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Cheyenne - Wyoming

The name of the state capital recognizes the Cheyenne Indians, who inhabited southeastern Wyoming before settlement by the white man in the mid-1800s. It was founded in 1867 when the Union Pacific laid its tracks in the area. This was the quintessential "Wild West" town, its residents a mixture of settlers, soldiers, railroad builders, outlaws and lawmen. Cowboy history is at its best here and the city was an early home to cattle barons

This was the quintessential "Wild West" town, its residents a mixture of settlers, soldiers, railroad builders, outlaws and lawmen. Cowboy history is at its best here and the city was an early home to cattle barons.

The State Capitol has a golden dome which can be seen for many miles across the plains. It resembles the national capitol in Washington, with high columns and a large rotunda. Weekday tours are available from the rotunda which features the stuffed icons of the state: bison and elk.

What to See and Do

The Governor's Mansion, used as a home from 1905 to 1976, is now a historic museum which is open year-round. The State Museum is close to the capitol building and offers a bewildering collection of western artifacts from the cowboy, trapping and pioneer eras. There is an excellent Native collection which includes costumes and archeological items. The museum is located in the Barret Building on Central Avenue. It is open daily, except for state holidays.

Other museums in Cheyenne include the Frontier Days Museum which features rodeo artifacts, including a large collection of horse-drawn vehicles, more Indian garments and a saloon re-creation. Philatelists enjoy the National First Day Cover Museum which not only contains an authentic 1900 general store but houses the finest collection of first edition stamp covers in the country.

Holliday Park in downtown Cheyenne houses "Big Boy", the world's largest steam locomotive (Old Number 4004) which served the Union Pacific until 1956 and was moved to the park for rail buffs to pore over. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department operates a visitor center beside Interstate 25 at Central Avenue. Besides obtaining information on wildlife and wetlands viewing, you can see displays of many of the state's 600 wildlife species.

If you're traveling between Cheyenne and Laramie, the most scenic way to go is to take Happy Jack Road which leads for 38 miles through the Medicine Bow National Forest. You'll see high rock towers, eroded into fascinating shapes. It joins Interstate 80 at the road's summit (8,400 feet) and from there it's only 12 miles to Laramie. To start along this route, take 19th Street in Cheyenne. Curt Gowdy State Park is named after the noted sportscaster and one of the state's favorite sons. It's on Happy Jack Road and is a great place for fishing and other water sports. There are mountain trails for summer hiking and nordic skiing after the snow falls.

Summertime brings the Friday Night Rodeo series, in Pine Bluffs, 40 miles east of Cheyenne via Interstate 80. Each Friday performance starts at 7:00 p.m. and admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children. Pine Bluffs is just west of the state line.

The rodeo has a family oriented, small town atmosphere, and is an economical way for tourists to see an authentic rodeo. Events featured are: Pee Wee Barrel Racing (10 and under), Steer Riding, Novice Bull Riding, Open Bull Riding, Saddle Bronc Riding, Bareback Riding, Barrel Racing and Team Roping.

The Summer Rodeo Series run from early June to mid-August (except July 31st).

Where to Eat

Poor Richards
2333 East Lincolnway, Cheyenne, 307-635-5114
This upscale offers an early-American ambience and all the standard American dishes (steaks, prime rib, seafood) for lunch and dinner, six days a week. Closed on Sunday.

Morris House Bistro
2114 Warren Avenue, Cheyenne, 307-369-1378
This fine restaurent is in an historic home, once owned by Esther Hobart Morris, America's first female justice of the peace. Today, the food is upscale but the prices are moderate. Their Sunday brunches are famous in the region. And if you're lucky and are there on the right night you might get to savor a wine-maker dinner.



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