Video Project Features Laramie’s Historic Homes
July 22, 2011 — A public reception and program launch for the Historical Living Project of historic homes and oral history accounts of Laramie begins Wednesday, July 27, from 6-8 p.m. at the Alice Hardie Stevens Center, Laramie Plains Museum at the Historic Ivinson Mansion.
The Historical Living Project features 12 distinct homes and provides residents and visitors with a historical narrative of the Laramie community from its beginnings as a railroad town, to a thriving community that values its sustainable architecture and historic heritage, says producer Chamois Andersen, director of communications for the University of Wyoming's Environment and Natural Resources Program.
Video vignettes highlighting the style and oral history of each home are featured in a walking tour guide, accessible via mobile tags using a smartphone, while on the tour. Free brochures are available at the Albany County Visitor Bureau at 212 Custer and online at www.visitlaramie.org/hlp. The videos, audio files and feature stories are also available to view or download via the program's website.
"Laramie has so many styles of historic homes and the use of video and new technology such as mobile tagging is a great way to feature our history for residents and visitors alike," Andersen says "With this project, I wanted to not only feature the sustainable architecture of these historic homes, but to interview the homeowners about what they know about the people who lived in these homes in the early 1900s, the early residents of Laramie who really contributed to the community's growth and prosperity."
The homes' early residents included John Meldrum, who served as secretary of the Wyoming Territory in 1890, the third president of the University of Wyoming, Charles O. Merica and a deputy sheriff named Emil Therkildsen, who in 1908 hid a prisoner in the cellar of his house to avoid a lynching, then spirited him to Cheyenne in the middle of the night to face trail.
"It became clear early on in this project that our community and homeowners really value our historic ties to the West," says Andersen. "I was impressed by how much knowledge had been passed down to the current owners. This project is intended to continue those stories and to highlight our historic homes that make this town so special."
This pilot initiative is a collaborative effort among UW's Ruckelshaus Institute, Albany County Tourism Board, UW's American Heritage Center, Albany County Historic Preservation Board and the Laramie Plains Museum.
Funding for this project was made possible through a grant by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.
Three of the original seven homes on 6th Street's Bath Row remain, including 157 and 159, were designated on the National Register of Historic Places.