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The historic past still draws visitors today to Cheyenne, WY

Cheyenne Depot
Cheyenne Depot
by Doug Bardwell - http://DougBardwell.com

Since the Wild West Days, Cheyenne has grown up into a wonderfully diverse city. Beautiful parks and modern conveniences still rub shoulders with historic buildings and a rich historic past. Depending on your attention to detail, this is easily a multiple-day destination.

Cheyenne Depot

Look up from anywhere in town and chances are you’ll see the pointed tower of the Cheyenne Depot.

In the main lobby area you’ll be able to buy your trolley tickets and pick up a number of good brochures. Here you’ll also find the entrance to the Cheyenne Depot Museum.

If you prefer to explore Cheyenne on your own, there’s a great brochure to look for called Downtown Cheyenne Historic Walking Tour. This will give you the option of three tours: .7, 1.3 or 1.9 miles in length. You could also drive them if you have someone in the group who would rather not walk.

[For more photos of Cheyenne, click here]

The brochure gives just a brief history and then talks about 79 historic sites to see. Very well done and available for free from the Cheyenne Downtown Development Authority.

Cheyenne Depot Museum

I had the chance to wander through the Cheyenne Depot Museum while waiting for the trolley tour to start. Interesting collection of Union Pacific railway memorabilia as it relates to Cheyenne’s past as a real rail center. I never realized how much some western towns depended on the railway for their development.

Upstairs is an extensive model railroading display, built from scratch, all done by one man – Mr. Harry S. Brunk. The scenes depict a number of different towns and areas and are all done to honestly replicate what that town actually looked like during the railroad’s heyday. The work is incredibly detailed and beautifully done.

Children will probably need to be held by parents to see the displays as they are all mounted about 48” above the floor. People in wheel chairs will probably just be able to see them. Downstairs there is a “train playroom” that younger children will enjoy. My grandson can play with train sets like this for hours on end.

Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley

Never having been to Cheyenne before, and only having one day to see it, we opted for the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley tour. In 90 minutes, you’ll get to see the city’s highlight’s and top attractions. The tour is fully narrated and you can get on and off at a number of attractions. You can then get back on about 90 minutes later and continue on from where you left off.

Our particular tour was driven and narrated by a gal who tried a little too hard, projected her voice way too much, and was only marginally humorous. Not sure what age group she was trying to appeal to, but there weren’t a lot of laughs coming from anyone on the bus.

Also, if you are a photographer, you’ll want to get off the bus at the various stops to get any decent pictures. Most of the sights were either too close or too far away from the bus for any usable pictures while on the tour.

Those two things aside, the tour does take you to some sights you’ll want to explore and your bus ticket gets you in free at the:

· Cheyenne Depot Museum

· Nelson Museum of the West

· Wyoming State Museum

· Wyoming State Capital

· Cheyenne Botanic Gardens

· Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum

· Historic Governors Mansion

· F.E. Warren ICBM & Heritage Museum (that’s InterContinental Ballistic Missile for you kids) (not actually on the trolley tour – they can’t drive on base at this time.)

Not only that, when you are touring, you can get free audio tours to explain the museums on your own cellphone.

Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum

If you prefer horse drawn vehicles to trains, then be sure to stop at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. This is reportedly one of the largest collections of historic-horse drawn vehicles in the country. Just try to picture traveling across country in one of these babies, doing maybe 6 m.p.h. Yikes!

Nagle Warren Mansion

We only spent one night in the Nagle Warren Mansion and it wasn’t enough. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Cheyenne.

This was just an amazingly beautiful place, one where I wished I had hours to wander and take in all the architectural details. I did do an indoor photo safari and got some great shots, but I would have loved to have had more time to focus on the details. Just extremely well done.

We stayed in the carriage house on the first floor (the Marie Pershing Room) in what is a completely handicapped accessible room with wide doors, walk or roll-in Roman shower plus a small soaking tub and easy access out to the side door. A power lift is available to lift a wheel chair up the three stairs to the dining room if you needed that.

[For more photos of the mansion, click here]

I think the photos will speak for themselves in a lot of ways, but they can’t explain how quiet a setting this was. Our room opened onto a little private garden where my wife enjoyed sitting and reading. We had an appointment for the following morning, and if it weren’t for that, we would have stuck around until they kicked us out.

The breakfast was amazing, both in terms of menu and conversation. Jim, the owner, joined us for a while and his pride in this place is very evident. Everyone there that morning was in great spirits and we traded travel stories and ideas of places to visit nearby.

Internet and cable TV were welcome amenities in this historic mansion. Really couldn’t have asked for anything more.

For more information to help planning a trip to Cheyenne, try these resources:

http://www.cheyenne.org/

http://www.cheyennecity.org/index.aspx?NID=2108

http://www.cheyennedepotmuseum.org/

http://www.wyomingtourism.org/

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And since you're in the neighborhood, consider Sheridan, WY as another stop.

Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about travel destinations, photography and tech topics across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at travel.dougbardwell@gmail.com with suggestions for future stories. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here. For travel ideas in Cleveland and around the world, check his Calendar of Events. To see his travel photo collection, see BardwellPhotography.com.