On January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, ending slavery in the United States. Over two years later, on June 19, 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas with word that the enslaved people in the US were free and the Civil War was over. The marking of that day in 1865 has grown into a time to memorialize the struggle of formally enslaved people.

...[A]ll persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free. -Emancipation Proclamation

 

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. - JUNETEENTH.com

WHAT IS JUNETEENTH?

In the years after Emancipation, stories about celebrations on that day in June spread, As former slaves moved around the country, seeking lost family and opportunities, stories about celebrations on that day in Texas went with them. As time went on, those stories and celebrations evolved into Juneteenth.

The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. JUNETEENTH.com

The popularity of the holiday was little known outside of African-American communities for the first half of the 20th Century. The holiday's profile was raised during the 1960s Civil Rights fight. In 1980 Texas made Juneteenth a state holiday. Since then, marking June 19 as an American day of celebration and remembrance has spread across the country.

Is Juneteenth a Holiday in Wyoming?

There are also efforts to make it a national holiday. Forty-six states (and the District of Columbia) recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday. South Dakota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Montana, and Hawaii are the states that don't. Wyoming has recognized Juneteenth since 2003.

Get our free mobile app

LOOK: Pictures of Downtown Cheyenne Then and Now

CLASSIC CHEYENNE: The Cole Shopping Center

In December of 2020, Blue Federal Credit Union completed its new headquarters at the corner of Converse and Pershing in Cheyenne. Well, it’s not so much a ‘corner’ as it is the smooth edge of a roundabout, but anyway. Before Blue FCU built its new campus, the site was at one time a premier shopping destination for Cheyenne. From the 1950s through 2016 it was Cheyenne's Cole Shopping Center.

Local businessman Frank Cole bought the land that would become a Cheyenne gathering place in the 1950s when the corner of Converse and Pershing was the edge of town. Starting in 1952, three different Safeway grocery stores called the Cole home over its half-century of existence.  A plethora of other stores served the neighborhood too. From the movie theater to Blockbuster; there was the Cole Department Store, the fabric store, the East Branch of the Carnegie Library, and so much more.

As Cheyenne grew and changed, the Shopping Center fell into decline. Stores closed and new ones didn't take their places. The anchor of the area, Safeway, closed for good in 2016 with much of the rest following. In 2018 the buildings were demolished and the new construction began. 

The Cole was so integral to the neighborhood that when we asked on social media for folks’ memories we were flooded with hundreds of responses. 

Check out many of those memories below, along with several pictures of the Cole Shopping Center, mostly from near the end in the twenty-teens.


Cheapest Places to Live in Wyoming

Do you like money? Do you like not like spending it? Well then my friend, I have an internet list for you. Or friends at Homesnacks crunched a bunch of numbers to find the cheapest places in Wyoming to live.

The Homesnacks folks looked at US Census data and the cost of living for the area. "We were especially interested in home and rental prices in places with more than 1,000 residents," they say.

If you like small town living in the natural beauty of the wilds of Wyoming, you'll find plenty of ideas on this list.