150 years ago on July 4, 1867, tents were pitched and the area was named Cheyenne!
Here’s a list of my top 10 historical resources located in the Laramie County Library.
1. The LeClerq Jones Collection features pictures and historical articles ranging from 1979 – 2007. There are articles and clippings which tell the history and show the changes of the downtown buildings.
2. History of Cheyenne, written in 1989, starts with the Union Pacific and the first tents that were pitched in Cheyenne in 1867 on the Fourth of July. Written by Sharon Fields, it’s an amazing resource covering the history of Cheyenne. It includes schools, hospitals, the railroad, homesteaders, the military and the cemetery. One man was quoted as saying, “I will stay here this winter. I think it is the most healthy climate in the country here. No one ever knows to die here. Some are talking of sending east for dead men to start a graveyard.”1
1 Sharon is a volunteer in the Special Collections area and she is our go-to person for any Cheyenne history question. (Field, Sharon Lass. History of Cheyenne, Wyoming)
- Cheyenne Landmarks, written in 1976, has pictures and a short history of several of the historic buildings in downtown Cheyenne including the Idelman Building (pictured right), The Atlas Theatre and the 19th Street Castle.
- Early Cheyenne homes 1880-1890. Looking for a picture of the Post House or Castle Dare? How about the L. R. Bresnahen House which was the first residence in Cheyenne to have incandescent (filament) lights? You’ll find pictures and information about these and more in this wonderful little book.
- Untamed Prairie to a City of Trees, written in 2001. Cheyenne’s parks have a story to tell as well! Ask for this at the Ask Here desk on the 3rd This little pamphlet tells the story of our many parks.
- The Reference librarians have compiled a collection of pictures and news clippings of Cheyenne’s historic buildings and homes. They are available at the 3rd floor Ask Here desk, not for checkout but you can make copies. These are an invaluable resource for the school assignment to build models of historic buildings or homes and research the history.
- Brand Books, starting with 1917. We don’t have a complete run, but if you are researching your family who homesteaded, you might find them through their brand. Plus, it’s just fun to look at the old brands!
- Old yearbooks from Cheyenne high schools (including Cheyenne High School, now called Central) for most years, starting in 1903. We also have yearbooks from other schools including East High, South, Burns, Pine Bluffs, Albin and the University of Wyoming.
- Cheyenne Frontier Days programs. We have one from 1930 and others from times past.
AND (drum roll please)
NUMBER 10! The volunteers in our Special Collections department. They can help you with your genealogy research or find a picture of the mayor of Cheyenne in 1937. They know how to find information about Cheyenne and many of them are long-time residents and just “know” things about Cheyenne, including where the tunnels are.
Other items which are available include City directories, phone books, biographies, railroad history, the military presence in Cheyenne, and much more.
We welcome you to the 3rd floor of the Laramie County Library where many of these items are located both in the circulating collection and in the Special Collections area.
Happy Birthday Cheyenne – what a wonderful history you have had. May you have another 150 years!
~Retired Reference Librarian, Sharon Mikesell