State Government Schools

State Industrial School (1915), Washakie Co.
State Industrial School (1915), Washakie Co.
Photo: Clayton Fraser Collection
As early as 1886, Wyoming recognized the need for schools to educate students with mental or physical handicaps. The territorial legislature that year created a commission authorized to establish a school for the blind, deaf, and dumb in the territory. The commission purchased a block of land in Cheyenne in 1887 and erected a building for the school at 604 E. 25th Street, which is still standing. The building was cottage style 53 x 29 feet, and thirty-seven feet high from the concrete foundation to the apex of the ventilator. The school never opened, however, and the property was instead used for other governmental activities. A separate school for the deaf was not established in Wyoming until 1963.

Original School built for the Blind (1887), Cheyenne, Laramie Co.
Original School built for the Blind (1887),
Cheyenne, Laramie Co.

Photo: State Historic Preservation Office
Photographer: Richard Collier, 2009
As Wyoming’s educational system developed and education became more universal, the needs of these students became more apparent. The 1907 legislature passed a law calling for the creation of the “Wyoming Home for the Feeble-minded and Epileptic.” The school opened in Lander in 1912 as the “Wyoming School for Defectives.” In 1919 the facility’s name was changed to the Wyoming Training School; it is now known as the Wyoming Life Resource Center. The campus just east of Lander contains many Colonial-Revival-style buildings dating from 1912 through the 1960s.

Original School built for the Blind (1887), Cheyenne, Laramie Co.
Wyoming State Training School (1912), Fremont Co.,
1935

Photo: Clayton Fraser Collection


Wyoming State Boys School (1915), Worland, Washakie Co.
Wyoming State Boys School (1915), Worland,
Washakie Co.

Photo: Wyoming State Archives, Department of State
Parks and Cultural Resources
In1911, the Wyoming legislature passed a law establishing a “Reform Institution,” originally called the Wyoming Industrial Institute, to serve and house young male felons. The school, now known as the Wyoming Boys’ School, has operated on the same site near Worland since 1915.


Wyoming Girls School (1923), Sheridan, Sheridan Co.
Wyoming Girls School (1923), Sheridan, Sheridan Co.
Photo: Clayton Fraser Collection
A Girls’ Industrial Institute (Wyoming Girls’ School) was opened in Sheridan in 1923. Although no longer operated by the State Board of Education, these four institutions have provided educational opportunities to Wyoming children since the early 20th century. Of the three, only the Wyoming Training School retains its historic campus.
Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources