National Register of Historic Places


Downtown Rock Springs Historic District

Rock Springs

Date Added to Register

Wednesday, January 19, 1994

Smithsonian Number

48SW17029/17382

Read all about it

The Downtown Rock Springs Historic District is comprised of portions of eight blocks of the central business district in the original townsite plat of Rock Springs, Wyoming. The District contains forty-five buildings, twenty-seven of which are considered to be contributing elements to the District. Buildings include structures built for commercial, financial, governmental, social, recreational, and transportational purposes. The Historic District is unique in that it was bisected into north and south sectors by the Union Pacific Railroad mainline and sidings. Most of the buildings in the District are located along North Front and South Main Streets and face the railroad tracks. The Union Pacific Depot and Warehouse are located on the south side of the railroad tracks. During the late nineteenth century, the railroad tracks presented a very real safety hazard and served to impede ready access to the north and south portions of the commercial district. However, by the turn of the twentieth century, a pedestrian bridge was constructed over the tracks by the Union Pacific Railroad to allow safer and easier passage between the north and south portions of the commercial district. Later in the twentieth century, a vehicle underpass and overpass and a pedestrian underpass were constructed to allow easy flow of foot and vehicle traffic between the two sectors. The presence of the railroad tracks is perhaps the chief factor in the growth and development of the city of Rock Springs.

Overall the District contains a wide variety of architectural forms, dimensions, and materials representing the different dominant building periods and architectural preferences in the history of the growth of the city from the 1870s through the 1940s. The architectural forms include frame falsefronts, Late Victorian Italianate, Romanesque Revival, and Neo-Classical Revival buildings, and many simple brickfront commercial buildings without strong stylistic origins. The facades of many of these buildings were modified in the 1920s, the 1930s, and the early 1940s to reflect the Art Deco Movement, but the second stories often retain their original ornate cornices and other Late Victorian Italianate detailing. The Downtown Rock Springs Historic District is significant as the original commercial heart of a major southwestern Wyoming city and for its representation of several different architectural styles and influences.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources