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Friday, July 24, 2015

Old Cheyenne

Union Pacific Statement


Cheyenne, Wyoming. 7/24/2015:  Cheyenne is a railroad town, most definitely not a cow town.  It was created and settled by Union Pacific in the 1800s to be its operations hub on the high plains. Later, it also became the maintenance center for the giant steam locomotives UP drove over the Rockies.  When you drive into town down the Lincolnway, you get an idea of just how large the yards must have been.  They still are impressive..so is that building you see up there.  It's a terminal that makes a statement.  Construction started in 1886 and finished in 1888.  It is positioned smack-dab at the end of the boulevard that leads to the state capitol.  Union Pacific officials wanted legislators to look out the window and see just how important the UP was/is to Cheyenne and the state.  It does a good job.

   Don't confuse "railroad town" with something it isn't.  Before Cheyenne had a thousand citizens it had 26 saloons.  Famous gunfighters like Wild Bill Hickok  hung out here; so did Tom Horn, the last man hung legally in Wyoming.  There were gunfights, brawls and bordellos..and the Doctors sold coffins.

   Things really got interesting when they started the rodeo, but that's another story.

   Needless to say, it's one of my favorite spots, so I brought my new bride, Jane, for her first visit..and we went shopping.  


   We went to the Wrangler.  Throughout most of the year, the Wrangler serves ranchers and their families.  During rodeo..or Frontier Days..it's full of us out of towners looking for something snazzy to wear. 


  The hat market is up in some quarters..


   But good straw is still a popular buy.


  They're not selling that sign..or the horns..but if they do, I want both.

  We saw shirts, boots, jeans, jewelry and gimcracks by the gross.  The store is an experience in itself.  I wouldn't miss it.


   Jane has a sore ankle, so she didn't buy boots this time..couldn't try them on.  So she found something bigger.

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   This scrap-metal horse (look closely) stands in the plaza outside the railroad station:


   That picture is for my friend, Larry Guss, who also does art work with a welding torch.  That's a lot of spare parts, Larry.

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   Cheyenne sprawls.  Nice neighborhoods with everything from small Victorians to elegant mansions..old buildings like the one above that speak of a certain time. Moreover, it's an important moment in American history, helping to glue together the transnational rail system that tied us together.  Crossing the country in a wagon train took an average of 166 days.  When the railroads came, it took 10 days.  Cheyenne helped to make that work..it still does.

  It ain't all rodeo, Pard, but right now rodeo's the thing.  They've been doing the big show here for almost 120 years.  Tomorrow, we're going out and help them notch up another one.  

  Seeya when we get back.

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JS.  7/24/2015