Dayton House Was Home to Wyoming's First Woman Mayor

Wissler's former home at 406 Main Street in Dayton; now on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Wissler's former home at 406 Main Street in Dayton; now on the National Register of Historic Places. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Photo of Susan Wissler hangs in council chambers of Dayton's Town Hall. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Photo of Susan Wissler hangs in council chambers of Dayton's Town Hall. (Photo by Pat Blair)

Historical Register Ongoing Series

The unassuming gray house at 406 Main Street in Dayton hasn't changed much since Susan Wissler lived there in the early 1900s.

Built in 1885 for commercial use, with a false front, and residence on the upper floor, the house has been on the National Register of Historic Places since March 8, 1984.

Susan Wissler moved into the house in 1905, and lived there until 1915. Her residency included the years 1911 through 1914 when she served as Dayton's mayor – the first woman mayor in the young state of Wyoming, and only the second woman mayor in the nation. A woman in Kansas was sworn into the mayor's office the same day that Wissler took the oath in Dayton. But Kansas is one time zone ahead of Wyoming. Wissler missed being the first woman mayor in the United States by an hour.

A native of Wisconsin, a widowed schoolteacher who moved to Dayton in 1904, Wissler ran for the mayor's office on an independent ticket. Her time in office was notable for laws that regulated the town's saloons and gambling, and prohibited the packing of firearms or other
deadly weapons in town limits.

She declined to serve another term as mayor. She later moved to Custer, Mont., where she taught at the Indian school there. In the 1930s, she suffered fractures of her left thigh and, later, her leg as the result of falls. She spent her last year confined to a wheelchair, and died on Feb. 9, 1938 a few days shy of her 85th birthday.

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