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Finishing the Depot Visit & Exploring the Wyoming State Museum

sunny 82 °F


The second floor of the Depot Museum is devoted to a model railroad display. Renowned commercial artist & recognized expert on modeling HOn3 layouts Harry W. Brunk worked for 30 yrs. creating a model display of the Union Central & Northern Railroad, a narrow-gauge line which ran into Colorado's Rocky Mountains from 1872-1941. In his work he re-created all aspects of the Clear Creek Mining Districts at Black Hawk, Idaho Springs, and Georgetown, CO with replicas of the actual towns and of the steam trains which served this area of Colorado. Immense in size, it has 4 miles of track (minature HO) and numerous (I didn't count) operating trains in the layout. His artistry handcrafted all aspects of this remarkable layout; the backgrounds, scenery, buildings, vehicles and the railroad. It claims to be the largest model train display in existence. It was an amazing site to see.

It being lunch time, I walked across the street to the Albany Tavern & Restaurant for refreshment. As I sat there taking in the atmosphere my thoughts were, "If only the walls could talk". This tavern location across from the train depot must have a rich history of the wild west days in Cheyenne. My lunch was very good.

From there I proceeded to the State Museum in the Capitol neighborhood. The nice lady at the reception desk welcomed me and I learned that she was a 3rd generation Cheyenne native. She explained that the Capitol building was under a 3 yr. renovation scheduled to re-open in 2020. She pointed out that on the 2nd floor was a display of pictures and information on the Capitol building. Built between 1886-1888 in the typical Neoclassical Corinthian style, the construction materials were of WY sandstone. It boasts a gold-leafed copper dome and has an interior dome of cathedral stain glass. Most of the woodwork is of cherry wood imported from OH. The pictures of the woodwork with the grand staircase are amazing.
Wyoming territory, as you may recall, was the possession of France, Texas, Great Britain, Mexico, and earlier, Spain. In the 1740's fur traders came into the area and by 1835 John Jacob Astor's American Fur Company became a dominant influence in the area. Laramie became a stop on the Oregon Trail in the 1840's and with the building of the TransContinenal Railroad (1867-69) pioneers came to the region to claim their 160 acres under the Federal Homestead Act of 1862.
It has always been regarded by outsiders as a 'Pass-through' State with only the High Plains to see. In fact, 59% of the land is covered in shortgrass creating a barren look. It was soon discovered, however, that under that short grass were mineral riches to be mined and marketed. Coal in layers over 200 ft. thick were discovered. Today, over 40% of our nation's coal supply is mined in WY. Uranium, bentonite (kitty litter), trona (baking soda), gold, silver, copper ores were discovered. Cattle ranchers in the 1880's herded 123,000 animals out to slauterhouses. The territory grazed a total of 1,500,000 bovines. As you can see, Wyoming, while not in the national forefront contributes greatly to our nation's wealth, and its people are 'hometown friendly'.

Posted by dixter 09:12 Archived in USA Tagged museums & state depot

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