The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site was used as a territorial prison way back in 1872 and became a State Penitentiary Prison in 1890. The State Prison became known for imprisoning infamous outlaws such as Clark ?the kid? Pelton, Dan Parker, Ellijah Canary, and Butch Cassidy. During its operation for thirty years, the Penitentiary Prison held at least a thousand prisoners, including 12 women from different nationalities, religious affiliations, and occupations.
According to historical accounts, the prison stopped its operations in 1930 and became a stock farm in 1930 for the University of Wyoming. The building was used as an experimental farm for 86 years, keeping a wide variety of cattle and sheep were kept for experimental purposes until a group of Laramies fought to have the building restored for $5 million. In 1991, the prison was reinstated as a prison and became a historical site in 1991.
The restored, historical prison used the old buildings for exhibit halls. The Warden House was used as a home for the warden and his family. The interior design depicts the old life James Marsh, a former warden in the early 1980s. The Horse Barn Exhibit Hall was once used by the University of Wyoming to stock horses, but was later remodeled as the present exhibit hall to showcase the University?s agricultural experiments. The Broom Factor on the other hand, was operated as a housing labor for prisoners, where prisoners make 720 brooms per day. The brooms were sold to communities within Wyoming State and in other neighboring States.
An old church also stands inside the historical prison site. The Saint Mary?s of the Plains Episcopal Church welcomed its first churchgoers in 1920. During its heyday, the church became a school community center, and worship area for different denominations. It was later unused for many years until the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming donated the church in 2003. Presently, the church is used for weddings and other special events.
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