Story by Jillian Sellers
Photos by Cathryn Becker
The Bishop House, located at 818 East Second Street, is known as Casper’s First Mansion. Built in 1907 for Postmaster and businessman, Marvin Lord Bishop, Sr., the house was the first multi-story brick home built in Casper.
In 1892, Bishop was appointed by President Grover Cleveland to the position of Postmaster in Casper. In addition to his full-time duties as Postmaster, Bishop also owned and operated M.L. Bishop’s Fine Family Groceries. He was active in the establishment of the First Methodist Episcopal Church, now known as the First United Methodist Church of Casper. He and his wife Leona had ten children: seven girls and three boys. The entire family lived in the Bishop House on Second Street.
The house was built for $8,000 in 1907, with bricks shipped from Denver. It was modeled after Bishop’s childhood home in Virginia, and displays several architectural characteristics that were new to Wyoming at the time, such as the full front porch supported by Tuscan columns, a balcony above the front doorway and the widow’s walk — an open and iron-railed platform over the peaked roof.
A reception area warmly greets visitors and leads to a hallway and staircase. The parlor is adorned with its original carpeting. The living and dining rooms, kitchen, sunporch and pantry complete the first floor.
Upstairs finds a sewing room, bath and four bedrooms. Vintage clothing, antiques and furniture are displayed throughout the second floor, and help preserve the sense of the original Bishop home. The third story is the attic, which provides access to the widow’s walk.
The home is now owned by the Cadoma Foundation, a Wyoming nonprofit organization, of which Susan L. Bishop is president. Ms. Bishop is a third-generation descendant of the Bishop family and proudly works to maintain the integrity of the property in order to teach the value of our past through its preservation.
In a recent interview Ms. Bishop professed, “It is a privilege to be a steward of this house, and to accomplish the goals and ideas of the original owners; to keep the house a living symbol of the families who built a foundation to make Casper what it is today.”
The meticulous upkeep of the 109-year-old home is attributed to its family ownership. It has been continuously owned by the direct descendants of the Bishop family.
The Bishop House recently received a grant from the Natrona County Joint Powers Recreation Board and from private donors. The house will close during the months of February and March for repairs to the attic, including the plaster ceiling, cracks, and new interior paint.
The Bishop House is open to the public for tours, anniversary parties, and their special Bishop afternoon teas. A visit to the Bishop House is highly recommended, to experience both the history and ambiance of the time period captured there!
Schedule of Events 2016
February & March: Closed for repairs
May 7: Mother’s Day Tea – $27.50 per person ($10 is a tax deductible donation)
June through August: Casper Museum’s Passport Tours
October 29: Murder Mystery Tea
November 19: Holiday Tea
For reservations, call 235-5277 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.