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The Online Encyclopedia of Wyoming History

Albany County courthouse

Albany County courthouse

Albany County's was the first courthouse in Wyoming Territory built specifically as a courthouse. Banker and philanthropist Edward Ivinson was the contractor and paid for it out his funds, as the county had no bonding authority. Begun 1871, the building was fully functional by 1872 when Ivinson got his money back after the legislative assembly passed an act allowing Albany County bonding authority. It was dedicated by lawyer Stephen Wheeler Downey, an early Territorial representative of Wyoming to the U.S. Congress and one of the founders of the University of Wyoming.

In August 1904, African-American Joe Martin was hanged by a mob from a light pole just across Grand Avenue from the courthouse, at the corner of Sixth Street an Grand.

The original building was torn down in 1931 and replaced by the present one on the same site, 525 E. Grand in Laramie. The lawn of the current courthouse was the scene of frequent protests related to the death of Matt Shepard and the court proceedings and eventual sentencing of his murderers in in 1998 and 1999.