The 800 block of Durbin Street, circa 1910s. (Frances Seely Webb Collection, Casper College Western History Center)

Locating two houses featured in a 110-year-old photo isn’t always so easy, particularly if the houses in question have been modified over the decades.

The vintage photo from the Casper College Western History Center’s archive shows the new Casper neighborhood with unpaved streets and two distinctively different houses. One is brick with white sandstone details, and the other a smile Shaker-style wood box. The only clue is “Durbin Street” written on the photo.

Finding the brick house in particular seemed easy, but it turned out to be more elusive. After passing a number of times, historic details on the 800 block of Durbin did start to reveal themselves.

The detail in the pitch in front is one clue, but more telling details are on the trim and porch. Decorative sandstone was used to build the porch, which is now enclosed and painted white. Those details are visible, as are the corner trim blocks on the house. A cinderblock addition was added years ago, changing the overall shape of the house and hiding much of its original brick work.

Its neighboring wood house retains the same basic shape and windows, but it too has undergone some radical remodels over the years. At least two of the original leaded front windows on the first floor seem to have survived.

Sidewalks, trees, fences and landscaping have all radically changed over the years. Generations of families and owners have left their own marks on the houses, but when you look closely you can still see their souls.


The 800 block of Durbin Street on July 18, 2017. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)


Detail of the trim of a house on the 800 block of Durbin Street in central Casper. The house appeared in a vintage photo with natural unpainted brick and light stone accent pieces. It is now painted entirely white, and has been modified over the years with additions and other changes. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)


Original features comparable to the vintage photos of the now enclosed porch are still visible. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)


The 800 block of Durbin Street, circa 1910s. (Frances Seely Webb Collection, Casper College Western History Center)


A view from the opposite side from the perspective of the vintage 1910s-era photo. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)