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Disembodied voices and footsteps jangle through the hallways of the Wyoming Supreme Court building. Even after his death, former Judge Fred Blume could not part with his beloved profession. His dedication to the study of law and all its applications inspires those who now occupy his office. Old cigar smoke lingering in the air reminds these civil servants that he is not too far away.
The Wyoming Capitol building was approved for construction in 1886 in anticipation of the territory becoming a state. Over the years, it housed many faces and cases, but none were more famous than Judge Blume.
Wyoming entered statehood with a magnificent Supreme Court housed in the capitol. The current Supreme Court building was built in 1937. Visitors still flock to the Classically inspired building to hear all about Blume’s legacy.
Wyoming’s early population was a mixed bag of indigenous tribes and frontiersmen such as Jedediah Smith and Kit Carson. These fur trappers sent beaver pelts back east and onto other European countries. They were the first to roam the Wyoming wilderness and attracted more settlers to the region.
Between 1841 and 1868, Wyoming was regarded as a pass to other Western states. The population was sparse and unruly. However, this was the period that the legendary William “Buffalo Bill” F. Cody delivered mail via the Pony Express through the territory.
In 1868 Wyoming was officially recognized as a territory. The Union Pacific Railroad had made its way through the capital Cheyenne, bringing swarths of people with it. Talks of statehood had already begun and became a full movement in 1888.
By 1890 President Benjamin Harrison signed Wyoming statehood into legislature.
Wyoming’s Supreme Court played a vital role in the territory officially becoming a state. They were housed in the Capitol until an official Supreme Court building was built in 1937.
Wyoming is often referred to as the Equality State. From the second the territory legislature gathered, it granted women equal voting rights. The first government in the world to do so!
Wyoming also became one of the first states to elect a woman to a state office. Estelle Reel became Wyoming State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1894.
Thirty years later, Mrs. Nellier Taylor Ross became the first woman to be elected governor of a state. Mrs. Ross would go on to become the first woman to be the director of the United States Mint. She held that position from 1933 to 1954.
Friedrich Henrich Blume was born in Winzlar, Germany. By the age of 12, he had immigrated to the United States, all on his own! He lived with his older brother Wilhlem until the age of 17. His life from here on out was dedicated to law.
He became an office assistant for a German attorney in Iowa during this time and lived with the gentleman. In 1898 he graduated from the University of Iowa, becoming a lawyer the following year.
Between 1907 and 1909, Blue served one term in the Wyoming House of Representatives and two in the Wyoming State Senate. After 1912 he retired from politics and returned to his true passion, law. He accumulated a massive library of 2,300 books over this period.
1921 saw Blume appointed to the Wyoming Supreme Court for the first time, bringing him to Cheyenne. Blume became Chief Justice three times (1927, 1937, and 1945) and served a total of 42 years on the Supreme Court.
During these years, he painstakingly translated over 2,500 documents known as the Thoedosian Code. These Roman laws date back to 312 A.D and had no English translation at the time. He was one of many who worked hard to bring these ancient laws to the modern world.
Sadly he died in 1971, before his works could ever be published. Many believe this is why he is still hanging around his old office in the Supreme Court Building.
Judge Blume retired in 1963 but was still allowed to keep his old office. He spent hours here continuing his life’s work. As many newly appointed Supreme Court members have discovered, his spirit still lingers in the room.
The shelves that once held Blume’s massive book collection seem to come alive at night. Books fly off the shelves as if being picked out by Blume himself. The smell of old cigar smoke still lingers in his office. While the smell of tobacco is hard to get rid of, this smell seems to come and go when it pleases.
Footsteps are often heard inside the office, and disembodied voices cut clearly through the empty halls at night. The office lights turn on in coordination with these noises, leading those within the building to believe it is Blume still doing daily reading.
The ghost of Judge Fred Blume is not the only spirit lingering around Wyoming’s Capital. The spirits of the Wild West haunt countless buildings. To learn more, take a ghost tour with one of US Ghost Adventure’s experienced tour guides!
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