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UW American Heritage Center Creates Virtual Exhibition of Laramie’s Maps

November 12, 2020

The history of Laramie can be told in many ways: It can feature famous people, significant events, the influence of the railroad or the growth of the University of Wyoming.

UW’s American Heritage Center (AHC) created a virtual exhibition, titled “A History of Laramie Through its Maps,” that tells Laramie’s story through 11 maps of the town and the county. It can be viewed here.

The map exhibition was curated by John Waggener, reference archivist at the AHC, and published by Hanna Fox, head of the center’s digital Photography Lab. The maps in the collection depict the growth of Laramie.

Laramie owes its existence to the Union Pacific (UP) railroad, which platted Laramie in July 1867. This was almost a year before Laramie was incorporated in May 1868, just a few days before the UP tracks arrived. The plat map shows the narrow lots along First, Second and Third streets and then more sizable lots farther away from the tracks.

The fourth map indicates, in 1887, that West Laramie had just been platted to be 12 blocks wide instead of 10, which was larger than Laramie, as well as a prospective northern addition that did not take off as planned.

“Wyoming University,” established in 1887, was originally two blocks wide and four blocks long in an area planned as a city park. By 1913, it was four blocks square, but still on the edge of town. In this collection of maps, the university did not reach 15th Street until 1946.

For many decades, Laramie only had Undine Park as seen first on the 1887 map, next to a new addition called “Park View.” Washington Park does not appear until the 1946 map, when Laramie had finally grown eastward to build a residential area near it.

For more information about other AHC virtual exhibitions, click here.

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