The 1907 photograph to the left shows, from left to right, the boiler plant (foreground), broom factory, outhouse, blacksmith and candle shop, and kitchen extension.
Before shops were built inside the stockade, inmates worked outside cutting stone, making bricks, gathering ice from the river, and farming (mostly potatoes).
In 1892, Lessee James Marsh proposed constructing a workshop on the grounds for the betterment of the convicts. He argued, "The health of the convicts demands that some arrangement be made for their employment, particularly during the winter season... steady and moderate employment is absolutely essential to good health of the inmates of the Pen. It is therefore, humane to furnish them a place and a means of occupation." Letter to the Board of Charities & Reform, Sept. 14, 1892
In 1893, Warden N.D. McDonald "requested permission to expend $40 for materials to complete the blacksmith shop and candle factory." As reflected in the December Minutes of the Board of Charities and Reform, the motion was "duly carried."
On June 24, 1878, the Laramie Sentinel reported, "Fonce Raines, the Black Hills Stage robber, now in the penitentiary here for 17 years, made a break to get away this afternoon. He went to the water closet and when he came out, slipped around so as to get out of sight of
the Sentry Box, and started off on a run. The guard fired at and shot him through the thigh, bringing him to the ground. The injury is severe, but probably not dangerous, a flesh wound. If he had been killed, nobody in this region would have gone into mourining (sic) for him. Warden House has a lot of guards there whom it is not worth while to fool with."
On May 19, 1896 the Laramie Boomerang reported another escapee, William Dougherty "secured a small drill which he made in the prison blacksmith shop. It was chilled steel." He used it to drill holes through the bars of his cell and escape. He was never recaptured.