May is Historic Preservation Month and I cannot let this month slip past without bragging about our building. The 219 building (which currently houses Magpie) is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Gillette. It was built in 1898 and served as the City Hall until the 1930's. When it was first constructed it was built out of wood, that wood remains in the walls today, built over but not forgotten.
As the city grew the need for a more permanent jail also grew. The city commissioned a contractor to construct the County Jail behind the City Hall in 1911. It cost the city $900. While the jail behind the store is not the very first one in the county, it is the oldest still standing. In the summer you can take tours of the jail and enjoy our quiet patio.
After the city outgrew this space and moved up the street, the building began its transformation into a retail space, hosting various businesses since the 1940s. This building has also been the home of The Boot and Saddle Shop, Cates Café, Carolyn’s, Tot to Teen, Wyoming Art and Frame, and Country Elegance.
My mom opened Country Elegance in 1998 and Magpie moved into the space in 2015. This building, while historic to the city, is also historic to me. It is the building I grew up in, the building that gave me my first job, and the building that continues to support me 22 years later.
Happy Historic Preservation Month, 219! We love your quirks like the ghost in the attic, the sloped and uneven floors, and the plaster and lathe that makes it impossible to hang heavy things on your walls. May you continue to hold historic importance for centuries to come.
*photos from Campbell County Rockpile Museum Archives
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