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Tour Opens Up Historic Wyoming Agricultural Sites to Public

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023   

The Alliance for Historic Wyoming is hosting its next "Unbarred" tour on Aug. 5, featuring historic agricultural buildings in Sheridan County.

Kristin Campbell, chair of the Sheridan County Historic Preservation Commission, said it is a rare opportunity to peek inside places usually not open to the public. She pointed to a grain elevator built in the 1930s, which still has all of its internal elevator mechanisms, and has been converted by its new owner into a small apartment.

"These grain elevators are often demolished, because they're no longer used by the railroad, and the railroad owns them," Campbell pointed out. "So it's really unique that he was able to purchase and update this property while still maintaining its historic character."

The group will also visit the University of Wyoming's Sheridan Research and Extension Center, the state's oldest experimental agricultural station for dry land farming. Built in 1915, many of the original structures are still standing. For more information about the tour, call 307-333-3508.

The Stephen George Homestead is a rare example of an original Homestead Act holding dating from 1881, before Sheridan was a town.

Tom Balding, owner of the homestead, which was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places, has also won praise from the Audubon Society for creating a birding trail alongside pristine Prairie Dog Creek. But Balding said the star attraction is the original stone barn.

"The majority of the people that pull into the property, they're just awe-struck with the stone barn," Balding observed. "It's built from some type of limestone, in pretty much every stone there's seashells and fossils."

Sackett's Market, which is catering the event, is named after John Henry Sackett. A guide and hunter with the Buffalo Bill Wild West show in the 1800s, Sackett went on to forge trading routes to and from trains in Cheyenne.

Campbell hopes the tour will encourage others to preserve sites contributing to Wyoming's unique story.

"Places like the ones that we're visiting are increasingly rare," Campbell noted. "By providing these tours, the Alliance for Historic Wyoming is working to protect these and other historic places, and highlighting what's possible when we work to preserve these places."


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