Wyoming Historic School Database

McFadden School, Carbon Co.
McFadden School, Carbon Co.
Photo: Clayton Fraser Collection
It is difficult to determine exactly how many school buildings still exist in Wyoming. For this Historical Context Study of Schools in Wyoming, a database of approximately 400 Wyoming schools has been compiled from several sources. In 2005, the University of Wyoming American Studies program began compiling a database of historic school buildings, using information from the State Department of Education records. A survey of pre-1960 buildings owned the by state’s forty-eight school districts conducted in 2006 by the Wyoming School Facilities Commission1 was used to update the original database, as was an informal field survey of approximately one hundred pre-1960 school buildings in eighteen counties undertaken by the University of Wyoming American Studies Program between 2005 and 2008. Wyoming Cultural Resource Survey forms completed in the 1980s, National Register nominations, and survey forms from the Wyoming Cultural Resource Information System (WYCRIS) maintained by the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office were added to the database to bring the total to 407 entries.

Although useful as a reference, the database is of limited use for management purposes because it is not comprehensive and many of the entries are not up to date. It is probable that there are many other historic school buildings across the state that have been closed in years past, which either remain empty, have been adapted to new uses, or been demolished. The condition of most of the buildings in the database is unknown, but it is likely that a large percentage no longer retain historic integrity. The informal survey conducted in eighteen counties by the University of Wyoming found that a significant number (approximately 50%) of pre-1960 school buildings have been altered to the point that they have lost their historic integrity.

Given the caveats above, it is difficult to provide statistics on the current status of historic school buildings in Wyoming. It appears that approximately 125 pre-1960 schools are still in use as schools; however, their condition, integrity and future prospects are unknown. Approximately sixty former schools have been adapted for new uses, most as community centers. At least sixty-nine of the schools on the database have been demolished. If you have additional information or corrections on any of these schools, or other schools that need to be added to this database, please fill out the information on this form PDF Document and contact Steve Sutter at (307) 766-5335 for further instructions.

Wyoming Historic School Database PDF Document

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources