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Military history is written on Wyoming's landscapes.
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Happy Veteran's Day!
Wyoming's landscapes are dotted with reminders of the state's military history.  From historic forts dating back centuries to modern installations like the Quebec #1 Missile Alert Facility, there are great reminders of the sacrifices made to protect our nation.
Fort Laramie
In 1834, a log structure called Fort William was established on the Laramie River by fur traders.  It was replaced in 1941 by the adobe brick Fort John.  In 1849, the US Army bought Fort John and established a military post officially known as Fort Laramie.  Old Bedlam was constructed the same year and is one of the oldest structures in the state. Many historic trails, including the Oregon, California, and Mormon trails, passed through this post. The military post was abandoned in 1890, and the building fell into disrepair.  It has since been restored and is operated by the National Park Service as part of the Fort Laramie National Historic Site.
Fort Mackenzie
Land near Sheridan was set aside for a military post in 1898.  Fort Mackenzie was first used by Buffalo Soldiers in 1901, but by the start of World War I, the fort was scheduled for demolition.  President Taft instead had the establishment transferred to the Bureau of Health where it was used to treat soldiers coming home.  Today, the site is home to the Sheridan Veteran's Administration Medical Hospital.  The Alliance for Historic Wyoming recently submitted comments on changes being made to the facilities to ensure historic character was retained while the buildings were updated to best serve our veterans.
Fort Fred Steele
Fort Fred Steele was established in 1868 and housed soldiers protecting workers building the transcontinental railroad and later the bridge across the North Platte River.  It was occupied by the military until 1886, but has a long history after that as a stop along the Lincoln Highway. Today the site is managed by our friends at Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites, and Trails.
Camp Guernsey
Construction at Camp Guernsey began in 1939, and was funded in part by the Works Projects Administration.  The older buildings are of local sandstone, though the start of World War II dictated that they be veneered for faster construction.  Buildings were added after World War II and through the Cold War.  The Camp was put into use immediately after its construction, and continues as an active training ground for the Wyoming Army National Guard.  In 2006, AHW President Mary Humstone and the American Studies Program completed a Historic Buildings Management Plan for Camp Guernsey. The Army awarded Camp Guernsey with a cultural resources management award in 2009 for their work to tribes on ethnographic studies and to preserve their more than 70 historic structures.  
Casper Army Air Base
The Casper Army Air Base Officer's Club was built in 1942.  The building was based on US Army Quartermaster Plans, and therefore has the same floorplan as the Officer's Club at the Prisoner of War Camp in Douglas.  The building contains several murals painted by soldiers depicting the history of Wyoming.  At the end of World War II, the building and the Casper Army Airfield were given to Natrona County.  The buidling is now home to the Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum.     
Quebec #1 Missile Alert Facility
Built in 1962 as a Minuteman 1 site, Quebec #1 was re-purposed for the Peacekeeper MX Missile in 1986 and was used until 2005.  Twenty-five miles north of Cheyenne, this facility will eventually be the only one of its kind left in the world.  The US Air Force is required to dismantle the Peacekeeper Missile sites, but may keep one for "interpretive and educational purposes."  The Quebec #1 site provides not only an opportunity to interpret the Cold War and the role of FE Warren Air Force base in the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile System and Wyoming's long military history.  Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites & Trails is taking public comments on the Quebec #1 project until 5:00 PM on November 25, 2015. You can submit your comments here.
What is your favorite military site in Wyoming?
We know there are many more sites we could have featured today, so we want to hear from you!  What is your favorite military site?  Why does it matter?  Send us your story and a photo and we'll feature it on our website and Facebook page.

The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office has released a revised version of Wyoming's Comprehensive Statewide Historic Preservation Plan. They are requesting comments and are accepting them until November 15, 2016. Let your voice be  heard!


Review the document here.

 

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