A series of walking and biking tours showing off Laramie’s art, history and historic figures is set for Fridays through the end of the summer.
Tours are scheduled for 5:30-7 p.m. today, as well as June 21, July 12, July 19, July 26, Aug. 16, Aug. 23, Sept. 6 and Sept. 13. Most tours will start at either the Wyoming Women’s History House, 321 S. Second St., or the downtown plaza at the corner of First and Grand. Tours of Greenhill Cemetery will meet at the cemetery, 455 N. 15th St.
All tours are free, and topics include Albany County’s early governance, Greenhill Cemetery, the West Side neighborhood, architecture and local history, Laramie public art by bicycle, Laramie monuments by bicycle, women’s suffrage and Laramie murals.
While past tours have been contained within the downtown district, this year’s slate of topics reaches across the Gem City. Local historians Jessica Flock, Kim Viner and Judy Knight are leading the tours.
Flock, a Laramie native, said she hopes the tours will give visitors and residents alike a greater appreciation for Laramie’s diverse and rich history.
“Growing up, I definitely didn’t know as much as I know now about this really unique location in southeast Wyoming that we live in and call home,” she said. “It becomes more and more fascinating for me every day and every year.”
Flock is set to lead tours of Laramie’s public art, monuments and murals. During the mural tour, participants will make a loop through the downtown district, taking in most of the large-scale murals that have been appearing downtown since 2011. In preparation for the tour, Flock listens to audio recordings of artists talking about their work and their artistic process and reads through a file about the people portrayed in the Hidden Figures alley,
“I refresh my memory about their history and make sure that I’m representing all of those stories accurately and providing a way for the community to connect with all of those stories,” she said.
The tour of Laramie monuments by bicycle includes stops at Depot Park, Albany County Courthouse and around the University of Wyoming. Monuments have been created in dedication to pioneering Laramie women, WWI veterans, Vietnam veterans, Benjamin Franklin, the Black 14 and Chief Washakie, among others.
The public art tour will take in everything from “Penumbra” on South Third Street to a Robert Russin sculpture in Udine Park, plus art near the Albany County Courthouse and on the University of Wyoming campus.
Flock includes information about why the monuments and art pieces were created or brought to Laramie, who created them and any public response they sparked.
The Greenhill Cemetery walking tours will include insights into notable figures from Laramie’s past, including Edward and Jane Ivinson, offered by volunteers in period costume.
A new tour this year is the women’s suffrage walking tour, led by Viner. It’s scheduled for Sept. 6, which happens to be the date that Louisa Swain became the first woman in the country to cast a ballot in the general election. This year marks 149 years from that day in 1870.
“Next year we will celebrate the 150th anniversary,” Flock said.
The summer tours are sponsored by the Albany County Historical Society, Laramie Main Street, Laramie Public Art Coalition, Laramie Plains Museum and the Pedal House. Go to www.facebook.com/AlbanyCountyHistoricalSociety for a complete list of upcoming tours.