It started out so well. We parked near the wonderful old train depot, on a nice sunny day in Cheyenne. It’s beautiful inside, and serves as a tourist center.
Outside you see the boots that are the trademark “thing” that Cheyenne artists decorate. You know, some places have cows or pigs or deer – boots are refreshing! There is a statue of a hopeful young lady arriving in Cheyenne, looking determinedly at the state capitol straight up the avenue. Must be a lobbyist. Even a state with fewer than 500,000 people has them, I bet.
We got excited by the nice thick historic walking tour booklet handed out at the Tourist Center. So we started walking. Observe the old First National Bank and the Plains Hotel, the first hotel in America to have a telephone in every room. Presidents and movie stars have graced its halls. And isn’t The Wrangler great? Don got some tough-looking cowboy jeans in there.
Another building of note – also on a telephonic theme. It is the original Bell Telephone building. Because young Cheyenne was one of the wealthiest cities in the country, it quickly found itself with over 100 subscribers to the Bell System. The first long-distance call in Wyoming was made from here – all the way to Laramie! Well, since they needed a directory, a local printer volunteered to print one up, and decided to take advertising to offset the cost. When it came time to print it, he realized he had run out of white paper, and printed the ads on yellow stock. The Bell System was quite impressed, and there we had the Yellow Pages. (Does anyone remember the Yellow Pages?)
The walking tour book had lots of entries, but we quickly realized that it was asking us to stroll by buildings that used to be there, to learn about events that took place before parking lots replaced noteworthy locations, to just imagine the theaters where all the greats performed.
Sigh. Another town that didn’t realize there is no point in having parking places if there is no reason to be there. Oh well. We then drove up to the capitol and paid our respects.
Wyoming, it’s been swell. You are a pretty place, and not too far removed from your past – but please don’t tear any more of it down.
We are on to Denver tomorrow, getting ready for the hand-off of our trusty car to the lovely Krista, who is once again giving it a home while we occupy New York. Can you believe this round of our American tour is almost over? We can’t.