The summer exhibit series at the American Heritage Center celebrating Laramie’s 150th anniversary kicks off this week with materials relating to railroad history in Laramie.
On May 4, 1868, the Union Pacific Railroad reached Laramie, bringing with it new people, and within a few days, regular train service to Laramie. A “Hell on Wheels” tent town soon became a bustling city with permanent structures.
Over the next 150 years, the railroad would bring goods, services, people and eventually history to Laramie. The creation of Laramie was dependent on the railroad and the history of the two are intertwined as depicted in newspapers, images, blueprints, and various other materials of their time.
The AHC is home to a variety of collections that depict the railroad history of Laramie. Two collections that will be highlighted during the first two weeks of the series, themed on railroads in Laramie, are the John Stephen and Francis Jennings Casement papers (much of which is digitized and available online) and the Daniel H. Davis Railroad collection.
John S. “Jack” Casement served in the Civil War before obtaining a contract to perform track laying and grading for the Union Pacific’s transcontinental line with his brother Daniel. The majority of the Casement collection contains letters between Jack and his wife Frances during Jack’s time constructing the Union Pacific Railroad from Omaha, Nebraska, to Promontory Point, Utah.
Daniel H. Davis was a collector of Snowy Range and Laramie area railroad materials, including the Union Pacific and Laramie, North Park, and Western Railroads. His collection contains a single oversize box with various Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) drawings of the Laramie rail yards, round house, and drawings of the Laramie, North Park and Western Railroad (LNP&W) line.
The “Railroads in Laramie” exhibits will run from April 30 to May 14. Exhibits can be viewed in the 4th floor Reading Room. Reading Room hours are 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM Monday and 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Tuesday through Friday. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Railroad yards in Laramie, 1869-70. Clarice Whittenburg papers, Accession #400066, Box 31. UW American Heritage Center.
Post submitted by Katey Parris, AHC Reference Department