National Register of Historic Places

Lincoln School


Date Added to Register

Friday, December 05, 2003

Smithsonian Number


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Lincoln School, built in 1924 and expanded in 1939 and 1953, is significant because of its direct association with the growth and importance of education in Laramie, Wyoming. Laramie, which served as a railhead for the Union Pacific Railroad, suffered under the typical lawlessness of a railroad town when it was first settled, but overcame its initial tempestuous beginnings to become a community known not only as the site of the University of Wyoming, but also as the site of one of Wyoming's most outstanding public school systems. The block upon which Lincoln School sits was first used as a public school site in the early 1880s and represents the third site used for the public education of Laramie's children. Over the years, the compact, wood-sided building initially constructed on the block, known simply as West Side School, was transformed into Lincoln School, a brick building with its own small gymnasium and stage. Built on Laramie's west side, Lincoln School served a small, blue collar neighborhood, separated from the rest of the community by railroad tracks. During the period of significance, the Lincoln School was the sole neighborhood public facility located in the West Side neighborhood. It was used for vaccinations and health screenings, plays, dances, dinners, and as a polling site. Modest though Lincoln School was in contrast to Laramie's other grade schools, it became an institution on the town's West Side, the rich cultural and ethnic background of West Side residents reflected in its student body. Although the school was closed in 1978, it is now owned by the Lincoln Community Center Corporation, which is rehabilitating the property so that it can once again be a vital neighborhood hub with an education focus.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources