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NR By County Test (2)

Rock Springs

 

Brian Beadles
Historic Preservation Specialist
(307) 777-8594

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  • Downtown Rock Springs Historic District

     

     
     

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    The Downtown Rock Springs Historic District is comprised of portions of eight blocks of the central business district in the original townsite plat of Rock Springs, Wyoming. The District contains forty-five buildings, twenty-seven of which are considered to be contributing elements to the District. Buildings include structures built for commercial, financial, governmental, social, recreational, and transportational purposes. The Historic District is unique in that it was bisected into north and south sectors by the Union Pacific Railroad mainline and sidings. Most of the buildings in the District are located along North Front and South Main Streets and face the railroad tracks. The Union Pacific Depot and Warehouse are located on the south side of the railroad tracks. During the late nineteenth century, the railroad tracks presented a very real safety hazard and served to impede ready access to the north and south portions of the commercial district. However, by the turn of the twentieth century, a pedestrian bridge was constructed over the tracks by the Union Pacific Railroad to allow safer and easier passage between the north and south portions of the commercial district. Later in the twentieth century, a vehicle underpass and overpass and a pedestrian underpass were constructed to allow easy flow of foot and vehicle traffic between the two sectors. The presence of the railroad tracks is perhaps the chief factor in the growth and development of the city of Rock Springs.

    Overall the District contains a wide variety of architectural forms, dimensions, and materials representing the different dominant building periods and architectural preferences in the history of the growth of the city from the 1870s through the 1940s. The architectural forms include frame falsefronts, Late Victorian Italianate, Romanesque Revival, and Neo-Classical Revival buildings, and many simple brickfront commercial buildings without strong stylistic origins. The facades of many of these buildings were modified in the 1920s, the 1930s, and the early 1940s to reflect the Art Deco Movement, but the second stories often retain their original ornate cornices and other Late Victorian Italianate detailing. The Downtown Rock Springs Historic District is significant as the original commercial heart of a major southwestern Wyoming city and for its representation of several different architectural styles and influences.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Wednesday, January 19, 1994
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW17029/17382 

     

  • First National Bank Building

     

     
     

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    The First National Bank Building, constructed in 1919, is situated on South Front Street in Rock Springs. The architects, Walter J. Cooper of Salt Lake City and D. D. Spanni of Rock Springs, chose terra cotta to face the building and for architectural ornamentation. This building represents one of the most elaborate use of terra cotta in southwestern Wyoming. The First National Bank Building is significant because it housed the first bank in Rock Springs to open under a state charter. Augustine Kendell arrived in Rock Springs on August 1, 1887, with the intention of establishing a financial institution. The Sweetwater County Bank was opened in a converted butcher shop with Mr. Kendell assuming all bank responsibilities. Within a year business had progressed enough to warrant the conversion of the bank into a National bank under the name of First National Bank of Rock Springs. As the First National Bank grew it became the city's largest banking institution.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, March 13, 1980
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW6385  

     

  • Gras House

     

     
     

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    The Boucvalt-Gras House is a distinctive one story residential bungalow structure, built in the California Bungalow tradition. Completed in 1914, the house is of frame construction with clapboard cladding and a low hipped roof. The house embodies the distinctive characteristics of early twentieth century bungalow construction as adapted to Rock Springs at the time it was an important coal mining center tied to the Union Pacific Railroad and its fortunes. The Boucvalt-Gras House is probably the oldest of the bungalow style houses in Rock Springs.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, March 13, 1986
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW6483  

     

  • Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church

     

     
     

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    Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, also known as the South Side Catholic Church, was constructed in 1932 and designed by the Boston architectural firm of Maginnis & Walsh. The Union Pacific Coal Company loaned the services of their architect, James Libby, as supervising architect and engineer. The church is built of buff-colored combed brick with a red and brown clay tile roof. It is significant for the importance it has had among Western European immigrants and the community of Rock Springs as a whole. Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church became identified with immigrants from Ireland and other west European Catholics. It was a touchstone for this community and represented a distinct difference in the two strains of Catholicism which coincided in Rock Springs, the other being the east European settlers who formed a rival parish on the north side of town. One notable piece of Our Lady of Sorrows' history occurred in November of 1940. At the 8:30 a.m. Mass on November 3rd, a very famous family attended Mass with the parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Von Trapp family from Austria honored the congregation by singing the Mass. They were passing through Rock Springs on their way to Denver where they were scheduled to appear in concert. The family's history was later made known to the world in the movie ''The Sound of Music.''

