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Guernsey State Park Museum

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Guernsey Museum
1935–1939, Roland G. Pray and E.S. Mosher. Museum Rd. off Lake Side Dr. (WY 317).

The major building in Lake Guernsey State Park is the Guernsey Museum, designed by architects Roland G. Pray and E. S. Mosher and completed in 1939. The low, horizontal, one-story, L-shaped building is perched on a cliff overlooking the lake. The battered walls are built of massive buff and white sandstone blocks, laid in random courses. The main elevation faces west and features a great arched portal framed by stone voussoirs, appearing from the distance almost like an opening in the hillside behind the building. The gable roof is constructed of large timbers and sheathed with split shakes. Centered on the view to Laramie Peak thirty miles to the west, the museum functioned as an overlook shelter as well as a museum.

The interior features exposed wood beams, flagstone floors, and fixtures such as oversized wrought-iron light sconces and door handles that were designed by Pray and crafted in the CCC camp. By 1939, the exhibition space was filled with display cases, models, artifacts, and interpretive panels designed by a team of Park Service exhibit designers. The exhibits focused on regional history, geology, and agricultural development. These displays still exist and represent an invaluable legacy in themselves.

The Guernsey Museum was such a classic Rustic park structure that it was included in Albert Good’s 1938 Park and Recreation Structures (along with Madison and Fishing Bridge museums in Yellowstone Park), even though the building was still under construction at the time of publication. Good noted that the Lake Guernsey Museum adhered to “many of the principles proclaimed for a widely appropriate park architecture–low structure, predominantly horizontal lines and coursing of masonry, and the featuring of few openings by the contrasts of plain, sweeping surfaces.”

References

Begley, Susan, and Ethan Carr, “Lake Guernsey State Park,” Platte County, Wyoming. National Historic Landmark Nomination, 1997. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Junge, Mark, “Guernsey Lake Park,” Platte County, Wyoming. National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form, 1980. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Mary M. Humstone
Coordinator: 
Mary M. Humstone
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Data

Timeline

  • 1935

    Guernsey Museum built

What's Nearby

Citation

Mary M. Humstone, "Guernsey State Park Museum", [Guernsey, Wyoming], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/WY-01-031-0051-01.

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