Rawlins in Carbon County, Wyoming — The American West (Mountains)
Wyoming State Penitentiary
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
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. Touch 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 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 •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 18, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 244 times since then and 32 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 18, 2015, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.