Laramie

Founded In: 1868

Population: 30, 816

Elevation:  7,165 feet

Median Income: $36,940

Chamber of Commerce:  http://laramie.org/

Located on the Laramie River in southeastern Wyoming, Laramie is west of Cheyenne and lies between the Snowy Range and the Laramie Range. Laramie’s population began due to the Union Pacific Railroad line crossing the river at this junction. Even today, it remains an important junction on the railway.

Laramie was named for Jacques LaRamie, a French trapper who disappeared in the late 1810s and was never heard from again. As one of the first European visitors to the area, settlers named many things after him including a river, mountain range, peak, US Army fort, county, and city. In fact, except for Jim Bridger, LaRamie has more landmarks named after him than any other trapper. For years, Laramie was known as Laramie City, so people knew which landmark was being referenced.

Though Laramie began as a tent city, when the railroad came through, the town grew to have stores, houses, a school, and churches, but crime also developed. Lawlessness was the rule in early Laramie history. Three gunmen, “Big” Steve Long, Con Moyer, and Ace Moyer forced settlers to deed over their land or be killed. The first sheriff, NK Boswell eventually had gunmen lynched and order restored.

In March 1870, five Laramie residents became the first women in the world to serve on a jury. Then, on September 6, 1870, a Laramie resident was the first woman in the United States to cast a legal vote in a general election.

Laramie has been featured on several TV series including the Lawman and Laramie. It was also featured in Season 5 of Hell On Wheels.

 

Climate

Due to the high elevation, Laramie experiences cold, long winters with an average of 48 inches of snow a year. Summers are short and cool. The growing season lasts from June 6th through September 14th.

 

Economy

The top 3 industries in Laramie include: retail, warehousing, and tourism. The unemployment rate is low at 2.5% and job growth over the next ten years is predicted to be 41.5%.

 

Things to Do

Outdoorsy people love Laramie! Tourists and residents make excellent use of Laramie nature by skiing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, fishing, hunting, and hiking.

Sports enthusiasts also find much to do in and near Laramie, nestled at 7,165 feet (2,184 m) above sea level between the Laramie Range (Laramie Mountains) and the Snowy Range (Medicine Bow Mountains). Popular activities include skiing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, and hiking. A popular place to do all of these is at Vedauwoo (https://www.wyomingtourism.org/things-to-do/detail/Vedauwoo-Campground-Recreation-Area/8296), which is 20 Miles east of Laramie. Vedauwoo, an Arapaho word meaning “Earth Born,” is a group of weathered granite slabs, boulders, and cliffs covering 10 square miles in the Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest (http://www.fs.usda.gov/mbr).

The Snowy Range Ski Area (http://www.snowyrangeski.com/), about 30 miles from Laramie, offers downhill skiing and snowboarding on 27 trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to expert.

Laramie is a center for mountain biking with trails running through both the Laramie and Snowy Range. The Medicine Bow Rail–Trail (http://www.cyclewyoming.org/med-bow-rail-trail/) is a 21-mile bike trail that runs between Albany and Lake Owen.

Fishing enthusiasts will feel right at home, especially on the Laramie River. Curt Gowdy State Park (http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.aspx?siteID=4) is located 24 miles east of Laramie and has three reservoirs: Granite, Crystal and North Crow. Here, many enjoy fishing, boating, and water sports, as well as hiking and biking. In addition, visitors and locals can get a good look at the wildlife.as they raft on the Laramie and North Platte River.

Speaking of wildlife, Laramie hosts wild horses at the Deerwood Wild Horse Ecosanctuary (http://www.deerwoodranchwildhorseecosanctuary.com). In fact, Deerwood is the first Bureau of Land Management sponsored wild horse ecosanctuary in the United States. The ecosanctuary is located on a 4,000-acre, family-owned ranch approximately 30 miles west of Laramie. This is a private ranch so tours are by appointment only.

For those that prefer something a little tamer, there are several museums, monuments, and attractions, including:

  • Ames Monument (http://www.over-land.com/ames.html): Monolithic 60-foot high granite pyramid built by the Union Pacific Railroad Company. It stands on the highest elevation of the original transcontinental route.
  • Fort Sanders: A wooden fort constructed in 1866. Originally named Fort John Buford, it was renamed Fort Sanders after General William P. Sanders who died at the Siege of Knoxville during the American Civil War. The fort was originally intended to protect travelers on the nearby Overland Trail from Indian attacks.
  • Historic Ivinson Mansion (www.laramiemuseum.org): The Laramie Plains Museum is one of the region’s finest historic house museums. The Ivinson Mansion was saved from demolition in 1972 and has been fully restored to its original opulence.
  • Historic Laramie Union-Pacific Train Depot (www.laramiedepot.org): The depot originally opened in 1924.
  • Nici Self Museum (http://niciselfmuseum.org/): Housed in a 1907 Hahn’s Peak and Pacific Railroad depot, this museum exhibits the general history of the Centennial Valley including mining, lumbering, ranching, and railroading.
  • Summit Information Center (http://www.wyomingtourism.org/travelguide/detail/Summit-Information-Center/4374): This is where the Lincoln Monument was sculpted by Robert Russin in 1959 to commemorate the highest point on the Lincoln Highway.
  • Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site (http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.aspx?siteID=33): Built in 1872, the prison tour includes furnished cells, the prisoners’ dining area, guard’s quarters, infirmary, women’s quarters, laundry room, warden’s office, and various exhibit galleries.
  • Wyoming’s House for Historic Women (www.thelouisaswainfoundation.com/the_wyoming_house_for_historic_women):  On September 6, 1870, in Laramie, Louisa Swain, a 70-year-old Quaker lady, became the first woman in the world to cast a ballot under laws giving women the right to vote.

