National Register of Historic Places


Downtown Rawlins Historic District

Rawlins

Date Added to Register

Thursday, May 16, 1985

Smithsonian Number

48CR4221

Read all about it

The Downtown Rawlins Historic District comprises the central business district of Rawlins, Wyoming and dates from the 1880s. It is located within the traditional commercial area of Rawlins that extends from the Union Pacific Railroad on the south to West Spruce Street on the north and from Third Street on the east to Sixth Street on the west. The buildings within the district are generally one or two-story brick commercial buildings interspersed with several important social and government buildings. The original Downtown Rawlins Historic District nomination was prepared in 1984 and was based on an intensive survey at that time. In 1998 the area was resurveyed to determine the feasibility of expanding the district boundaries. The expanded district contains fourty-four buildings, thirty-two of which are considered to be contributing elements to the district. The Historic District is significant as the original commercial heart of a major Wyoming city that became the county seat of Carbon County. From its humble origins as one of hundreds of railroad towns along the Union Pacific mainline, it grew into a modern city with a diversified economy that today serves a regional ranching, oil and gas, and industrial community. Because of its location on the first transcontinental railroad with a permanent water source in an otherwise semi-arid region, it became a major division point for the Union Pacific Railroad. In the twentieth century, it was located on the first transcontinental auto highway (the Lincoln Highway). Therefore, it has also played a key role in state, regional, and national transportation. The District is also significant because it represents several different architectural styles and influences ranging from simple commercial storefronts to high style, architect-designed buildings. The buildings of the District reflect several identifiable building periods in the town's history and also represent the use of several different building materials, including wood, locally quarried stone, brick, stucco, terra cotta, and concrete.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources