Friday, March 23, 2018

Back in Time - Prexy's Pasture

Prexy's Pasture (facing west)
University of Wyoming campus
Laramie, WY
March 16, 2018
Kyle Spradley Photography ~ Facebook image
Seeing this photo of Prexy's Pasture brought back memories of my two and half years at the University of Wyoming.

I can't begin to count the number of times I trudged across Prexy's Pasture on my way to classes at UW in the early 70s. The wind was often howling and drifting snow across the open space in the winter. Cold nights in the spring would turn the sidewalks into treacherous ice corridors. One early morning, I fell so many times, that I finally took off my shoes and walked in my socks to get to class on time. The pine trees have grown a lot since the early 70s and probably buffer some of the brutal wind and reduce how much the snow can drift in the area. In the summer, the campus is gorgeous with green spaces and blooming flowers.

The UW campus has expanded so much that it is clearly more than double what it was in the 70s. The only part that hasn't changed much is the area around Prexy's Pasture - the site near the original UW campus.

According to Wikipedia, Prexy's Pasture is a large grassy area located within a ring of classroom and administrative buildings and serves as the center mall of the campus. The name is attributed to an obscure rule that the university president, or "prexy", is given exclusive use of the area for livestock grazing. During the administration of Arthur G. Crane the name, "Prexy's Pasture", was formally declared. Prexy's, as it is often called today, is also known for the unique pattern formed by concrete pathways that students and faculty use to cross the pasture.

When the University of Wyoming first opened its doors in 1887, Prexy's Pasture was nothing more than an actual pasture covered in native grasses. The football team played their games on the pasture until 1922, when Corbett Field opened at the southeast corner of campus. Over time, as the needs of the university has changed, the area has been altered and redesigned. The original design was established in 1924 and in 1949 the area was landscaped with Blue Spruce and Mugo Pine. In February 1965, the Board of Trustees decided to construct the new science center on the west side of Prexy's Pasture. The board president, Harold F. Newton, who was concerned about the location, leaked the decision to the local press. The uproar that followed caused the board to decide on a new location for the science center and resulted in a new state statute making it necessary for any new structure built on the pasture to receive legislative approval.

source
Prexy's Pasture (facing east)
University of Wyoming campus
Laramie, WY


14 comments:

  1. That looks like a lovely place, but I imagine when the trees were younger that it was brutal in the winter. Interesting story about the name. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Wow that would have been brutal in the winter.

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  3. Oh, What memories! I was there in the late 70's. Everyone walked everywhere. A few rode bicycles. I wonder if that is the same today?

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  4. You obviously have some wonderful memories of that campus, as I do of South Dakota State University in the 70s. Our campus had 2 big "green" spaces when I was a student. Only 1 of those still exists today as the campus has expanded.

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  5. Well that was a very interesting story to read. I can only imagine the prairie winds blowing across there before the trees grew up a bit. Interesting history of the name too. Thanks for sharing it all with us today. I love reading things like this.
    Blessings, Betsy

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  6. The laws to preserve it from further structures is a great one! WE were in laramie once, on the outskirts, by Kirt Gowdy State park. Windy Hill GUest house. It was the most amazing cabin we rented. We watched a storm approach for what seemed like hours. IT was a beautiful night!!! One of the best of that trip.

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  7. Love this! I worked in UW's Old Main for 7 years, 1981-1988 before moving to the south. Still some of my fondest career memories.

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  8. It's nice that they kept some open space.

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  9. Love the snowy trees! I remember my hair freezing on the way to class after swimming (required PE back then); no time for hair dryers because the time to get to class was very short.

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  10. That photo almost doesn't look real. It's like a painting of a fairyland. It must be a beautiful place to see in person.

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  11. I like the open space though I can understand how the area can be brutal for the winter!

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  12. What a beautiful campus!
    Reading your post reminded of me trudging through wind and snow on the UW-Madison campus in the late 1970s. The campus is on an isthmus between two lakes, so that wind was bitter!

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