Have you ever wondered why Laramie isn't in Laramie County? The story dates back to the early 1800s, long before the railroad established Cheyenne, Laramie County, or the city of Laramie.

Jacques La Ramee was a French-born explorer who first settled the area now known as Wyoming in 1815. A hunter and fur trapper, La Ramee was credited as the first European to explore the river from the headwaters of the North Platte south to the Cache La Poudre in Colorado.

Known for his peaceful encounters with Native American tribes in the area, the stretch of river was named in La Ramee's honor.

Decades later, the Union Pacific railroad came to Cheyenne. By then, settlers had shortened the La Ramee River to "Laramie."  In 1867, Laramie County was officially named for the river, which flows along the eastern side of the Medicine Bow Mountains.

For a few months, Laramie County extended across present-day Wyoming, until December of 1867 when the Dakota Territory officially established Sweetwater County near the boomtown of South Pass City.

The City of Laramie was founded less than a year later, in the spring of 1868, as the railroad worked its way west. Originally a part of Laramie County, it was declared the seat of Albany County in December of 1868 by the Dakota Territory.

Albany County was named by Dakota Territory Representative Charles Bradley, after the capital city of his home state, New York.

Perhaps the biggest reason for creating the new County was the lawlessness in Laramie. The first town Marshall, "Big" Steve Long, famously terrorized and intimidated early settlers. It wasn't until newly named County Sheriff N.K Boswell formed a vigilante posse to lynch Long and his associates that law and order were established in the rugged outpost.

The following year, in 1869, the Wyoming Territory was officially established and Cheyenne was named the capital.

In 1886, construction began on the Wyoming State Capitol. That same year, Territorial Governor F.E. Warren established the University of Wyoming in Laramie. Four years later, in 1890, Wyoming was granted statehood.

Top 10 Things to Do in Laramie

If you're new to town or visiting the Gem City, there are many things to see and do in our area. Laramie is like a special pocket of awesome in Wyoming. Between the University of Wyoming and the unmatched natural beauty, Laramie has so much to offer. To narrow things down and create a sort of starter list we turned to the folks at Trip Advisor to see what the people say. So, according to Trip Advisor reviews, here are the top 10 things to do in Laramie:

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CLASSIC CHEYENNE: The Cole Shopping Center

In December of 2020, Blue Federal Credit Union completed its new headquarters at the corner of Converse and Pershing in Cheyenne. Well, it’s not so much a ‘corner’ as it is the smooth edge of a roundabout, but anyway. Before Blue FCU built its new campus, the site was at one time a premier shopping destination for Cheyenne. From the 1950s through 2016 it was Cheyenne's Cole Shopping Center.

Local businessman Frank Cole bought the land that would become a Cheyenne gathering place in the 1950s when the corner of Converse and Pershing was the edge of town. Starting in 1952, three different Safeway grocery stores called the Cole home over its half-century of existence.  A plethora of other stores served the neighborhood too. From the movie theater to Blockbuster; there was the Cole Department Store, the fabric store, the East Branch of the Carnegie Library, and so much more.

As Cheyenne grew and changed, the Shopping Center fell into decline. Stores closed and new ones didn't take their places. The anchor of the area, Safeway, closed for good in 2016 with much of the rest following. In 2018 the buildings were demolished and the new construction began. 

The Cole was so integral to the neighborhood that when we asked on social media for folks’ memories we were flooded with hundreds of responses. 

Check out many of those memories below, along with several pictures of the Cole Shopping Center, mostly from near the end in the twenty-teens.


Cheapest Places to Live in Wyoming

Do you like money? Do you like not like spending it? Well then my friend, I have an internet list for you. Or friends at Homesnacks crunched a bunch of numbers to find the cheapest places in Wyoming to live.

The Homesnacks folks looked at US Census data and the cost of living for the area. "We were especially interested in home and rental prices in places with more than 1,000 residents," they say.

If you like small town living in the natural beauty of the wilds of Wyoming, you'll find plenty of ideas on this list.