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Congress passes bill honoring women’s rights pioneer Louisa Swain in naming of federal building in Wyoming

Left: Photo of Louisa Swain (Printed in "The Woman Citizen" by Alice Stone Blackwell, Public Domain image) Right: Federal building in Cheyenne. (Screenshot via Google Street View)

CASPER, Wyo. — A bill to name a federal office building in Cheyenne after women’s rights pioneer Louisa Swain has passed in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, Wyoming U.S. Sen. Cynthia Lummis’s office said in a press release Wednesday.

Swain was the first woman in the United States to vote in a general election. That vote occurred on Sept. 7, 1870, after Wyoming became the first territory or state to grant women equal voting rights in 1869.

The federal office building located at 308 W. 21st St. will be named the “Louisa Swain Federal Office Building” if President Joe Biden signs the bill into law.

The bill to name the building after Swain was sponsored by Lummis, with cosponsors including Wyoming U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, Maryland U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen and Maryland U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin. Swain made her home in Maryland after leaving Wyoming and is buried in Baltimore, according to Lummis’s office.

“As the first woman to serve Wyoming in the U.S. Senate, I am honored that my first bill to pass both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives is one that commemorates a true pioneer from my home state of Wyoming,” Lummis said in the press release Wednesday. “I cannot think of a better name for a federal building in the first state to recognize this right and enshrine full suffrage for women in law. It has been an honor working with colleagues in Wyoming and Maryland on this bill to honor a pioneer so important to both of our states.” 

Swain was a resident of Laramie when she cast the historic vote in 1870. She was 70 years old at the time of the vote.