May is Historic Preservation Month, and the City of Cheyenne kicked it off by loading three 19th century homes onto trailers and moving them to a new neighborhood.
The houses were originally located near the Historic Governor’s mansion. When the owner proposed demolishing them, the neighborhood fought to protect them. A local family bought the homes and transported them off of the original property. While that irritated some people who had called for protecting the buildings in their original location, Cheyenne planner Stephanie Lowe said there weren’t many options since the landowner wasn’t interested in restoration.
Lowe said she wanted to see the houses last, because they represent an important part of the city’s history.
“The people that lived in these houses worked at the railroad, they worked in the city and state government, they worked in the hospital nearby," Lowe said. "They really were the blue collar workers that helped build Cheyenne, and that’s why I believe they’re so special.”
Lowe said it’s time for Cheyenne to recognize its history as a cosmopolitan Western town. She hopes that by paying more attention to the past, the city can redefine its identity.
“We’re more than just a rodeo that happens every summer," Lowe said. "We have a very rich history, and I think that can take us places into the future if we can understand that and appreciate it better. Instead of trying to demolish the old buildings, we need to help tell that story of where we came from.”
Lowe added that moving and restoring old buildings is practical because it keeps valuable materials out of the city’s landfill.