(Post #14 in the "Why I Love Laramie" series)
The Wyoming Territorial Prison's claim to fame is that it once housed the outlaw Butch Cassidy and other members of his "Hole in the Wall" gang. The prison was finished in 1872 and held prisoners for offenses that ranged from shoplifting to murder.
When the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Rawlins was completed in 1903, the Wyoming Territorial Prison closed its doors. Until restoration began in 1989, the prison, outbuildings and grounds were used by the University of Wyoming as an experimental stock farm. In other words, it became home to cows, sheep and other livestock - even the inside of the prison building itself had animals in it.
Fortunately for people who love history, the prison is now fully restored and includes the Horsebarn Theatre, the old Broom Factory (where prisoners worked), a mini frontier town and the prison itself.
A favorite part of the tour for the young and old alike is getting "locked" into the restored cells - not for the claustrophobic! They were small. During summer activity days, kids from all over the grounds are summoned to help the warden and his deputies find and capture an escaped "prisoner." It is fun to watch the red-faced laughing kids scrambling everywhere in search of the bad guy.
So come on by, there is plenty to learn about for the grown ups and enough open spaces for the kids that it can be a good visit for everyone.
More information can be found at: http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/site/SiteInfo.asp?siteID=25