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storm 72 °F

Good Day!

Upon arriving in town I found the Visitors Bureau to learn about the community. In conversation with the nice lady she mentioned that Wednesday evenings the Laramie Municipal Band plays in the bandstand at Washington Park at the University. After my pleasant experience in Cheyenne at their concert I decided to do the same here. The band shell in the park was built in the 1930's by the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC), has excellent acoustics, and has been well maintained. The group of about 40 local and university musicians is led by a Professor of Music at U of W. They played 'Americana' musical pieces for an hour to a nice crowd. I enjoyed it very much.

"Laramites", as they are called, are proud of their town. (30K pop.) Wyoming has several acheivements of which they boast. Women's Sufferage first began here with a referendum presented in the "Territory Days" to allow women to vote. It was a practical matter for the territory in 1869 for it did not have enough male population to garner the required signatures for Statehood acceptance. With the female votes they had enough to petition Congress for Statehood consideration and finally in 1890 Wyoming became a State. In 1924 a woman, Nellie Tayloe, was elected as Governor becoming Wyoming's and the nation's first female executive. Since that time 42 women have served as Governors in the United States. Currently Liz Cheney is Wyoming's sole member of Congress and is running for re-election this fall as evidenced by the political signs posted around Laramie. She is the daughter of Dick Cheney, former Vice-President under George W. Bush.
Among Wyoming firsts are; home to the first national park-Yellowstone (1872), first national monument, Devil's Tower (1906), home to the first national forest, Shoshone National Forest (1891), first J.C. Penney store (1902), among other firsts.

Since Thursday is my last day in Laramie before moving north to Casper I decided to drive out to the Ames Monument 14 miles east of town on I-80 & then about 2 miles south on a dirt road. It is called, 'The Pyramid on the Plains'. Curiosity got the best of me, so I will pass along the story. Union Pacific Railway spared no expense in constructing the 60' monument hiring the most renowned architect, builder, and sculpture of the time. Henry Robson Richardson was the architect, and was well-known for his structures in Boston, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and other cities. The sculptor employed to create bass-relief medallions of the Ames Brothers for the paramid was the renowned Augustus Saint-Gaudens. He is also well-known for designing the $20. Double Eagle US gold coin.
Why the monument? Pres. Abraham Lincoln considered signing the Pacific Railway Act of 1862 making the building of the Transcontinental Railroad possible one of the crowning achievements of his presidency. However, by 1865 little progress had been made from the Union Pacific's eastern end due to the Civil War's demand for men & materials.
Oakes Ames, admired for his willingness for taking on difficult tasks, was referred to Pres. Lincoln. Oakes, a member of the House of Representatives from Mass., and a member of the Congressional Committee on Railroads, accepted the challenge to move Lincoln's vision forward. Believing in the importance of linking by rail the two coasts of the United States, Oakes Ames and his brother, Oliver Ames invested $1million of their own money and encouraged other capitolists to invest another $1.5 million. Oliver Ames, Jr. managed the family's Ames Shovel Manufacturing Co. With the discovery of gold in California, the expansion of the railroads, and the Civil War, the demand for quality hand shovels made the Ames brothers wealthy men. Construction of the railroad was done almost exclusively by hand labor using Ames hand tools, shovels, pick axes, etc.
The railroad project was led by Oliver Ames, a bright, skillful manager, meticulous bookkeeper, who served as president of Union Pacific during construction of the Transcontinental Railroad. This monument to the Ames Brothers was erected by Union Pacific on a site near former Sherman, WY, the highest elevation (8,247') in the Transcontinental Railroad. Remember my telling of the challenge of the trains climbing the infamous Sherman Hill/Mountain? The town of Sherman no longer exists. The little side trip was worth learning the story.

Posted by dixter 13:08 Archived in USA Tagged in day last laramie

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