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State Park

History

When campus officials considered building the future Ross Hall on the corner of 9th St. and Ivinson Ave., nearby residents were concerned that the area represented one of the last open spaces on campus. Consequently, the Wyoming legislature passed a bill that set the land aside permanently as a Wyoming State Park. (Prexy’s Pasture was set aside by legislative act in similar fashion in the 1960s.)  

Although tucked away among bushes and trees in the earlier years, the stone marker was the focus for an Anti-War March in the fall of 1969.  More than 700 Wyoming students participated in a march as part of the nationwide Vietnam moratorium. But this event was overshadowed by the “Black 14” incident which began two days later: In October 1969, 14 African American athletes on the UW football team approached Coach Lloyd Eaton and asked if they could demonstrate their opposition to the then-racial policy of the LDS by wearing black armbands in the forthcoming game against Brigham Young University, an LDS college. Eaton not only refused the request, but in an intemperate outburst, dismissed the 14 players from the team. The resulting uproar gained national headlines and adversely influenced UW Sports for almost a decade. The grassy expanse was also the site of the annual “Elizabethan Faire,” sponsored by the Department of English in the 1960s-1980s.

In 2011, the university drew criticism from many residents for a piece of art in the area, “Carbon Sink: what goes around comes around.” The sculpture was a critique of the energy industry and its contribution to global warming and the pine beetle epidemic. The piece was controversially removed in 2012.

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