July 21-30, 2023
Cheyenne Frontier Days announced that the renovated Barn 15 will be re-named in honor of longtime volunteer Marietta Dinneen.
The Cheyenne Frontier Days Foundation launched a campaign in July that includes the renovation of Barn 15 on Frontier Park to better house and protect the antique carriage collection. This renovation is part of the 365 to 125 campaign which supports the 125th anniversary celebration.
Marietta Dinneen moved to Cheyenne in 1951 with her husband, the late William J. Dinneen, Jr. after earning a degree in home economics from the University of Wyoming.
She was teaching home economics classes at Carey Junior High when she was invited to join the W-Heels organization in 1966. This group of women volunteers stages the historic vehicle portion of the downtown parades.
During her time in the W-Heels she noticed that many of the carriages in the collection were worn an in need of restoration. As part of the Carriage Coordinating Committee, Dinneen and her fellow volunteers knew where some of the carriages had come from and through interviews and research, they began documenting the history of the carriages.
This led to the creation of a group of volunteers called the Wagon Doctors who were dedicated to restoring and maintaining the collection. As their knowledge and expertise grew, the volunteers were able to restore selected vehicles to their former glory and they began to build the collection into what is displayed at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum today.
In the spring of 1978, Dinneen became one of the founding members of the board of directors for the Old West Museum, which then became the permanent home of the growing collection of carriages assembled by those who were working on their restoration.
Dinneen was also involved in the Carriage Association of America and the National Stagecoach and Freight Wagon Association.
The museum and CFD now have 160 vehicles in their jointly managed collection, 65 of which are regularly used in the annual parades.
“We are grateful to be able to honor Marietta and her years of service and dedication to our carriage collection today,” said Parades Chair Ruthanne Hubbard. “Marietta served as my mentor and taught me how to volunteer – she is the epitome of the perfect volunteer. If the world were full of people like Marietta, it would be a much better place.”