National Register of Historic Places

Reliance School and Gymnasium


Date Added to Register

Friday, May 13, 1988

Smithsonian Number


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The Reliance School and Gymnasium embody the distinctive characteristics of type, period, and method of construction taking place in southwestern Wyoming coal mining communities during the 1920s and 1930s era. The school and gymnasium reflect the Union Pacific Coal Company's interest in providing the small town of Reliance with modern brick buildings and a proper education for the children. Plans for the Reliance School were drawn in the early part of 1923 by James L. Libby, a Union Pacific Railroad employee. Construction was completed in 1927. The Gymnasium was also designed by James L. Libby in 1931. The buildings are not elaborate in design, but an effort was made to incorporate some distinctive decorative elements such as the diamond patterned brickwork, crenellation, string course, and battlement motifs. The best materials available at that time were used in construction of the buildings. This reflects the desires of the Union Pacific Coal Company and the community of Reliance to establish a civilized, comfortable, social, and lasting town, in an area of isolation within a dry climate. The Reliance School and Gymnasium have been the center of education and recreation since they were constructed. They have been used for almost every social, political, and recreational event that takes place in Reliance. Among these events are school board and town council meetings, voting, town dances, and a variety of men's and women's club meetings.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources