Capitol North Historic District
The Capitol North District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. Portions of the content of this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [†] Adaptation copyright © 2015, The Gombach Group.
The Capitol North District, built between 1905-1930 is a good blend of middle to upper class housing stock, primarily of frame construction with clapboard siding. Frame styles range from single story plains cottages to two story picturesque cottages. Several streets have brick veneer and brick construction houses in two story cottage modes and eclectic villa forms. Much of the architectural character of the district derives from the similarity of features of the properties. Design elements such as varied roof structures and imaginative massings of elements which are sometimes repeated on the same block, generate visually active streetscapes. Fenestration patterns, chimney placements and design, porch locations and shapes, decorative motifs in gables, occasional stained and beveled glass ornamental windows, varieties of dormer types, and entry way ornamentation all serve to provide a rich catalog of architectural details. Uniform setbacks on most streets and developed landscaping with continuity in plantings serve to make the district cohesive.
Because of its proximity to the State Capitol and other State buildings, this district has provided housing for officials of state government including governors, state legislators, lawyers, judges, and other related professionals. In the southwest corner of the district at the corner of Pioneer and 26th Street is Gilchrist Park, dedicated by a prominent resident of the area in the early 1900's. The park, along with a memorial shaft to the east, create a mood setting corner stone for the district.
Capitol North is a well preserved but endangered middle to upper class neighborhood directly north of the Wyoming State Capitol. The districts development and evolution is a direct result of the construction of the state capitol and the expansion of government related functions. This area has provided housing for officials of state government, related professionals, and small businessmen, from approximately 1905 to present. Some significant residents include: Luke Voorhees, Territorial and State Treasurer and Laramie County Treasurer, Receiver of Public Moneys and Disbursing Agent of the U.S. Land Office 1913; Cyrus Beard, Chief Justice Wyoming State Supreme Court 1905-1920; W.E. Chaplin, Registrar U.S. Government Land Office 1911-1920; James Greenwood, Deputy Attorney General and Attorney General 1928-1934; H.R. Millard, Secretary, State Board of Sheep Commissioners 1912-1915; Leslie Miller, Governor 1933-1939; C.W. Hirsig, Vice President Citizens National Bank 1920s; Moses P. Keefe, Pioneer Contractor 1877-1929, Territorial Legislator 1886, County & City Commissioner and Mayor 1902-1903.
Although there is a variety of housing styles the district remains architecturally cohesive because of scale, uniform setbacks, the dominance of clapboarded houses and an abundance of landscaping. Regardless of house size, the residences are rich in exterior & interior architectural details because of the ready accessibility, via the railroad, of such elements from Midwestern and Eastern suppliers. Two churches within the district also demonstrate consideration of these same characteristics and blend into the character of the Neighborhood.
Gilchrist Park is a triangular plot of ground bounded on the west by Pioneer Avenue, on the south by 26th Street, and on the northeast by Randall Avenue, just west of the intersection of Carey and Randall Avenues.
Located in the park stands a memorial to Robert Burns. The statue itself, a bronze image of Burns, attired in the costume typical of his times, stands 6-1/2 feet high on a pedestal of Georgia gray granite 12-1/2 feet high. The statue was prepared by noted Scottish sculptor Henry S. Gamely. Mr. Gamely was known internationally for his studies of Burns and others done in both bronze and marble.
Funds for establishing the park and statue were donated by longtime Cheyenne resident, Mary Gilchrist. The park was donated and established in 1926 in memory of Mrs. Gil Christ's husband Andrew. Andrew Gilchrist was an early Cheyenne pioneer. Arriving in 1877, he made a fortune on the cattle industry and then established the Stockgrowers National Bank. Mr. Gilchrist later served in the territorial legislature and was very active in the community for many years.
Burns was a favorite of Mary Gilchrist and she had the statue constructed in "the park, "so that passers-by might pause and spend a quiet moment contemplating his gentle philosophies." The statue was dedicated in 1929 and is reputed to be the first of its character erected in Wyoming.
Just east of the park, on a tiny triangular plot, stands the Holliday Memorial. This shaft originally served as a light for the park area and plans are underway by the neighborhood to have it put back into use. The shaft was erected early in the 1920's by Mr. and Mrs. Cal Holliday in memory of their son. The Hollidays were prominent citizens involved in a variety of civic activities, the most outstanding of which was their donation of land and monies for the establishment of Holliday City Park. Mr. Holliday served as Park Commissioner for many years and later as mayor. The shaft stands approximately 15 feet high on a concrete base.
Both memorials were erected on small plots of ground resulting from the diagonal cutting of Randall Avenue. Both deserve inclusion within the district. Gilchrist Park has long been the only park in the neighborhood and is used by many residents of the area. The Holliday Memorial, though not used by the neighborhood in the same way as the park, serves as a gateway to the neighborhood and like Gilchrist Park contributes to the sense of time and place that is evident throughout the neighborhood.
† Jennings, Gottfried & Cheek with Sheila Bricher-Wade, Jennings, Gottfried, Cheek Preservationists, Capitol North Historic District, Laramie County, Wyoming, nomination document, 1980, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.