And don’t forget to stop by the Laramie Farmer’s Market, which is open every Friday from July through September. The Farmer’s Market includes fresh produce, handmade goods, live music and local arts.

Laramie also hosts a few fun celebrations:

Laramie Jubilee Days happens in July to celebrate Wyoming’s statehood. It is a weeklong event that includes a carnival, street dances, rodeos, a parade, a softball tournament, live music, and bull riding.

Other fun events include the Laramie Brewfest, which also happens in July. At the Laramie brewfest there are several sample specialty ales to try and and option to vote on favorites. Earlier in the year, the Annual Mid-Winter Mr. T Bull Riding occurs. Burns Rodeo Company of Laramie showcases their stock in a rodeo that includes bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding, and bull riding. Bicycle enthusiasts love the Dead Dog Classic Stage Race in June, which is a 2 days’ bicycle road race that starts in the Snowy Range and heads to Albany, Wyoming and back.

 

Shopping in Laramie

Whether you are looking for something special for your home, a souvenir, or something that says Old West, Laramie has a store for you. Find the perfect gift for anyone on your list at one of these fine stores:

  • All Terrain Sports (www.allterrainsports.com): Carries bikes and accessories, as well as climbing gear, snowboards, camping gear, and skateboards.
  • Ann’s Pawn and Antiques: Bring a little bit of Wyoming home with you.
  • Antique Fever (www.antiquefever.com/home.html): Specializing in Early American oak furniture, as well as other word furniture.
  • Aphrodite’s Emporium, Antiques, Too!: Antiques and collectibles including artwork, furniture, and glassware.
  • Artisan’s Gallery (www.artisansgallery.net): Featuring 59 artists from Wyoming including stained glass, afghans and tapestry works, batiks, gourd works, wood works, handmade furnishings, jewelry, stationary and gift items.
  • Atmosphere Mountainworks: Hand-made, hand-designed, one-of-a-kind outdoor gear, as well as other sporting equipment, gifts, and toys.
  • Augusta Mizzelwitt’s Back of the Wagon Antiques: Three floors of antiques that emphasize the Old West.
  • Chalk N’ Cheese (http://www.chalkncheesewy.com/): Artisan cheeses from all over the world, as well as jams, mustards, olive oils, and balsamic vinegars.
  • Cowgirl Yarn (http://cowgirlyarn.com): World’s Largest Collection of Wyoming yarns, pattern books, needles, hooks, and more.
  • Cross Country Connection (www.crosscountryconnection.com): Outdoor gear and equipment for rock climbing, cross country ski, camping, and backpacking.
  • Earth Wind and Fire Gallery: Specializes in original art including paintings, blown glass, woodworking, pottery and Native American and contemporary jewelry.
  • Gallery West and the Frame Plant (www.gallerywestframeplant.com): Framing your art using museum procedures.
  • Martindale’s Western Store: Laramie’s only locally owned Western Store.
  • Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse (www.nightheronbooks.com): Used bookstore, coffee, tea, and espresso, along with baked items. Breakfast and lunch available.
  • Scraptree (www.scraptree.com): Large selection of scrapbooking and rubber stamping supplies.
  • The Bent and Rusty Cotton Company (www.thebentandrusty.com): Reclaimed barn wood, upcycled antiques, custom made jewelry, and custom quilts.
  • The Curiosity Shoppe (www.CuriosityShoppeWy.com): A little bit of everything.
  • Third Street Marketplace (http://thirdstreetmarketplace.weebly.com): A vintage and handmade store that showcases western American finds, homemade goods, housewares, and local artists.
  • University Store (http://www.uwyostore.com): Your source for Wyoming apparel and gifts.
  • West Laramie Flystore (www.flystore.net): Camping gear, fly fishing rods, reels, flies, and fishing licenses.

 

Dining in Laramie

After a long day out and about Laramie, settle into some delicious food. You’ll find anything your heart desires and be ready to come back for more:

 

Living in Laramie

In 2011, Laramie was named as one of the best cities in which to retire by Money Magazine. But the city has much to offer families, as well, with 14 city parks, a golf course, University of Wyoming’s recreation sites, indoor and outdoor pools, and an ice skating rink.

The Albany County School District provides good education for children in Laramie in seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools. Additionally, Laramie has a charter school, a Catholic school, and a prep school. The main campus of the University of Wyoming is in Laramie, as well as the Laramie County Community College, and WyoTech, offering career training in the automotive, diesel, and collision-repair industries.


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This information is believed to be accurate, but without any warranty.