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Historical Features

About - Ames Monument Historic Site

Description:

The Ames Monument is located about 20 miles (32 km) east of Laramie, Wyoming, south of Interstate 80 at the Vedauwoo exit. The monument is a four-sided, random ashlar pyramid, 60 feet (18 m) square at the base and 60 feet (18 m) high, constructed of light-colored native granite. The pyramid features an interior passage, now sealed, alongside the perimeter of the structure's base.

Noted American architect H. H. Richardson designed the pyramid, which includes two 9 feet (2.7 m) tall bas-relief portraits of the Ames brothers by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens on the east and west sides of the pyramid's top. Saint-Gaudens chiseled the bas-reliefs from Quincy, Massachusetts, granite. The north side, which at one time faced the railroad tracks, displays one-foot-high letters grouted in the granite noting: "In Memory of Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames". The monument is one of a half-dozen or more projects that Richardson did for the Ames family.


History:

The Ames Monument is a large pyramid in Albany County, Wyoming, designed by Henry Hobson Richardson and dedicated to brothers Oakes Ames and Oliver Ames, Jr., Union Pacific Railroad financiers. The brothers garnered credit for connecting the nation by rail upon completion of the United States' First Transcontinental Railroad in 1869. Oakes, a U.S. representative to the United States Congress from Massachusetts, asserted near total control of its construction, whereas Oliver became president of the Union Pacific Railroad (1866 - 1871). In 1873 investigators implicated Oakes in fraud associated with financing of the railroad. Congress subsequently censured Oakes, who resigned in 1873. He died soon thereafter.

The Ames Monument marked the highest point on the transcontinental railroad at 8,247 feet (2,514 m) However, Union Pacific Railroad Company twice relocated the tracks further south, causing the town of Sherman that arose near the monument to become a ghost town.


Hours:

Union Pacific donated the railroad monument to the state of Wyoming in 1983.[2] The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is maintained as a Wyoming state historic site. Time and possible vandalism have destroyed some of the features of the bas-relief portraits of the Ames brothers on the monument. The Ames Monument is open year round, weather permitting.

 
 
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Site Status

 

 We are open! Please view our hours below to find a good time to visit!

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Hours

 

Park grounds open 24 hours.

Season
Site grounds open year round, weather permitting.

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