Thursday, October 8, 2009

Vintage Roadside: Portland to Nashville - Day 4

Oddest moment of the day - browsing through the display cases of the Wyoming Frontier Prison Museum while trying to decide which mug shots we liked best, we overheard a tour guide cheerfully explaining to a group of boys two methods of execution utilized during the prison's history - hanging and the gas chamber.

The tour guide went on to demonstrate how a hanging works using a miniature model. We had to get back on the road so couldn't stick around to see if the gas chamber demo was next. (From what we could see, the boys were loving the tour.)

If you're in the mood for an unforgettable experience, the museum offers guided tours and is a National Trust Partner Place, welcoming NTHP members with a special discount.

Backing up just a little, we started this morning in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Just this past May, Rock Springs Main Street received the National Trust Innovation Award which recognizes communities for their "excellence, originality, and effectiveness in downtown revitalization through historic preservation."

They also have some pretty great signs:

On the road after Rock Springs, we waved to this cowboy perched high atop a steel tower at Mile Post 150.

Our execution education stop in Rawlins followed Rock Springs before we headed to Laramie via the Hwy 30 / old Lincoln Highway loop up past Medicine Bow. It was a long, windy drive with mostly antelope for company, but well worth the trip when we found these sights along the way.

With a storm brewing over Laramie, we jumped back onto I-80, racing the rain to one of the day's must-sees: a giant head of Abraham Lincoln at the Summit Rest Area at Exit 323.

Thirteen-and-half feet high on a 35-foot pedestal. Tto say the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument is memorable would be an understatement. It's huge! In case we haven't mentioned it before, we love giant pretty much anything. The bigger, the better.

The Summit Rest Area is also home to another famous attraction - a monument to Henry Joy, the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association.

The second must-see of the day was the Ames Pyramid, a 60-foot high monument built by Union Pacific to honor Oliver and Oakes Ames for their contributions to the completion of the United States' first transcontinental railroad.

The setting of the pyramid seemed a little eerie when we pulled up. As you'll see in the photo below, the monument is kind of a lone cowboy out there. (Vintage Roadside vehicle in the distance.)

Isolation aside, the pyramid is well worth the drive as the scale of the thing is hard to believe until you see it in person.

Traveling east, take I-80 to excit 329, right on Vedauwoo Road, then left onto Monument Road. Bump along on a gravel road for two miles and you're there.

Stopping briefly in Cheyenne before heading to Nebraska, we stopped by the Lincoln Theatre. We couldn't find much information on this Art Deco theatre, aside from the fact that it seats over 1200 people, so if anyone has any history to share we'd love to hear it.

On our way out of town, we caught one last sign before heading for the state border.

In case you are planning your own road trip to Wyoming, here are a couple of links you might find helpful: Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails, Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, Tracks Across Wyoming

If you're just joining us, we're about half-way through our road trip to the National Preservation Conference, Oct 13 - 17. Nashville or Bust!

For additional photos, outtakes, and maybe even the story of the shoes made from human skin we saw today, join us on our Facebook page here.

Can't wait to see what we find in Nebraska...

Jeff & Kelly
Vintage Roadside


Citroendork said...

Love "The Lincoln" Monument aND THEATRE!
I forgot about the Monument which I had been to. It is Huge! Bring on Nebraska!!

Vintage Roadside said...

Austin - Thanks for the comment. We really appreciate you following along with us!

When you ordered up Nebraska you forgot to "hold" the wind and snow! We spent the day trying to outrun snow:-)

Unknown said...

I loved the open spaces and the blue sky of Wyoming. Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam.... mmmmmmmmmm Beautiful sights!