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A year ago, University of Wyoming students in an American Studies class conducted a historic resources survey of the west side of Laramie. A chance encounter between one of the students and a curious neighbor sparked the formation of the West Side League of Neighbors, a civic group committed to creating awareness of historic preservation on the west side of Laramie.
Carly-Ann Anderson, who graduated from UW this month with a master’s degree in American studies/environmental and natural resources, was taking photos of one of the properties when the home’s owner, Gina Chavez, came out to investigate.
“We took photos of 248 properties in a 32-block area,” says Anderson of the project that was funded with an Albany County Historic Preservation Board (ACHPB) grant. “She (Chavez) came out of her house and wondered what I was doing. She became interested and decided to help.”
As Anderson explains it, Chavez enlisted the help of neighbors Wendi Chatman and RoseMarie Aridas to assist the students with their research. When the study concluded, the women, excited by the experience, decided to form the West Side League of Neighbors.
“This project is a great example of UW students making a difference in a community,” says Mary Humstone, a research scientist in UW’s American Studies Program.
In an effort to encourage homeowners to research and rehabilitate their historic properties, the West Side League of Neighbors, in partnership with the ACHPB, host a series of workshops.
The first workshop, “Is My House Historic?” is scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 28, 7-9 p.m., and will introduce participants to research resources available in Laramie. Representatives of UW American Studies, the Albany County Historical Society, American Heritage Center, the Albany County Assessor’s Office and the State Historic Preservation Office will be available to discuss how to research properties.
Laramie residents will be able to learn more about when their homes were built and in what architectural styles, as well as who previously lived there. A short history of Laramie and the West Side neighborhood also will be presented.
“My Windows Leak!” takes place Friday, Sept. 14, from 7-9 p.m., and will focus on common rehabilitation issues in older homes. Kurt Dubbe, a preservation architect from Dubbe Moulder Architects in Jackson, will discuss repairing and replacing windows, fixing structural issues and options for exterior sheathing. Participants are encouraged to bring photos of their homes and ask questions about problems they’ve encountered.
Beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, Dubbe will lead an architectural rehabilitation walking tour of the west side neighborhood. The tour will feature several properties currently undergoing rehabilitation or under consideration for rehabilitation. Dubbe serves as a Wyoming adviser to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and as an advisory board member to the Alliance for Historic Wyoming.
All workshops will take place at the Lincoln Community Center gymnasium, located at 365 W. Grand Ave. Refreshments will be served at the workshops. However, guests are encouraged to bring a lunch to the Sept. 15 tour.
“We just like to let people know what resources are available for them in Laramie and promote a general awareness of the significance of the neighborhood,” says Anderson, who currently serves as an intern for the ACHPB. Her duties include publicizing events for the West Side League of Neighbors.
For more information, contact Anderson, who is coordinating the workshops, at (307) 214-7747; the West Side League of Neighbors at (307) 343-3657; or go to http://westsideleagueofneighbors.webs.com/.