Rep. Liz Cheney hugs Toni Thomson, daughter-in-law of the late Thyra Thomson, during the grand opening of the new Thyra Thomson State Building on Wednesday, April 13, 2022, in Casper. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City News)
CASPER, Wyo. — Rep. Liz Cheney, Sen. John Barrasso and Gov. Mark Gordon were among numerous dignitaries on hand to celebrate the official grand opening of the new Thyra Thomson State Building in Casper on Wednesday morning.
Several relatives and descendants of former Wyoming Secretary of State Thyra Thomson were also on hand to celebrate the first state building in Wyoming to be named after a woman. Thomson was Wyoming’s first Secretary of State, serving from 1963 to 1987. She died in 2013 at age 96.
“I know she’d be very proud of this building for Wyoming’s great workforce and its future,” said Thyra’s granddaughter Laura Lewis, who lives in Cheyenne. “I think she’d be particularly proud that it looks out at another grand institution, Natrona County High School.”
“Grandma was an optimist,” Lewis said. “She had great confidence and enthusiasm in younger generations.”
During his comments, Sen. John Barrasso described Thyra as a “passionate fighter for equality for women.”
During her speech, Rep. Liz Cheney said “Thyra embodied everything we stand for in Wyoming. She embodied grit and determination. She embodied a love of this state, and the love of our country.”
“For those of us here today, having the chance to honor such a wonderful public servant as Thyra and the whole family, it shows you the difference one person can make, the difference she made and the difference that all of us can make.”
The new building sits on what was originally a railyard during Casper’s earliest days as a booming oil town. Before construction began in 2017, a smattering of small businesses and warehouses were purchased and razed in the area. The building will consolidate some nine state agencies that were based in a 1960s-era building on Midwest and Center, and other buildings around the city. The building on Midwest was deemed too costly to remodel and bring up to code.
More than 300 office workers were moved into the building over the last six weeks.
“So with the consolidation, it is really improving access for all the constituents in Natrona County, and for Wyoming,” said Wyoming Rep. Tom Walters.
Oil City News was given a tour of the new building shortly before workers started moving in. Those photos follow: