Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
Unit Guide for Grades 3 – 6
A Teacher‟s Note …………………………………………………………………………………….. 2
Goals & Mission ……………………………………………………………………………………… 3
History of the Prison ……………………………………………………………………………….. 4
Unit Ideas ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 5
Pre-Visit Activities ………………………………………………………………………………….. 6
Planning a Field Trip ………………………………………………………………………………. 7
Prison Rules …………………………………………………………………………………………… 9
Prison Vocabulary ………………………………………………………………………………….. 10
Post Visit Lessons ………………………………………………………………………………….. 12
Social Studies, Recipes, Language Arts, Math, Science, Art and Music
Time Concepts ………………………………………………………………………………………. 20
Prison Quiz …………………………………………………………………………………………… 21
Prison Quiz Answers ……………………………………………………………………………… 22
Prison Exam ………………………………………………………………………………………….. 23
Prison Exam Answers …………………………………………………………………………….. 25
Prison Test ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 26
Prison Test Answers ………………………………………………………………………………. 27
A Teacher‟s Note
Welcome to the Wyoming Territorial Prison!
In this packet, there are numerous preparation activities you can
incorporate into your lesson plans to prepare your students for a visit to the
Wyoming Territorial Prison. The packet will help you and your students
understand the story of the prison and its place in Wyoming‟s history. It
includes a brief history of the site, pre and post visit lessons, several quiz
and exam assessments, references corresponding to packets we can provide
using hands-on materials, unit ideas and extensions.
Guided tours are available Monday through Friday, Nov. – April between 8
and 5 and May through Oct. 9 to 6. Please call for reservations at least two
weeks in advance. If you are unable to make an onsite visit, please note you
can borrow a discovery kit with hands-on replicas for use in the classroom.
Feel free to pick and choose from these ideas, as using all are not necessary.
We are here to help, please contact us with any questions, comments, or
suggestions you might have about the historic site or lesson plans.
Lynnette Nelson, Visitor Services firstname.lastname@example.org
Teresa Sherwood, Curator/Historian email@example.com
Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site
975 Snowy Range Road
Laramie, WY 82070
Goals and Mission
The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site exists to share its resources with the
public through preservation of its historic structures and artifacts, presentation of
captivating educational programs & exhibits, all which illustrate the rich history of the
Wyoming Territorial Prison, Wyoming‟s agriculture industry, and Wyoming‟s expansion
from a territory to statehood as illustrated by the development of the community of
To provide a general overview of the Wyoming Territorial Prison and its place in
To encourage a consideration of the law as it functioned in the West during the
late nineteenth century.
Provide a basis of comparison with law enforcement today.
To help fourth, fifth and sixth grade students experience various aspects of the
Wyoming Territorial Prison with a deeper understanding and appreciation.
To help students understand time, change and continuity throughout the
To strengthen knowledge about everyday life in Wyoming during the late 19th
To help students experience history by using hands-on artifacts and reliving the
past as it would have been when the prison was in operation (1872-1903).
History of the Prison
The Wyoming Territorial Prison was built in 1872, with prisoners first incarcerated on
January 13, 1873. The idea for the prison arose in 1869 when U. S. Marshal Church
Howe complained to Washington of the increasing number of criminals in the Wyoming
Territory. Soon after, the Legislature responded, passing an act in December 1896 to
build a facility in Laramie City.
In 1870 Wyoming received funds totaling $31,450 to build the prison. A contract was
signed on April 3, 1872 and by October of that year, the prison was constructed.
Once open, disagreements were brought forth on how the prisoners were to be treated.
Authorities in the 1890s believed inmates would benefit from learning a trade, thus
leaving prison with the ability to make an honest living on the outside. The Auburn
system of labor and reform was adopted and the inmates worked 10 hour days, 6 days a
week on various trades. The more successful industries included a broom factory and
intricate hand carved furniture. Convicts also removed wood from the Laramie River,
cut and stored ice, laid bricks, repaired shoes, made candles, planted gardens, raised
livestock, made bread, rolled cigars, designed jewelry, painted portraits, took up horse
hair braiding and experimented with taxidermy.
By 1901 the Wyoming State Penitentiary at Laramie was overcrowded. In 1903, the
prisoners were transferred by railroad to a new facility in Rawlins, WY. When all the
prisoners had been removed, the University of Wyoming converted the prison and the
surrounding grounds into an experimental stock farm. The University ran the property
as such until 1987 when they moved to a new location just outside of town.
Between 1873 and 1903, men and women of all ages, nationalities, and races as well as a
handful of “infamous” outlaws (including Butch Cassidy) passed through the
penitentiary. Because of its historical significance, the Wyoming Legislature declared
the site a State Park in 1990 and, at the cost of 5 million, the prison was restored to its
original appearance. Today the prison and surrounding property is run by the State as a
Historic Site under the division of Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources.
Architectural Styles from 1872 – 1902
End-of-Track Towns of the Union Pacific
How the Railroad came to Wyoming (or Laramie, specifically)
What the railroad has given Wyoming (and Laramie)
How the railroad affected Wyoming (and Laramie)
Terminology – Then vs. Now
Routes (including today‟s new roadways and signs)
Specific Prisoners (In relation to the students, or just a random prisoner they
Find prisoners who might have been related to a student
Prisoners they have heard about in the past and want to know more about
Women prisoners’ journey in the Wyoming Territorial Prison
Their daily schedule and chores/tasks they performed
What they wore
How they differed from men in prison
Women’s historical clothing of the 1880’s
How clothing has changed
What costumes were used for
Pictures comparing now vs. then
What clothing use to represent
Prisoners who escaped
A great reference to use for the history of the prison and its prisoners is:
Atlas of Wyoming Outlaws at the Territorial Penitentiary by Elnora Frye
ISBN # 0-936204-91-5
Available in most public libraries and at the Prison‟s gift shop.
Have the students make a list of the chores they think the prisoners might have
been made to do.
Using various maps, have the students locate both Laramie and the Wyoming
Territorial Prison in absolute and relative terms. If your class is from Laramie,
pull out a bigger version of the Laramie map and help the children with
descriptions of which roads to take.
Write a description of the route your students will take to get to the Wyoming
Territorial Prison. Your routes might include highway use, street names,
buildings nearby, etc.
Locate on a United States map the various states and cities where the inmates
were from or captured at. (Reference Atlas of Wyoming Outlaws at the
Territorial Penitentiary by Elnora Frye).
Have students research the type of flowers brought west. Some flowers include
yellow roses and rhubarb. Have students spot these flowers throughout the
prison when they take the tour.
Read children‟s literature on Wyoming, the Territorial Prison, and/or other
Read articles from the Laramie Sentinel and Laramie Boomerang to gain
perspective about the time the prison was open (1873-1903).
Discuss appropriate clothing and hairstyles for the late 1800‟s using photographs
and group discussion.
Have the students draw in detail what they think the prison cells will look like.
Have students do a think, pair, share activity on what prisoner‟s rules were and
how it affected their lifestyle.
Have the students draw and label what Laramie looked like in the 1800‟s. They
can either work alone, in partners, or in groups to gain more ideas.
Research some popular activities people participated in during the late 1800‟s.
I.E. Vintage baseball.
Research Butch Cassidy and write a report on him and/or other Wyoming
Have the students journal what they think it would be like to be an outlaw, get
caught and sent to the Territorial Prison.
Create a K, W, L chart and write out what the kids already know and what they
want to learn about the prison.
Use brochures and web pages to construct a bulletin board or poster that shows
the children what they will see at the prison.
Planning a Field Trip
Hello! We look forward to seeing your group at the Wyoming Territorial Prison State
Historic Site. Tours are FREE for educational groups associated with a school or
university. Home school groups are always welcome! We look forward to customizing
tours to meet your needs.
If you haven‟t already, please fill out the reservation form to request or confirm a school
tour and fax it to us at: 307-745-8620. If you have questions about our programs, please
contact us at: 307- 745-6161.
The following activities are available during your visit:
A tour of the prison – 1 hour
A tour of the newly restored Warden‟s House – 20 min.
A tour of the exhibit hall & interactive scavenger hunt – 30 min.
A tour of the newly restored Broom Factory – 30 min.
A session with the hands-on discovery kit – 20 min.
On your reservation form, please indicate which activities your group is interested in.
Date of Visit: Number in Group:
Arrive/Departure Time: Age/Grade of Students;
Name of Group: What the Group Wants to See:
Person in Charge: __ Prison
Mailing Address: __ Warden‟s House
City, State, Zip: __ Exhibit hall
Phone Number: __ Broom Factory
Email: __ Discovery/Hands-On kit
I, the undersigned agree to be responsible for the group and hold the State of Wyoming,
its employees and volunteers, harmless from and against any liability from damage to
life or property directly arising from the actions of any and all participants of the group
during their visit.
FOR OFFICE USE ONLY
School Tour Requested On: (Date)
Date of School Tour/Visit:
Follow up all/Confirm visit with group on:
Employee/Volunteer(s) to Conduct Tour:
Note any special items/requests for tour:
TEACHERS & CHAPERONES:
To ensure a safe and memorable visit for your group, please keep the following in mind:
We request that one adult accompany every ten students.
Name tags for students and chaperones are required.
We have an outdoor picnic area but no indoor eating facilities. If it rains, we
recommend students eat on the bus.
If the students wish to make purchases in the gift shop, we ask that only ten come
in at a time.
School tours are FREE for students, teachers and chaperones. Anyone outside
this group wishing to take the tour must pay the appropriate fee: $5 for adults,
$2.50 for 12 - 17, 11 & under are free.
While in Laramie, consider also visiting the following museums:
Laramie Plains Museum, 307-742-4448
UW Anthropology Museum, 307-766-5136
UW Art Museum, 307-766-6622
UW Geology Museum, 307-766-2646
WY Children's Museum & Nature Center, 307-745-6332
The Wyoming Territorial Prison is located off I-80, exit 311. If you have any questions or
need additional directions, please contact us.
1. You will not be allowed to converse with each other on any subject whatever.
Conversation is allowed only when you work out of doors and then, only in
relation to the work you are performing.
2. You will not hold any conversation with visitors unless they are accompanied by
either the Warden or one of the Guards, and not then without permission.
3. You will be required to keep your cell clean and in perfect order, and each
morning, immediately after rising, fold your bedding and place it on the head of
4. You will air and dust your bedding twice per week and at such times as you are
ordered to do so, and will keep your bedding in perfect repair.
5. You will be permitted to smoke or chew in your cell as long as you do not deface
the floor or walls. Each cell will be provided with a spitbox, which you must clean
6. When you are permitted to exercise outside your cell, you will in no case step
beyond the width of the cell door. If you have any request to make, you will
remain within the limited space until you have an opportunity to make the
7. At meal hours, you will be ordered by the guard to step from your cell and, when
the command is given, march around the table in single file taking the dishes
numbered to correspond with your cell number and then return to your cell in the
8. You will be allowed to write one letter per month and to receive letters every
Sunday. All mail to and from you must pass through the hands of the Warden.
9. Reading matter will be furnished by application to the Warden and must be
returned in good condition.
10. You will change your underclothing every Sunday and wash them at such times as
you may be ordered. No excuse will be taken for not keeping yourself clean and
in health condition.
11. The hours for arising weekday mornings is 5:30 prompt and Sunday mornings
12. In case of sickness, report to the Guard at once.
13. You will be expected to understand the above rules. Any point not understood
will be explained. Any deviation from these rules will meet with punishment.
Good behavior is to your interest as a record is kept of good and bad behavior.
The above rules were modeled after the “Auburn system” which focused on convict labor
and reform. Convicts were forced to contribute to the well being of the prison through
industrious labor and hard work. Rather than being confined to their cells day in and
day out, the Auburn system aimed to reform criminals with hard work and enforced
Cell/cellblock – a single room usually confining only one person within a building
having numerous similar rooms. A cellblock is a group of cells which make up a section
of a prison. The cells at the WTP were: in the North cellblock, 6 x 6 x 8 brick enclosures.
In the South cellblock, 5 x 5 x 7 iron grate construction. Cells in both wings held two
Chain step – the way prisoners walked while their legs were chained together or to
another inmate in a line.
Chamber Pot – a bowl-shaped container used as a toilet that was stored in a prisoner‟s
cell or a home without indoor plumbing. Also known as a “thunder mug” or “potty”.
Dumb-waiter – a small elevator operated by a simple rope and pull method used for
delivering food, dishes, or laundry from one level or floor of a building to a level or floor
Solitary confinement – a room or space where a prisoner has no contact with other
people. At the WTP, this was also known as the “dark cell”.
Infirmary – a building or part of a building for the sick and injured to be examined by
a medical professional.
Sentence – penalty or punishment for a crime.
Pardon – to excuse or forgive a person for a crime before his or her sentence is
Prison/Penitentiary – a public place where people who break the law must go to
serve their sentences. Often highly guarded with various degrees of security.
Prisoner/Inmate – a person sentenced and/or held in prison for a crime.
Warden – the person in charge of operating the prison.
Lessee – the person under contract to oversee the prisoners‟ labor and work.
Guard’s Cell Tower – a safe shelter for a person to watch over prisoners. In this
prison, there are guards‟ towers inside the building and along the stockade wall.
Stockade – a large wooden wall constructed around a prison or fort to keep prisoners
from escaping or war parties from invading a military structure.
Restoration – the process of putting a building back into nearly or quite nearly the
original form and/or condition.
Victorian – a cultural style relative to architecture, clothing, and literature that was
popular during the reign of Queen Victoria of England (1860-1900).
Preservation – the act of keeping something alive, intact, in existence, or from decay.
Historical – a: of, relating to, or having the character of history as distinguished from
legend or myth, b: based on or dealing with history or accurate in respect to the past, c:
used in the past and reproduced in historical presentations.
Butch Cassidy – Robert “George” Leroy Parker, alias Butch Cassidy. He was
incarcerated at the prison from 18 months from mid-1894 to Jan. 1896 for stealing
horses but is most “famous” or “infamous” for robbing banks and trains. Shortly after
his release from prison, he hid out in the Hole-in-the-Wall near Kaycee, Wyoming and
formed a gang. Under his leadership, the gang robbed stages, banks and trains all over
the West for five more years until he and the Sundance Kid fled to South America. Butch
Cassidy was never recaptured (his only prison sentence being in Laramie). His final
resting place remains a mystery to historians and Western buffs alike.
Nathaniel Kimball Boswell – N.K. Boswell was a deputy U.S. Marshall, the first
peace officer in Wyoming, the first sheriff of Albany County, the first Warden of the
prison, and the last lessee; overseeing prisoners‟ labor until he retired to his ranch in
Chaplain – a person who conducts religious services, similar to a minister or pastor.
State – an organized community under one government, forming part of the federal
government. Wyoming became a state in 1890.
Archaeology – scientific study by archaeologists of various historic times and people,
through archaeological digs resulting in objects that give “clues” to how an area was
used and developed.
Post Visit Lessons: Social Studies
1. Create a salt dough map of the Wyoming Territorial Prison and/or prison
grounds. (See page 16 for recipe).
2. Have students design a device that would have worked better than the original
lock and key, or one step-pull lever to release prisoners from their cells.
3. Have children pretend to be an outlaw on the run. Have them create and/or write
about their own hideout area, such as a tree house or tent.
4. Create a sheriff‟s badge and go through the process of initiating a sheriff into a
country, city or town.
5. Trace the history of local broom factories from when the prisoners made them
until present. Record the differences in the way they are made and used.
6. Collect, make and taste prisoner recipes (hard tack, hash and syrup, bread,
potatoes, stew, etc.)
7. Create a video re-enacting a prisoner‟s lifestyle in the 1890s.
8. Have the children watch Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (rated PG) and do
a compare/contrast class discussion or write-up of what is different between what
they learned during the visit versus the movie. (Hollywood vs History).
9. During the restoration of the prison building, workers found a small time
capsule. In the box, prisoners had placed a piece of paper dated 1873 which listed
the names of seven convicts, their sentences, the warden and guards, and
Lawrence Littleton who had recently escaped. Each prisoner had put a personal
item in the box. Have you students design their own time capsule. What would
they put in it and why?
10. Visit a local jail or invite a local peace officer to come and discuss modern
jails/prisons to compare and contrast with the Territorial Prison.
11. Compare and contrast your classroom rules with the prisoner rules. Describe
differences and have the students write what would be different about their lives
if they had to follow the “Auburn” system.
12. Have the children do a mock jury trial with a prisoner who committed a crime.
Have half female jurors and half male jurors to emphasize the “Equality State”. If
the prisoner is convicted, have him/her go through the process of being admitted
to the prison. For example, have the prisoner put on black and white stripes, take
mug shots of him/her, read them the “Auburn” system of rules, gather
biographical data, etc.
13. Have the children come up with alternative punishments than what the Wyoming
Territorial Prison did to the prisoners who misbehaved.
14. Have the children plant a garden, like the prisoners did. Grow potatoes, turnips,
carrots and other vegetables compatible in this area. When the garden has grown
and the vegetables are ready to pick, use them to create a meal the prisoners use
to eat, such as hash or stew.
15. Have children play “Who Am I” with prisoners who were incarcerated at the
Territorial Prison. Let the children read the Atlas book and then take turns
guessing who the other person is, using famous prisoners such as Butch Cassidy,
Kinch McKinney, Julius Greenwald, Eli Canary, Minnie Snyder and Dan Cassidy.
16. Using the Atlas, find pictures of the inmates. Have the students look at the
pictures and write how they would feel if they were in that person‟s shoes. What
would the uniform feel like? What would it be like to work 10 hours a day then be
locked in a cell overnight? Focus on smells, sounds, sight, touch and taste.
2 cups Flour
½ tbsp. Salt
½ tbsp. Sugar
½ cup Water
Mix flour, salt, sugar, and water. Using hands or rolling pin, flatten dough on floured
cloth until ¼ inch thick. Score with a knife. Back on cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30
min. Break into pieces as needed.
One batch makes about 7 pieces.
4 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups leftover beef, pork or chicken, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat 2 tsp. butter in skillet. Add onion and fry until soft. Remove. Heat 2 tbsp. butter
and 2 tbsp. oil in the same skillet. Add potatoes. Fry on medium-high until golden
brown and crispy, turning occasionally. Turn down heat. Add cooked onion and leftover
meat of your choice. Heat until warmed through.
Post Visit Lessons: Language Arts
1. Finish completing the K, W, L chart from the pre-visit lessons to determine what
was learned or make a list or web of the things the children learned.
2. Create newspaper reports, capture/escapes, letters from a prisoner, or poems and
songs from the viewpoint of an inmate. Play with font to make the outcome look
3. Make a comparison chart listing 1: Kind of work done by the prisoners. 2: Reason
the prison stopped that kind of work. 3: Kind of work being done today by
prisoners in WY and the U.S. The Atlas is a good source for this project.
4. Create a research project, dividing the class into groups and time periods. Use the
Atlas and newspaper articles from the Laramie Sentinel and Boomerang. The
New York Times, Library of Congress, Denver Public Library are reliable online
resources to use in pulling up period articles and photographs.
5. Have the children use the Atlas to graph information on where the inmates were
from or what crime they committed.
6. Create a Venn diagram on what prisoners were incarcerated for in the 1800‟s
versus crimes citizens commit now.
7. Create Now/Then charts for comparing transportation, clothing, food and
weapons from the 1870s – 1890s to today.
8. Have children journal about what they learned using prompts such as, “If I were
a prisoner, my favorite chore would be …” or “Back then, I might have been
incarcerated for…”. “If I was the lessee, I would have had the prisoners make …”
9. Plan to share what you have learned by creating a class newspaper, inviting other
classes into the classroom to relay the information, writing a class book or a play,
creating a class quilt or photo album.
10. Have the children do individual or group research projects on inmates that
11. Make an extensive list or web of things the class saw, heard or noticed.
12. Create group discussions using the following questions:
a. At one time, the Laramie newspapers asked for donations for books for the
prisoners. Why do you think the warden thought books were a good idea for
the prisoners to have?
b. What would be the hardest part of being a prisoner? The easiest?
c. Which of the prison rules would be the easiest to obey? The hardest?
d. How does the lifestyle of prisoners at the Territorial Prison differ from the
lifestyle of prisoners today?
e. Can you think of any other chores/duties/rules the prisoners should have
f. Why do you think the penitentiary had a “chaplain” who encouraged religious
services for the prisoners?
g. Was it fair that the men and women inmates were treated differently?
(Recount how they were treated and the pros and cons to that treatment).
13. Research more on a topic the children heard about and want to study further.
a. Broom Factory
b. Prison Food
c. Dress Style
d. Work and Prison Industries
e. Reasons the Prisoners were Incarcerated
f. Women Inmates (“Equality State”)
g. The First Female Prison Chaplain
h. Where the Prisoners Originated (Nationalities)
Post Visit Lessons: Mathematics
1. Create a salt dough map, using various elevations of the historic site. (Look on a
Laramie map for elevation). Use a pin to mark the spot where the Wyoming
Territorial Prison is located.
Mix 2 cups salt, 2 cups flour, 1 ½ cups water
For a class of 25 students, use approximately 1 ½ 5 lbs. bags of flour and 4 26 oz.
containers of salt.
2. Hypothesize and estimate the distance from your location to the Wyoming
Territorial Prison. Then, calculate the distance using various measurements.
3. Calculate the number of prisoners the pen could hold if each cell had one inmate,
two inmates, or three.
4. Calculate the average age of an inmate and/or the average length of sentence per
year using the Atlas.
5. Graph the number of inmates the prison held versus the number of cells. Use the
Atlas to graph how the number of inmates held changed each year.
6. Use different weights and measurements, as prisoners working in the kitchen
would have used them. Use the following units and let the children experiment to
see if they are accurate. (Taken from Kickin Up Some Cowboy Fun by Monica
25 drops of liquid will fill 1 common tsp.
3 teaspoonfuls = 1 tbsp.
16 teaspoonfuls = 1 cup coffee or 8 oz.
2 coffee cupfuls = 1 pint and weights 1 pound
4 coffee cupfuls of liquid = 1 quart
Sample Math Problems
7. If the first prisoners were incarcerated in 1873 and the prison was no longer
being used by 1903, how many years was the prison open?
A. The prison ran for 30 years.
8. If a guard made $65 a month as his salary, how much money did he make in one
a. A guard would make $780 a year.
9. During the first two years the prison was open, there were 44 prisoners. If eleven
prisoners escaped, how many were left?
a. 35 prisoners were left in the prison*
10. If it cost $1 a day to feed one prisoner, how much did it cost the prison to feed 44
prisoners for one week?
a. It would cost $308 a week to feed 44 prisoners*
11. The prison has 42 cells. If there were two inmates in each cell, how many
prisoners total could be held in the cells?
a. There would be a total of 84 prisoners
12. If a convict was sentenced to one year for stealing horses and was pardoned
three-quarters of the way through his/her sentence, how long did he/she stay at
a. He/she stayed for 9 months
13. If an inmate weights 100 pounds and the ball and chain he/she carries around
weighs ¼ of his/her weight, how much did the ball and chain weigh?
a. The ball and chain would weigh 25 pounds
14. In 1879, a guard made $65 for a month‟s salary. In 1880, his wages were cut to
$50 a month. How much less did he make per year in 1880?
a. He made $15 less each month, or $180 less in 1880*
15. If a guard made $50 each month, but his living expenses each month were $43,
how much could he save each year?
16. Knowing that the heating system in the prison was inefficient and the
temperature inside was only 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside,
what would the temperature be inside the prison if it was 14 degrees outside?*
a. It would be 24 degrees inside the prison
17. What if the temperature outside was -20?
a. The temperature inside would be -10.
18. If a pound of beans cost 25 cents per pound, how much would 5 lbs. of beans
a. Five pounds of beans would cost $1.25
19. In 1900, the prisoners made 60 dozen brooms per day. How many brooms total
did the prisoners make in one day?* What was the total number of brooms made
a. The prisoners made 720 brooms a day in 1900*
b. The prisoners made 262,800 broom in 1900.
*Denotes the question is historically accurate.
Post Visit Lessons: Science
1. Create a simple machine to make a lock, better than the ones they used in the
prison. When done, have the children calculate the work it takes to pull the lock
2. Recreate the typical broom the prisoners would have made in the 1890s. Create a
broom that we use in today‟s society. Compare/contrast the two different genres
of brooms and then create your ideal broom for future society stating what you
would use and the purpose of each material.
3. Have students become archaeologists. Put dirt or soil in a water table, along with
trash, coins children haven‟t seen before, old food and other items that are
carefully broken into pieces. Students can use tools (trowels, magnetometers,
brushes, sifters, small shovels, etc.) to dig the “artifacts” out of the water table.
When they are done digging, have them use microscopes, magnifying glasses and
other tools to observe and document their finds. Once they have described each
find, have them use the scientific process to find a solution to a problem of their
4. Have children study soil and dirt types to find a kind that allows vegetables to
grow well. Then have students plan a garden of vegetables the prisoners had
access to, specifically potatoes. Once grown, have the students make hash, or
stew like the prisoners would have eaten.
5. Study the differences between electricity light and candlelight. Have children do a
comparison and determine which is better, overall. Have students journal what
they think it would be like to be a prisoner who had to make and use candles,
instead of electricity.
6. Recreate/build a pulley system for the dumb-waiter. Ask the question to
students, „How could this device be improved today?” to stimulate creativity
before doing the activity.
7. Have children journal about what they would have used for medicine in the late
1800s instead of antibiotics. Have the children state what they would us, what
they would use it for and why. Discuss why antibiotics could not have been used
in the late 1800s and what they did use as medicine in that time. (Hint to
children, they saw some of the empty bottles in the infirmary room.)
Post Visit Lessons: Art and Music
1. Learn and sing songs from the historical period (see information below).
2. Sing songs about jails and prisoners to give children an idea of what type of music
was popular in the Victorian era (1860 – 1900).
3. Some good songs are, “The Prisoner‟s Song” and “What was Your Name in the
4. Have children blind draw to different types of music from the period to
understand how music can affect mood.
5. Make a model of what the prison and town of Laramie looked like when the
Territorial Prison was open.
6. Butch Cassidy Contest: Make masks of each student. When the masks are dry and
ready to paint, have them paint the masks to make them look like Butch Cassidy.
Hold a contest to see who made theirs look the most like Butch and give awards
for different categories.
7. Draw a map of a cell and appliances within to scale (Cells were 6 x 8 pr 5 x 7)
8. Create an item you saw at the Territorial Prison during the tour out of clay. Play a
guessing game with the classmates to see if they recognize it and can describe the
9. Create various artifacts the students saw during the tour. Display these at a
school function for parents, teachers, and other students.
10. Using copies of historical photos, magazine ads, tissue paper and a piece of
cardboard, create a warden‟s office using items available in the 1890s. Then
create another picture using pictures of furniture, electronics, office equipment
we have today.
11. Have each child draw, create, make or find an artifact they would put into their
own “time capsule”. Present your idea to the class. When finished, present your
time capsule to another class in the same grade.
12. Create puppets and dress them in appropriate attire for the late 1800s.
13. Create “wanted” posters using real facts from a prisoner that was incarcerated at
the Wyoming Territorial Prison, but put the name of students in your class in
place of the real prisoner.
14. Have the children draw the “ideal prisoner” look, using facts they learned about
the uniforms, hair styles, etc.
Music: Due to trademark restrictions, actual copies of songs about prisoners and jails
cannot be included in this packet. “The Prisoner Song” as sung by George Edwards is
included in Folk Songs of Catskills and “What was Your Name in the States” is in
Songs of the American West. These books might be available in your school or
CREATE A TIMELINE Using a long strip of paper, draw it to
scale and “anchor” it on the right end
with the present. I.e. Start with 1870 and
end with 2009. If your district has the
computer program from the Tom Snyder
Company called Timeliner ($79) this is a
good time to integrate technology.
ADD MEANINGFUL EVENTS Add a few major things going on in the
world, U.S., and Wyoming in the late
nineteenth century to the timeline.
Include the Territorial Prison period
(1873-1889) and the State Prison period
in Laramie (1890-1903). Put things in
like, “When the prison was built” and
“About the time our grandparents were
CREATE ILLUSTRATIONS Have the children make illustrations
above the timeline event to add personal
connections and meaning to this project.
1870 – 1st time women serve on a jury, Laramie, WY
1890 Wyoming becomes a state 1979 I was born
1872 Prison built 1903 Prison closes
1894 Butch Cassidy incarcerated
Wyoming Territorial Prison QUIZ
1. Name three different chores the prisoners (both men and women) did while they
were incarcerated at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.
2. Explain why it was important for the prisoners to have a before and after mug
shot (picture taken):
3. How many times were the prisoners expected to shower each week? Was this
more or less than they were used to? Explain.
4. During the winter, the well behaved prisoners were housed on the _______
floor. While the badly behaved prisoners stayed on the ______ floor.
5. How often were the prisoners allowed to talk to each other? What were they
allowed to talk about?
6. What were some of the crimes the prisoners committed that led up to them
spending time in prison?
7. What did the prisoners have to put on their legs if they were misbehaving, to keep
them from running away?
8. Name one of the two prisoners that died in prison. What did he die of?
9. Name the most famous outlaw incarcerated at the prison. What was his real
10. The prisoners were required to get up at ________ in the morning on the
weekdays and __________ on Sundays.
Wyoming Territorial Prison QUIZ ANSWERS
1. Chores include: laundry, making candles, cooking, baking bread, cleaning their
cells, dumping the chamber pots, cutting ice from the river, growing
potatoes/garden, hand carving furniture, rolling cigars, making brooms,
repairing shoes, taxidermy, jewelry design, horse hair braiding, making musical
instruments, white washing the interior walls of the prison, and building the
2. It was important for prisoners to have a before and after mug shot to have a clear
picture of what they looked like in the case of escapes while incarcerated or
recurring crimes once they had been released.
3. Prisoners were forced to shower once a week on Sundays.
4. The well behaved prisoners stayed on the third floor because heat rises. Badly
behaved prisoners would be stored on the ground floor because it was colder and
there was more room for the guards to take them in and out of their cells.
5. The prisoners were only allowed to talk to each other when they were working.
Then, they were only allowed to talk about the work they were performing.
6. Some crimes include murder, manslaughter, grand larceny, embezzlement,
assault and battery, forgery, robbery, assault with intent to kill. The most
common crime was stealing cattle or horses.
7. The prisoners had to put on ball and chains as well as handcuffs when they were
misbehaving, to discourage them from running away.
8. The two prisoners that died in the facility are Julius Greenwald and Edward
Fisher. Julius died of heart disease/failure and Edward died of leprosy.
9. The most famous inmate to stay at the prison was Robert Leroy Parker, alias
10. The prisoners were required to get up at 5:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on
Some clues where teachers/students can find confirmation from answers are in the Atlas
and the Prisoner Rules (pg. 9).
Wyoming Territorial Prison EXAM
Circle the best answer
1. Prisoners had to get up at ____ every day, except Sunday.
a. 6 a.m.
b. 6:30 a.m.
c. 5:30 a.m.
d. Whenever they felt like it
2. The before and after mug shots of the prisoners were taken in the:
a. Photography room
b. Processing room
c. In the wagon on the way to the prison
3. A crime that some prisoners committed were…
a. Stealing horses
c. Stealing money
d. All of the above
4. The ___________ is something that was put on prisoners if they were
misbehaving or tried to escape.
b. Ball and chain
c. Both A & B
d. None of the above
5. The _____ floor in the prison was the warmest in the winter because heat rises.
6. The prisoners were allowed to converse with other inmates about what?
a. Current events
b. Their family and friends
c. Plans to escape
d. Work they were doing
7. The inmates kept busy during their days by…
a. Making brooms
b. Making candles
c. Cutting ice from the Laramie River
d. All of the above (plus more)
8. The Wyoming Territorial Prison was built in …
9. The Territorial Prison was renamed the Wyoming State Penitentiary the same
year Wyoming became a state. What year did this happen?
10. How often did the prisoners eat in the dining area?
a. Once every six months
b. On special occasions and holidays
c. Every day
11. The prisoners were required to bathe/shower __________.
a. Once a week
b. Twice a week
c. Not at all
d. Every day
Wyoming Territorial Prison EXAM ANSWERS
1. C – 5:30 a.m.
2. B – Processing Room
3. D – All of the Above
4. C – Both A & B
5. C – Third floor
6. D – The work they were performing
7. D – All of the above (plus more)
8. C – 1872
9. B -1890
10. B – Special occasions and holidays
11. A – Once a week
Wyoming Territorial Prison TEXT
1. The _____________ _______________ is the building next to the prison,
where the prisoners went to work on a daily basis.
2. The prisoners had to get up at ________ in the morning every day, except
Sundays. On Sundays, the prisoners got up at ________ .
3. The Wyoming Territorial Prison was built in ______.
4. The __________ floor was the warmest floor to stay on because heat rises.
5. Along with making brooms, laundry, carving furniture and cutting ice, the
prisoners also __________________________________________.
6. The prisoners were only allowed to talk to each other if it was about ________.
7. ___________ _____________ was the most famous inmate to be
incarcerated at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.
8. The ______________________ was something that was but on the prisoners
legs if they were behaving badly or were trying to escape. The worse type of
punishment was being thrown in the ______ _________.
9. ______________ ______________ was the man who started a cigar-
making industry at the prison. He is also the only prisoner to die inside the prison
10. The prisoners were forced to shower ___________ time(s) a week.
Note: You can always give your students this exam before visiting. Afterwards, you can
use the text or quiz to see how much they learned.
Wyoming Territorial Prison TEXT ANSWERS
1. The BROOM FACTORY …
2. The prisoners had to get up at 5:30 …
3. The Wyoming Territorial Prison was built in 1872.
4. The THIRD floor was the warmest…
5. Along with making brooms, laundry, carving furniture and cutting ice, the
prisoners also MADE CANDLES, REPARIED SHOES, ROLLED CIGARS,
COOKED, TENDED THE GARDEN, CLEANED THEIR CELLS,
EMPTIED THE CHAMBER POTS, MADE RIDING EQUIPMENT WITH
HORSE HAIR, TAXIDERMY, BAKED BREAD, MADE MUSICAL
INSTRUMENTS, WHITE WASHED THE PRISON WALLS, BUILT THE
6. The prisoners were only allowed to talk to each other if it was about WHAT
THEY WERE WORKING ON.
7. BUTCH CASSIDY (ROBERT LEROY PARKER)…
8. The BALL AND CHAIN was something that was but on the prisoners legs if
they were behaving badly or were trying to escape. The worse type of punishment
was being thrown in the DARK CELL.
9. JULIUS GREENWALD …
10. The prisoners were forced to shower ONE time a week.