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Casper is the only city in and the county seat of Natrona Countymarker, Wyomingmarker, United Statesmarker. With a population of 49,644, Casper is the second largest city in Wyoming, according to the 2000 census. Casper is nicknamed "The Oil City" and has a long history of oil boomtown and cowboy culture, dating back to development of the nearby Teapot Domemarker.

Casper is located in east-central Wyoming at the foot of Casper Mountainmarker, the north end of the Laramie Mountain Range, along the North Platte River. Interstate 25 approaches Casper from the North and East and is the main avenue of transportation to and from the city. The towns immediately adjacent to Casper are Millsmarker, Evansvillemarker, Bar Nunnmarker, and Mountain View. Unincorporated areas include Allendale, Dempsey Acres, Red Buttes, Indian Springs, and several others.


The city was established east of the former site of Fort Casparmarker, which was built during the mid-19th century mass migration of land seekers along the Oregon, California and Mormon trails.. The area was the location of several ferries that offered passage across the North Platte River in the early 1840s. In 1859, Louis Guinard built a bridge and trading post near the original ferry locations.

The government soon posted a military garrison nearby to protect telegraph and mail service. It was under the command of Lieutenant Colonel William O. Collins. American Indian attacks increased after the Sand Creek Massacremarker in Colorado in 1864, bringing more troops to the post, which was by now called Platte Bridge Station. In July 1865, Lieutenant Caspar Collins (the son of Colonel Collins) was killed near the post by a group of Indian warriors. Three months later the garrison was renamed Fort Caspar after Lieutenant Collins. In 1867, the troops were ordered to abandon Fort Caspar in favor of Fort Fettermanmarker downstream on the North Platte along the Bozeman Trail.

The town of Casper itself was founded well after the fort had been closed. The city was founded by developers as an anticipated stopping point during the expansion of the Wyoming Central Railway; it was an early commercial rival to Bessemer and Douglas, Wyomingmarker. The lack of a railhead doomed Bessemer in favor of Casper. Douglas, also a railhead, survives to the present day. The presence of a railhead made Casper the starting off point for the "invaders" in the Johnson County War. The special chartered train carrying the men up from Texas stopped at Casper.

Geography and climate

Casper is located at (42.834665, -106.325062) . It sits at an average elevation of about 5100 to 5200 ft (just slightly lower than Denvermarker).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.3 square miles (62.8 km²), of which, 24.0 square miles (62.0 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (1.32%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 49,644 people, 20,343 households, and 13,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,073.2 people per square mile (800.3/km²). There were 21,872 housing units at an average density of 913.4/sq mi (352.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.03% White, 0.86% Black, 1.00% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 2.04% from other races, and 1.56% from two or more races. 5.35% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 20,343 households out of which 31.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,567, and the median income for a family was $46,267. Males had a median income of $34,905 versus $21,810 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,409. About 8.5% of families and 11.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.


Although relatively small by national standards, Casper is a regional center of banking and commerce.

Since the discovery of crude oil in the region during the 1890s, Casper became the regional petroleum industry center. Oil has figured prominently in its history from nearly the onset. Oil was first discovered in the famous Salt Creek Oil Field in 1889, approximately 40 miles (64 km) north of Casper; the first refinery in Casper was built in 1895. The city has featured a refinery ever since, although various refineries have been built and closed over the years. As recently as the early 1980s, the city was near or home to three refineries. The surviving one, operated by Sinclair Oil Corporation, is located nearby in Evansville, Wyoming. Development of Wyoming coal and uranium fields in recent decades has helped Casper continue its role as a center in the energy industry.

Casper was once significant in the Western sheep industry, although perhaps not to the same extent as some other regional cities. A meat packing plant was established in neighboring Evansvillemarker in the 1930s and was closed due to industrywide restructuring in the 1970s.


Casper is home to Casper College, a community college that offers bachelors degrees in sixteen areas of study from the University of Wyomingmarker through their UW/CC Center.

The Natrona County School District #1 maintains sixteen elementary schools, five middle schools, and three high schools in Casper. The high schools include Kelly Walsh, Natrona, and Roosevelt High Schools.


Casper and the rest of Wyoming are served by the Casper Star-Tribune, a newspaper with statewide circulation; the Casper Journal is a community newspaper published weekly.


Casper hosted the AIFA Championship Bowl III at the Casper Events Centermarker on July 26, 2009.


Museums and Historical Sites

Casper is home to a number of museums and historical sites:
  • Fort Caspar Museum and Historic Sitemarker.
  • National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, a federally funded and operated museum
  • Nicolaysen Art Museum
  • Tate Geological Museum at Casper College
  • Werner Wildlife Museum

Performing Arts and Music

Casper has three locations offering theatre: The Gertrude Krampert Theatre at Casper College, Stage III Community Theatre, and the Casper Events Center where an annual series of touring Broadway shows, Broadway in Casper, can be seen.

Casper is home to the Troopers, a drum and bugle corps in Drum Corps International, and the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. During the summer months, Casper's City Band performs free concerts Thursday evenings at Washington Park, weather permitting.



Interstate Highways:


US Routes:

US 20
  • East-West route through Casper that runs concurrent with I-25 through Casper. At exit 189 the highway continues west out of Casper, and no longer runs concurrent with the interstate.
  • The Business Route of US 20 follows N. Beverly St. and Yellowstone Hwy. going East-West from I-25/US 87 (Exit 186) to U.S. 20-26 west of Casper in Millsmarker.

US 26
  • East-West route through Casper that runs concurrent with I-25 through Casper. At exit 189 the highway continues west out of Casper, and no longer runs concurrent with the interstate.
  • The Business Route of US 26 follows N. McKinley St. and Yellowstone Hwy. going East-West from I-25/US 87 (Exit 187) to U.S. 20-26 west of Casper in Millsmarker.

US 87
  • North-South through Casper that runs concurrent with I-25 through Casper.

Wyoming State Highways:

WYO 220 (N. Poplar St., CY Avenue)
  • East-West route from I-25/US 87 (Exit 188B) west out of Casper towards Alcovamarker.

WYO 251 (Wolcott St., Casper Mountain Rd.)
  • North-South route that continues south out of Casper and up Casper Mountain, eventually ending at WYO 487.

WYO 252 (S. Poplar St.)
  • North-South route from the intersection of Poplar Street and CY avenue to Casper Mountain Road.

WYO 254 (Salt Creek Hwy.)
  • North-South route from I-25/US 87 south to US 20-26 (Yellowstone Hwy.) in Mills.

WYO 255 (Center St., 9th St., CY Avenue)
  • North-South route from I-25 exit 188A to the intersection of S. Poplar and CY Avenue, where CY Avenue continues as WY 220.

WYO 258 (Wyoming Blvd.)
  • East-West loop route from I-25/US 87 to US 20-26 west of Casper in Mills; the majority of the highway runs along the southern borders of Casper.


The city has scheduled air service at Casper/Natrona County International Airportmarker, a former army air base built during World War II. The current airport, having been built for bombers, has large runways and replaced a prior regional airport north of Casper which later became Bar Nunnmarker.

Public transit

Public transit in the Casper area is provided by the Casper Area Transportation Coalition..

Notable natives and residents


External links

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