Public Memory: Laramie & the University of Wyoming

Join students at the University of Wyoming for a tour of public memory sites around our community.

Public Memory: Laramie & the University of Wyoming

Laramie, Wyoming 82070, United States

Created By: University of Wyoming

Tour Information

Laramie, Wyoming began as a railroad town in 1868, located on the lands of the Arapaho, Shoshone, Cheyenne, Crow, and other tribal communities who called these mountains and plains their home. The little town took hold and, in 1886, received a land grant from the US government to form Wyoming's first--and only--four year public university in 1886. As the area has grown and evolved, it has become a rich memoryscape, honoring people and events throughout its ongoing existence.

During the spring semester 2023, nine senior English majors at the University of Wyoming chose different local sites of history and memory to study and research. Along with me, their professor (Dr. Nancy Small), they developed this tour as their final project. Our ten stops offer a bit of history: facts, dates, and other information about the person or event being honored. We also strive to consider these locations as creating community memory: stories, narratives, symbols, and themes explicitly and implicitly drawing us together via commemorative activities. Taken individually and collectively, these sites speak to us about where we come from, who we are in the present, and what might be our shared future.

Each stop includes a brief text description, supplemental links, photos, and a 2-3 minute audio recording. We hope you enjoy the tour and add your own photos and comments along the way!

For more information about Laramie, the University of Wyoming, and Wyoming History, give these sites a try:

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

The passage highlights the achievements of Kenny Sailors, an extraordinary basketball player who left an indelible mark on the game. As we delve into the story of Sailors, we gain a deeper appreciation for the history of basketball and the ... Read more
Today, this 24 ft. tall statue commemorates Chief Washakie and his contributions to the West and Wyoming. Chief Washakie was born in the early 1800s and served as Chief of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe for ~50 years. Chief Washakie played a ro... Read more
The Greenhill Cemetery was established in 1881, just 20 years after Laramie was officially established as a town. Before that time, many of the dead in the territory were not placed in a cemetery plot but remembered by their last words and ... Read more
The University Family sculpture, created by the world-famous sculptor and former university professor Robert Russin in 1983, is meant to represent the unity and familial values he felt from his own family as well as from the Laramie commu... Read more
One of the only public memorials of Matthew Shepard is a bench located in Quealy Plaza in front of the Arts and Sciences building of the University of Wyoming. Matthew Shepard was a student at the university when he was targeted and fatally... Read more
Prior to 2012 this residential building, built in 1950 and designed by Wilbur Hitchcock in the Colonial Revival Style, was just another house bordering the UW campus. Then in 2012 it was repurposed by the University to become the Honors Red... Read more
This Protestant church was the very first house of worship to be founded in Laramie, built all the way back in 1890. It still houses a congregation to this day, making it also the longest continually occupied church in town. Throughout its ... Read more
Wyoming's 1869 territorial constitution granted “every woman of the age of twenty-one years, residing in the territory, may, at every election to be beholden under the law thereof, cast her vote.” The first election including women was ... Read more
Wyoming has been the original home to various Native American tribes, such as the Arapaho, Sioux, Cheyenne, Shoshone, and many more, for thousands of years. The Wind River Reservation just north of Lander, Wyoming, is shared by the Norther... Read more
Located in downtown Laramie towards the end of East Ivinson Ave is the Buckhorn Bar & Parlor. The Buckhorn Bar, better known as “the Buck”, was established in 1900, only 14 years after the University of Wyoming. Despite being under ... Read more


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