‘Cheyenne’ Category


Pioneering Trees

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – Nannie Steele arrived in Cheyenne in the midst of a sandstorm in September of 1876. A strong woman who rode with the cowboys and was acquainted with Buffalo Bill, she made this observation in a letter — “there are only twelve trees in this town.” The next year however, things began to change. John Talbot, often referred to as Major, was an early settler in Cheyenne, claiming 160 acres and opening the Talbot House at 16th and Thomas, one of the first hotels. He built a large house on the corner of 27th and Snyder, with a third-floor ballroom, and eventually, lavishly landscaped grounds. It is recorded that in 1877 he ordered 20,000 young trees and willow cuttings from Nebraska, his former home, for planting in Cheyenne. Early pioneers planted and hand-watered those first trees along the streets and in the parks of Cheyenne; by the early 1900’s Cheyenne was known as “The City of Trees.” » read more


Sentinels in Bronze

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – Esther Hobart Morris and Shoshone Chief Washakie have several things in common. Bronze statues of the two flank the entry to the Wyoming State Capitol, that’s the first thing; and replicas of those statues represent the state in National Statuary Hall in Washington, DC. The stories told about them have elevated them to the status of legends; larger-than-life icons that changed the world in a flash. But these two were simply orphans who were dealt some hard knocks, and who faced them in the best way they could. I find no record that their paths ever crossed, but they shared the same space in time, living through most of the turbulent 1800’s, and they shared minority status as the law and the social climate related to them. A woman, and an American Indian; exactly what did these two people face, and how did they respond? » read more


It’s A Fine Fall Day

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – Fish and ducks and geese didn’t scurry, and there was no fringe on our top; but a Trolley ride on the first day of fall is a mighty fine way to spend a day. Autumn began in Cheyenne at precisely 8:49 AM this morning and I was ready for the Farmers Market at Depot Plaza just about that time. Pumpkins and apples on display; mums in pots; pies and peppers and fresh-baked zucchini bread; the mood was set, framed by the two things that define Cheyenne – trains, as depicted in the arch overhead, and ranchwear, for sale across the street. With a slice of that zucchini bread in hand, I headed for the Trolley, parked right outside the gate. The Trolley Passport in my hand promised a “fully narrated historic tour that captures the lively character of days gone by.” I’m ready for the ride. » read more


No Shy Anns Here

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – When you think of women of the American West, do Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane come to mind? Back in the 50’s Doris Day portrayed both of them in film, and in song; women who seemed to have more fun than hard times. Perhaps you temper that “buttons and bows, sharp-shootin” image with the knowledge of an ancestor whose hardships you’ve heard in stories handed down; women who buried children along the trail and struggled in a land that offered few favors. The truth is somewhere in there, and over on West 17th Street in Cheyenne you can learn about those truths in Cowgirls of the West Museum, run by modern-day women of the west who not only preserve the stories of the past, but who continue to shape the Cheyenne of today. I found another interesting “western woman” influencing the Cheyenne of today, and in fact the art scene around the world; it’s Veryl Goodnight, artist extraordinaire. I found her work in front of the Old West Museum on North Carey Avenue; her bronze statue of a woman by a wagon wheel is entitled No Turning Back; Veryl’s poem is inscribed below; a touching tale of women who “stored their silk dresses and donned calico.” In front of the Historic Depot on West 15th is Cheyenne’s latest Goodnight acquisition: a woman standing with umbrella in one hand and handbag in the other, as though she just stepped off the train. A New Beginning is the title; she faces Capitol Avenue with the state capitol at the far end. A meaningful view? » read more


First and Foremost

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – Wyoming may be the 50th state in terms of population, but it lays claim to an awful lot of FIRSTS. It is home to the first National Park in the United States (in fact, the world). The beloved Yellowstone National Park, in the northwest corner of the state, was created by an act of Congress in 1872. Wyoming also has the first National Monument – Devils Tower, in the northeast corner of the state; designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. The first National Forest – the Shoshone – and the first ranger station – the Wapiti, in that forest – were created in 1891. The first business west of the Missouri River was established by fur traders William Sublette and Robert Campbell in 1834, near Fort William in Wyoming. And Wyoming was the first state to have a county public library system. The Laramie County Library was established in 1886, when Wyoming was still a territory. Located in the capital city of Cheyenne and still in existence today, it is the longest continually operating county library system in the United States. » read more


Look What The Wind Blew In

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – “Does the wind blow here all the time?” brought me a loud “Yes!’ from the restaurant hostess in answer. I’d just walked across the parking lot for my Sunday evening dinner with shoulders hunched against the strong winds, my jacket zipped to the top. Yesterday it tried to blow the limbs off my Christmas cactus as I unloaded the car; I ran fast to get inside the first of the double doors. And the doors have signs instructing “High Winds Please Pull Door Shut.” Even the little card-swiper devices for unlocking the doors have protective lids over them; you have to lift in order to insert the card. I need to find out about the wind fences I saw alongside the freeway, I’m thinking, remembering mile after mile of curved wooden rails that seem to be connected to nothing, but are everywhere, on the windward side of the road. That was one clue, for sure. And after all, I know Cheyenne sits high on the mountain plains; elevation 6,098 feet, the second-highest of the 50 capital cities.  I picked up a brochure before I sat down. » read more


King of Coal

Linda Burton posting from Cheyenne, Wyoming – Mile-long coal trains followed me into Cheyenne yesterday, a sight to see. I’m back to mountains now, the Laramies. Natures foothills were the dark green backdrop for the distant man-made slivers moving south across my westward view. Blue sky and silver trains; I stopped counting at twelve. The tracks merged closer to the freeway as I neared the city; they converged across the street from my hotel. Through the night I heard the muffled rumblings of the trains; from the breakfast room this morning I watched them roll. Where does this coal come from, I wanted to know, and where is it going? Wyoming coal. » read more