Big Laramie Stage Station

Along the Overland Trail

Big Laramie Stage Station
The Big Laramie Stage Station

Copyright ©2000 Elizabeth Larson

The Big Laramie Home Station was located on the west side of the Laramie River. When this site was being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places, a great deal of research uncovered that it was not on both sides of the river, as previously thought. It is about eight miles upstream from the city of Laramie. An existing ranch house on the west side of the river, built in the spring of 1862, was originally built as an "L"-shaped building, with stables and storage space on one end, and living quarters for the station employees on the other. There was a dog trot between two of the three rooms on the long leg of the "L," and the lean-to stable was attached to the short leg of the "L." This "L"-shaped building, the one named on the National Register of Historic Places, is the headquarters for the Richardson's Overland Trail Ranch, owned by Margery Richardson.

On the east side of the Laramie River, there was a barn and two log outbuildings which were connected by a breezeway. These buildings were the site of the headquarters for the Hart Ranch, and included a bunk house, blacksmith shop, and other buildings. These were built around 1866.

A welcome sight at the Big Laramie Station out on the open plains was a privy. Also unusual was a fresh water spring located under the floor of the blacksmith shop, a large log building. These building still exist.

Crossing the Laramie River was relatively easy at this point. The river bottom is covered with gravel, and the banks are low. Old timers have said that with rather wet and marshy spots on both sides of the river, a "corduroy" road was built of logs stacked and layered side by side. This corduroy road is still in existence, although the poles are no longer visible. At one time there was a toll bridge that crossed the river at the site of the road.

Much of the above information was provided by Margery Richardson, owner of the Richardson's Overland Trail Ranch

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