Cigar smoke wafting through the air from an unseen aficionado, slamming cell doors, apparitions, cold chills and disembodied voices is what awaits those brave enough to partake of the annual “Ghost Tours of Laramie City.”
Brief History of Wyoming Territorial Prison
The westward expansion of the railroad brought more than economic joie de vivre to the residents of Laramie. It also brought unscrupulous men and women of less than stellar moral fortitude and subsequent high crime rates.
Thus in the late 1800’s the Federal government authorized the building of the “Wyoming Territorial Prison.”
After its inception, the “Wyoming Territorial Prison” went on to house some of the most tarnished offenders from that time on up until 1903. Around that time a new prison had opened in nearby Rawlins and that facility began to take over where the “Wyoming Territorial Prison” took off.
Who Haunts Wyoming Territorial Prison?
With over 1,000 inmates having resided there over the years it is to be expected that many of the paranormal activities of the prison are said to be connected to both prisoners and guards.
However, there is one prisoner who reputedly is more active than the others. His name is Julius Greenwald. Greenwald was doing time for the 1897 murder of his then wife, Jennie.
Prison lore indicates that Greenwald was adept at making cigars and convincing prison staff to allow him to make and sell cigars while incarcerated. He allegedly made the cigars from his cell on the third floor. The same cell that was removed during a prison renovation once the site had come under new ownership.
Evidently Greenwald did not appreciate his makeshift cigar factory being removed as it is alleged that the paranormal activity in the prison increased greatly after the renovations.
It should also be noted that Greenwald was one of only two people that died at the prison. The first person was an inmate that died during a botched escape attempt and the other was Greenwald who died of a sudden heart attack in 1901.
Ghost Tour Information
As of 2010 admission to the “Ghost Tours of Laramie City” are $10.00 per person. Due to the popularity of this spook-tacular annual event, advance reservations are required. Tickets go on sale each year at the beginning of October.
The 1 ½ hour ghost tours begins at 7:00 pm most October weekends with a new tour departing every ½ hour. In previous years the tour included a hay ride through Laramie City and ended with a guided candlelight tour of the prison and grounds.
Regular Tours and Hours of Operation
Regular daylight tours are offered throughout the year as well. Presently admission to a regular, daylight tour is $5.00 per adult and $2.50 for children between the ages of 12 to 17. Children under the age of 11 are admitted on the tour for free.
Though the site is open daily, availability varies throughout the year by season and component. Currently from May through October the site is open from 9:00 am until 6:00 pm.
Though the grounds themselves are available for viewing year round, the Frontier Town exhibit, prison and exhibition halls are not. Therefore it is best to call in advance of one’s trip to verify both admission price and availability of all exhibits.
Wyoming Territorial Prison and State Park
975 Snowy Range Road
Laramie, WY 82070
Those travelers that would like more information on things to see and do around the City of Laramie, Wyoming should log onto the state’s tourism website.