Tuesday, August 7, 2012

More of Cheyenne, WY

Francis E. Warren AFB was once the site of Fort D. A. Russell, established in 1867to secure the new railroad.  None of the original wood homes are still standing, but many of the later brick homes and buildings are still being used today.  Most of the homes we visited were built in the early 1900s.  The fort was later changed from an army cavalry fort to an air force missile base.  The base opens its gates to visitors for several days during Cheyenne Frontier Days.  Tours are given of both the old housing area, as well as the missile training center.
This has to be some of the best housing around for base officers.  The home is over 5000 square feet and is occupied by a Lt. Col. and his family.  The interesting feature about this home was the basement.  At one time it had a large entry from the front where the officer living at the home could house his horse.  Of course, the entry has been walled off and it is now just a basement.

A Lt. and his family occupied this 2600+ square foot home.  Pictures of the inside of the homes were not allowed, since they are being lived in.  All of the homes we viewed have most of the original woodwork and wood floors and some even had working fireplaces.  The kitchens and bathrooms had been updated to allow for current plumbing and appliances.  But you knew these homes were very extravagant for the time they were built.  They are actually still quite large homes for the average family.

This home was over 10,000 sq. ft, and was the base or missile commander.

Everywhere you went on base you saw antelope.  The base is the largest breeding grounds for deer and antelope in Wyoming.

The old base hospital, built in 1887, is now the base museum.

There was also a reenactment of Fort Russell going on.  Here they were making a simple bread by mixing flour, water and salt, and baking it on the hot rocks.

An interesting looking jeep.

As we were returning to our car we spotted this helicopter.  It seemed to be waiting for someone to board.  We never did see who got on, but it finally took off.
Francis E. Warren AFB is the only AFB which does not have a runway, nor does it have any airplanes assigned.  It is a missile base, responsible for over 150 ICBM missile sites in the surrounding area.  Although we did take the missile site tour, we didn't seem to get any pictures.  We got to tour the mobile maintenance trucks, which are used to service all of the sites.  We also got to visit the missile command training center, where the officers who monitor the missile sites are trained.  

One of the big attractions every year at Cheyenne Frontier Days is an airshow by the Thunderbirds.  As you can see, we had a great spot to watch from on top of the hill.

Sometimes it was hard to spot the planes, unless they were leaving their telltale plumes of smoke.

A friend and WIN member is involved with the local theater, so one evening there were about 20 of us who attended an old fashioned melodrama at the historic Atlas Theatre, downtown Cheyenne.

Before the show we were entertained by a some singers, not really a barbershop quartet, since there were more than four.

Like all melodramas you had the good guy, the villain, and the heroine.  

In between scenes they had an 'oleo'.  An oleo officially means 'a curtain drop', so when the curtain drops between scenes you are provided with entertainment.  This entertainment can be a musical review, a sing-a-long or a short skit.  Here we had the can can girls.

Here we had singers.

My friend, Mary Lou, playing the piano for the melodrama.  Melodrama's are fun.  You get to boo for the villain, and sigh with the heroine, and become part of the play.  If you have never experienced one before, I suggest you attend one.  

Our host suggested we drop by the Redwood Saloon and Grill for some good music.  No matter when we stopped in, the place was packed.  Music started daily at 2pm and went until at least midnight.  They had three different bands that played everyday.  The bar did not serve food, but outside in the parking lot you could get BBQ.

Our favorite of the three bands was 'The Chugwater Band'.  We stopped by the Redwood Lounge several times, so we could hear all three bands.

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