Talk of statehood began soon after the Organic Act was signed by President Andrew Johnson, making Wyoming a territory in 1868. Though a petition for admission into the Union would not be made by the Territorial Assembly and sent to Congress for another 20 years, the territory used that time to develop Wyoming politically and economically in order to ensure her growth into statehood. The petition for admission into the Union resulted in bills being introduced into both houses of Congress. However, Congress failed to pass an enabling act for Wyoming. This did not deter the leaders of the territory, including Governor Francis E. Warren, as they decided to proceed anyway. A vote of the territory resulted in 55 delegates to Wyoming's Constitutional Convention, of which 49 of them took part in drafting the constitution during September, 1889. The voters approved the document in a vote on November 5th and in December both houses of Congress had bills introduced for Wyoming's statehood. On July 10, 1890, President Benjamin Harrison signed the bill which created the new state of Wyoming, the 44th state in the United States of America. The formal celebration of Wyoming's statehood occurred July 23, 1890. The day's celebration was recounted in a couple of Wyoming's newspapers of the time, the July 24, 1890 Cheyenne Daily Sun and the July 27, 1890 Wyoming Commonwealth. The Cheyenne Daily Sun had a headline of "A GREAT DAY."
As we celebrate this 125th Anniversary of Wyoming's statehood, this online exhibit takes us back to that great day to explore the event through those newspapers, encountering the distinguished people that were there, the speeches and poem that were presented, and the important documents. A great day indeed.
A special thanks to the volunteers who helped record audio and recruit volunteers: Judy Englehart, Robin Everett, Brian Greene, Carey Hartmann, Court Schilt, Rachael Svoboda, and Chris Van Burgh.