National Register of Historic Places

Richardson's Overland Trail Ranch

Near Laramie

Date Added to Register

Thursday, March 05, 1992

Smithsonian Number


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Also known as the Big Laramie Stage Station, the Richardson’s Overland Trail Ranch is located southwest of Laramie, Wyoming on the Big Laramie River. Situated on the open plains of the windswept Laramie Basin, the district includes seven buildings and one structure. These include six contributing ranch buildings and a corduroy road segment of the Overland Trail which marks the trail’s crossing of the Big Laramie River. Architecturally, the Richardson Ranch is best understood as a working ranch which has continually adapted to the changing necessities of ranch life. Old buildings have been altered or torn down and new ones built; this is the rule of any working ranch. Western ranches traditionally re-use materials, or use scrap materials, quite extensively. This is well-illustrated on the Richardson Ranch by the moving of abandoned log buildings onto the ranch from other areas (a practice common throughout the west), and by the use of slabs (left over from sawing logs into boards at local saw mills) to construct fences and several out-buildings. The ranch exhibits a variety of different forms and construction techniques, representing the historical periods during which the ranch has existed since 1862. The ranch is significant by virtue of its association with the exploration and settlement of Albany County and the State of Wyoming and the development of the agriculture industry. Serving as a home station on the Overland Trail, the Big Laramie Stage Station was one of the first permanent Euro-American settlements in the region. It became one of the first cattle ranches in the region and continues as a modern working ranch.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources