August 12, 2013 – Cheyenne – State Capitol – State Museum – Nagel Warren Mansion (B&B) – Walking Tour

Having recently discovered that State Capitol Buildings are (so far) architecturally and historically fascinating, our first stop this morning was at Wyoming’s State House.


Note the second spindle post … which the builder of the railing did intentionally as he felt only God could make perfection


House Chamber


Tiffany-style Skylight in House Chamber


Senate Chamber


Tiffany-style Skylight in Senate Chamber


View down stairway from third floor

While the tendency is to look up when going through such a grand building, gazing at the floor, we noticed fossils in certain of the floor’s black tiles.

There are also photos of all of the state’s former governors … three of which are were notable.

Francis E. Warren, born in Massachusetts and a Civil War veteran he was appointed territorial governor by both Presidents Chester Arthur and Benjamin Harrison. He was elected Wyoming’s first governor after Wyoming became the 44th state but resigned to become a US Senator, a position he held until his death in 1929.

Nellie Tayloe Ross was born in Missouri and a school teacher before marrying William B. Ross and moving to Cheyenne. Her husband was elected governor in 1922 but died two years later. The Democratic nominated Nellie to complete her husband’s term and handily won the election … becoming the nation’s first woman governor (16 days before Texas inaugurated its first woman as governor). Subsequently FDR appointed her as the director of the U.S. Mint. She died in 1977 at the age of 101.


John E. Osborne, a New York native and educated at the University of Vermont, he moved to Wyoming where he worked as a physician, banker and farmer. During an autopsy he performed, he purportedly removed the deceased’s skin from which he made a pair of shoes … which allegedly he wore to his inauguration as governor in 1892 and later swearing in ceremony as a member of Congress.

During our tour, Max Maxfield, Wyoming’s long-time Secretary of State saw us from in his office and took the time to come out, introduce himself and chat with Debbie and I.

On the State Capitol grounds were several statues and monuments, including;

Chief Washakie – who became the chief of the Shoshones in 1840, a position he held until his death in 1900. He was one of the few Native American chiefs who never made war against the US. Government. As a result of his policy of peace he was able to secure a reservation in central Wyoming for the Shoshone people. Upon his death, he was buried with full military honors at the fort named after him in his honor.


Nellie Tayloe Ross


The Spirit of Wyoming – A tribute to the State’s People


 Our next stop was the Historic Governor’s Mansion.

In addition to a piano,

only four pieces of original furniture have been retained and preserved.


Wyoming Governors have hosted such notables as Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, Harry Truman and Richard Nixon at this gorgeous home.

Although never in the mansion during the time any of the state's governors were living there, in a basement room next to the 1950's era bomb shelter (which the state legislature insisted on due to the many ICBM missile silos in the region)

was a 1947 RCA Victor 5-in-1 Entertainment System which cost the staggering sum of $795.00!


After a visit to the Wyoming State Museum,where among other things we learned a bit about Outhouses.

we took a walking tour of downtown Cheyenne, beginning at the former railroad Depot,

outside of which there was a sculpture appropriately named "Ironhorse"

then winding some 2-3 miles through the city taking in some of the interesting, amusing and unique architecture of the city’s buildings, many originally built from the mid-19th through the early 20th centuries.  Among those …

Tivoli – a restaurant and saloon built in 1883 where ladies without escorts were welcome and where the upper stories served as a brothel. During prohibition there was a popular speakeasy in the basement.

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church

St. Mark’s Interior

Sanford’s Grub and Pub

Atlas Theater – originally patronizing high-class vaudeville

Commerce Building where Tom Horn was “tricked” into confessing about the death of fourteen year old Willie Nickell. Lawman Joe LeFores used alcohol to get Horn to brag about the incident for which Horn was eventually hanged in 1903, the last person hung in Wyoming … although investigations in the years since have questioned whether Horn was actually guilty.

The Ithamar C. Whipple Mansion built in 1883, this elegant building was once the home of Territorial Supreme Court Justice, John Lacey, who would later be the legal counsel for Tom Horn during his murder trial.

St. Mary’s Cathedral

Saint Mary’s Apse and Altar

Organ Pipes at St. Mary’s

 However, the highlight was the Nagle-Warren Mansion

This Victorian was built in 1888 by Erasmus Nagel.  Unfortunately he died two years after its construction.  After its being used by his surviving family and then rented out for a number of years, the property was sold to Senator F.E. Warren in 1915. Upon his death in 1929, his wife sold the mansion to the YMCA for a house for chaperoned women.  The present owner, Jim Osterfoss, whom we had an opportunity to meet, acquired it in 1997. 

Today it is a luxurious Bed & Breakfast, with several of the rooms in what was the adjoining carriage house.  The first floor is open to the public.

However, while wandering around, we met Tracey, Jim’s handyman who gave us a private tour of the carriage house rooms, one of which had been occupied by Teddy Roosevelt more than 100 years ago.

Meantime, we ran across dozens of decorative boots, each depicting a different theme.

The State Capitol Scenes

Famous Wyoming Outlaws

Wyoming License Plates

Signatures of Each of Wyoming’s Governors

 Before returning to our campground we stopped a Holiday Park to see “Big Boy 4004”,

One of twenty-five of the world’s largest steam engines which were built exclusively for the Union Pacific Railroad between 1941-1944.; of which only eight still survive.   Each locomotive was 132 feet long, weighed 1.2 million pounds had a fuel capacity of 28 tons and water capacity of 2,000 gallons … and cost $265,000.  Because of their great length, the frames of the Big Boys were “hinged” or articulated to allow them to negotiate curves.  On October 31, 1958 Cheyenne’s Big Boy 4004 took its final run, traveling from Cheyenne to Laramie finishing with a total of 440,545 miles of service.

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