State Historic Preservation Office
Greg Pierce named new State Archaeologist

National Register of Historic Places


Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary

Laramie, Wyoming

Date Added to Register

Wednesday, March 29, 1978

Smithsonian Number

48AB101

Read all about it

The Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary at one time stood alone in the open plain on the west side of the Big Laramie River, separated from the nearby city of Laramie by its forbidding outward appearance and by the prison preserve that covered hundreds of acres. A dirt road from the east led up to the gabled front entrance centered on the east side of the main prison building. A twelve-foot-high wooden plank fence, flanked at intervals by guard towers, enclosed the prison yard to the west of the main building. Outside the enclosure to the south stood the warden’s residence, a stark building stationed on a treeless yard. Several ancillary structures—hen house, hog pen, etc.—also stood outside the walls, and the prison garden was situated to the northeast of the main building. The original prison building, built in 1872, is now the north wing of the prison. A brick addition was added to the west of the original building. The large central section and the south wing were built in 1889. The Warden’s Residence was built in 1875 by convict labor. The Wyoming Territorial Penitentiary is historically and architecturally unique in Wyoming. It is the only federal penitentiary ever to have been built in Wyoming and the only facility which was used to house territorial convicts within the territory. It is one of the oldest buildings still standing in the state, and one of the few remaining from the 1870s.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources