miles of telephone poles pushed over about 25 degrees off perpendicular!
Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, has a central square for pride, tourism and celebrations. Named the Cheyenne Depot Plaza, it is centered on the old railroad station which has been spruced up and repurposed. A large plaza in front has been provided for performances and other gatherings, and on this day they were preparing for a weekend faire.
If you look closely at the above photo you will notice stone medallions inset in the columns. There were two versions of these medallions, as seen below.
The Depot has been restored inside also and now includes the Visitor Center, a museum, gift shop, restaurant and bar. The restored light fixtures inside the depot offer a great Art Deco type look.
Once a year there is a city festival with trains, folk performances and tours of Warren AFB, a missile base on the NW side of town. Unfortunately I was 2 weeks ahead of this annual celebration, and I was repeatedly told that all the items I wanted to see in Cheyenne were only open during the annual event.
A prominent business on the perimeter of the Plaza is the Wrangler country clothing store. This establishment is the size of a department store in bigger cities and offers huge varieties of items any cowboy could desire. The western boots present a riot of colors and patterns in aisle after aisle of display space … both the men and women sections had 6-12 counters full of individual styles!
Of course hats were a big deal also, and the men’s hats had a room all to themselves!
Many old hotels have been saved and restored across the country, and they’ve banded together into an association called the Historic Hotels of America (http://www.historichotels.org/). The jewel in Cheyenne’s downtown is The Plains Hotel. This photo of the lobby gives the feeling of years gone by, complete with buffalo chandelier and oil paintings, and the restaurant through the doors to the right offers good meals.
The State Capital building a few blocks from the Plaza is the typical rectangular structure with a large central dome. Flanking the entrance are two statues, one to a pioneer woman and the other to Chief Wishake.