“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Rawlins in Carbon County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)

Wyoming State Penitentiary

Wyoming State Penitentiary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 9, 2015
1. Wyoming State Penitentiary Marker
Inscription. The Wyoming State Penitentiary was constructed in different stages. The first construction occurred three years after statehood in 1893 following authorization by the Wyoming Territorial Legislature and the laying of a cornerstone in 1888. The original cellblock contained 104 cells for individuals, a concept based on the Auburn Plan, which emphasized rehabilitating prisoners. While this state penitentiary was to replace the territorial penitentiary in Laramie, construction was not completed until 1901.
From 1901 to 1911 private parties contracted with the state to operate the prison and hired out prison labor in the community. The Board of Charities and Reform, in 1911 assumed direct operation of the penitentiary and convicts worked on public projects including Wyoming's first state highway system.
During 1914 and 1915 a reinforced concrete wall, 12'' to 18' thick, replaced the wooden stockade formerly ringing the grounds. In 1916, a building was constructed to house a kitchen, dining room, bakery and chapel and, ironically, a hospital and death house.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983 for its architectural and historic significance, the Wyoming State Pen's buildings can be divided into three stylistic categories: Romanesque, Mission, and Utilitarian. The Romanesque structures - the administration
Wyoming State Penitentiary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 9, 2015
2. Wyoming State Penitentiary Marker
building, cell block A, laundry, guard quarters-powerhouse complex, and commissary - are constructed of locally quarried sandstone.
Inmates' treatment changed as penal philosophies changed. National prison reform movement in the 1920's and 1930's, for example, led to emphasis on rehabilitation. Prisoners worked outside the walls on a prison farm or within the walls in a privately owned shirt factory. Prisoners also went to school. These opportunities disappeared during the depression and WWII. Conditions deteriorated by the mid-1950s and the prisoners rioted. The riot led to more reforms such as work release and educational programs.
By the late 1970's penologists deemed the aging facility unacceptable for housing prisoners. In 1981 the "old" Wyoming Pen closed and the prisoners transferred to a new facility south of town.
Erected by Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department.
Location. 41° 47.55′ N, 107° 14.508′ W. Marker is in Rawlins, Wyoming, in Carbon County. Marker is on West Walnut Street near 4th Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 499 West Walnut Street, Rawlins WY 82301, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as
Wyoming State Penitentiary image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, September 9, 2015
3. Wyoming State Penitentiary
the crow flies. William Daley Flagpole (approx. 0.2 miles away); Rawlins (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rawlins Springs (approx. 0.7 miles away); Rawlins Paint Mines (approx. 2.2 miles away); Civil War Cannons (approx. 6.6 miles away); The Parco Inn (approx. 6.6 miles away).
Also see . . .  The Wyoming Frontier Prison. A Little Background on Our Piece of Wyoming's History... The eighty year history of Wyoming’s first state penitentiary, now known as the Wyoming Frontier Prison, is as colorful and elaborate as the plot of a classic western movie. The cornerstone of the prison was laid in 1888, but due to funding issues and Wyoming’s notorious weather, the doors wouldn’t open for thirteen years. In December of 1901, the prison opened and consisted of 104 cells (Cell Block A), no electricity or running water, and very inadequate heating. (Submitted on October 18, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.) 
Categories. Notable Buildings
Wyoming State Penitentiary Marker image. Click for full size.
By Unknown, circa 1907
4. Wyoming State Penitentiary Marker
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 135 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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