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, November 06, 1997
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW11564  

     

  • Rock Springs City Hall

     

     
     

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    The Rock Springs City Hall is significant because of its architectural importance to the heritage of Rock Springs and its association with the governmental functions of the town. While Rock Springs gained its present size and stature as a railroad and mining center, it had its beginnings as an Overland Stage outpost in 1861. A stage station was built near the springs that was to give the town its name. In 1866 Archibald and Duncan Blair established a trading post opposite the station. In 1868 the first coal mine was opened under the auspices of the Blair Brothers. 1869 also marked the year that the Union Pacific Railroad was built through Rock Springs and the town quickly became the central terminal for stock herds being shipped to market from Rocky Mountain cattle raising country. In 1888 Rock Springs was incorporated as a town. It was at this time that the town began to think about its needs for a structure to house its various governmental functions. In 1893 the citizens voted to fund the building of a city hall. Construction began in 1894 and by 1895 the governmental functions of the town were operating out of their new City Hall. The building is also significant because it is one of the last remaining examples of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture left in southwestern Wyoming.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, May 15, 1980
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW4199  

     

  • Rock Springs Elks' Lodge #624

     

     
     

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    Elks' Lodge #624 is located at the southeast corner of C and Second Streets near the central business district of Rock Springs. Many of the city's noteworthy governmental and commercial buildings are located on the south side of the city's commercial core near the lodge. Completed in 1924, the Elks' Lodge is one of the city's most significant architect-designed buildings. D. D. Spani, an architect who moved to Rock Springs from St. Louis in 1911, designed some of the city's architectural landmarks, including the Security State Bank Building, the former North Side State Bank, the former Rock Springs High School, and Roosevelt and Yellowstone Schools. Spani chose an Italian Renaissance style for the lodge to illustrate the important role the Elks, as a fraternal organization, played in the community. The building is a substantial three-story brick building with neoclassical features expressed in terra cotta ornamentation. There is no other building similar to this Elks' Lodge in Wyoming.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Friday, December 10, 1993
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW7692  

     

  • Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church and Rectory

     

     
     

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    The Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius acted as a unifying force for the many Slavic immigrants who began entering the community of Rock Springs in the early part of the 20th century looking for jobs in the Union Pacific coal mines. These recent immigrants wanted a parish in which their unique cultures and customs would be accepted and adopted into parish life. In 1910 the bishop gave permission for a new parish to be created. However it wasn’t until 1925, with the completion of the church, that immigrants of Slavic descent were able to realize their dream of a church all their own. The church building was designed by local architect Daniel D. Spani.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Tuesday, December 22, 2015
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW7255  

     

  • Slovenski Dom

     

     
     

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    The Slovenski Dom, or the Slovenian National Home, was built in 1913 to serve as a public hall and meeting place for several Slovenian-American fraternal lodges in Rock Springs. For more than 80 years, the Dom has served as the social and cultural heart of Rock Springs' Slovenian community, one of the largest ethnic groups in this town that was built on the labor of immigrant coal miners. The Slovenski Dom is also a symbol of the ethnic diversity that is the hallmark of Rock Spring's civic identity. The Slovenian immigrants, along with other ethnic groups, including the Finns, Croatians, and Tyroleans, formed local chapters of national fraternal lodges or benevolent societies. In 1912, representatives of the Slovenian lodges in Rock Springs met to form a corporation, Slovenski Dom, Inc., for the purpose of constructing a building for lodge meetings and other public events. The establishment of such buildings, known as ''Slovenian National Homes,'' which accommodated the activities of the lodges and helped maintain a sense of cultural identity, was widespread in Slovenian communities throughout the United States. Rock Springs' Slovenski Dom, in fact, was one of the earliest such buildings. A unique feature of the organization's by-laws is the stipulation that the Dom was always to be known by its Slovenian name -- Slovenski Dom -- rather than the English translation of Slovenian National Home. Although there were other Slovenski Doms in the Rocky Mountain region, this is the only one in Wyoming. What makes it of particular historic value is that it is still owned by the original organization and remains pretty much in its original condition.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Tuesday, December 30, 1997
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW7257  

     

  • Taliaferro House

     

     
     

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    The Taliaferro House is significant as one of the premier examples of an American Foursquare in Wyoming. The house was built in the period 1907-1912 by an Italian stonemason with sandstone quarried south of Rock Springs. The house is part of the small elite residential neighborhood of early 20th century Rock Springs that occupied an area south of the east/west railroad tracks which bisected the town. Its size and conspicuous location are symbols of the status and achievements of the first generation of influential businessmen/ranchers who rose to regional and statewide prominence in the Union Pacific railroad and coal town of Rock Springs. The house is an excellent example of a style of domestic architecture that evolved in post-Victorian America.

    Augustine Kendall had the Taliaferro House built. He was president of the Sweetwater County Bank, Vice-President and Treasurer of the Rock Springs Lumber Company, and was involved in the Stock Growers Mercantile and sheep and cattle ranching in Sweetwater County. He also served as Mayor of Rock Springs 1904-1907, and was one of the original founders of the Rock Springs Grazing Association. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Seddon Taliaferro, Jr. purchased the home in 1914. After arriving in Wyoming in 1883, Mr. Taliaferro became Union Pacific agent for Green River, a job he held until he began his law practice in 1900 and moved to Rock Springs. In addition to a busy law practice, Taliaferro also organized and became president or managing director of three banks: the First National Bank of Green River, the First State Bank of Green River, and the First Bank of Superior, Wyoming. He was president of the Green River Mercantile Company, a profitable business that outfitted many of the numerous sheep and cattle ranches in the region including those he owned, the Green River Livestock Company and the Big Sandy Livestock Company. Taliaferro, along with Augustine Kendall, helped found the Rock Springs Grazing Association and became the chief legal counsel for the organization. Taliaferro served a term as the second mayor of Green River 1893-1896. The house has remained in the Taliaferro family since 1914.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, July 23, 1998
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW3994  

     

  • Wardell Court Historic Residential District

     

     
     

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    The Wardell Court Residential Historic District comprises one block within the Wardell Addition plat of Rock Springs. The District contains twenty buildings, fourteen of which are considered to be contributing elements of the District. Buildings consist of single and multiple residential structures. The District is significant for its association with the development of the coal industry in Rock Springs in the early twentieth century, and the community's role in the development of planned residential neighborhoods and towns by the Union Pacific Coal Company. The Wardell Court residential neighborhood was designed and built by the Union Pacific Coal Company between 1920 and 1921 to house the company's high ranking officials. As such, Wardell Court was the culmination of a process of designing planned communities that was begun by the Union Pacific Coal Company in Rock Springs in 1874. While the Company designed residential neighborhoods and company towns for its workers and lower to middle level managers between 1874 and 1940, Wardell Court is unique in that it was designed to house the upper level managers including the coal company Vice President and General Manager, the General Superintendent, and department managers and mine foremen. Wardell Court's design consists of houses located around the perimeter of the block facing inward towards a central court. Wardell Court is dominated by Number 1 Wardell Court, a large two story bungalow which originally housed the coal company Vice President; and Number 7 Wardell Court which is a three story multiple residence for unmarried company clerks (who by the 1920s were predominately female). Most houses are five or six room craftsman style bungalows built to standard plans. All buildings within the court are built of hollow ceramic tiles covered with stucco. By the late 1930s the coal company began to sell the houses to their tenants. By the late 1940s all of the Wardell Court houses had been sold. Gradually the coal company officials either died or moved away and the houses came into the possession of owners not associated with the Union Pacific Coal Company. The well conceived Wardell Court Addition continues to serve as an elite residential area.

     
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    Date Added to Register:
    Thursday, January 30, 1997
     
    Location:
    Rock Springs
     
    County:
    Sweetwater County
     
    Smithsonian Number: 
    48SW11346  

     

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