Casper is a city in and the county seat of Natrona County, Wyoming, United States. Casper is the second largest city in the state, according to the 2010 census, with a population of 55,316. Only Cheyenne, the state capital, is larger. Casper is nicknamed "The Oil City" and has a long history of oil boomtown and cowboy culture, dating back to the development of the nearby Salt Creek Oil Field. In 2010, Casper was named the highest-ranked family-friendly small city in the West, and ranked eighth overall in the nation in Forbes magazine's list of "the best small cities to raise a family".
|City of Casper|
"The Oil City"
Location within Natrona County
|• City Manager||Carter Napier|
|• City||26.86 sq mi (69.57 km2)|
|• Land||26.53 sq mi (68.72 km2)|
|• Water||0.33 sq mi (0.85 km2)|
|• Metro||5,376 sq mi sq mi (13,923 km² km2)|
|Elevation||5,150 ft (1,560 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Rank||US: 601st|
|• Density||2,179.03/sq mi (841.34/km2)|
|• Urban||64,548 (US: 424th)|
|• Metro||81,624 (US: 376th)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
82601–82602, 82604–82605, 82609, 82615, 82630, 82638, 82646
|GNIS feature ID||1586424|
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and climate
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Economy
- 5 Education
- 6 Media
- 7 Sports
- 8 Culture
- 9 Transportation
- 10 Notable people
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 External links
The city was established east of the former site of Fort Caspar, 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 Massacre 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 Fetterman 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, Wyoming. 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. The town is named "Casper", instead of "Caspar", honoring the memory of Fort Caspar and Lt. Caspar Collins, due to a typo that occurred when the town's name was officially registered.
Geography and climateEdit
Interstate 25, which approaches Casper from the north and east, is the main avenue of transportation to and from the city. The towns immediately adjacent to Casper are Mills, Evansville, and Bar Nunn. Unincorporated areas include Allendale, Dempsey Acres, Red Buttes, Indian Springs, and several others.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 27.24 square miles (70.55 km2), of which, 26.90 square miles (69.67 km2) is land and 0.34 square miles (0.88 km2) is water.
Casper, as with most of the rest of Wyoming, has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk), with long, cold, but dry winters, hot but generally dry summers, mild springs, and short and crisp autumns. Highs range from 32 °F (0 °C) in January to 88 °F (31.1 °C) in July and August. Temperatures typically plummet during summer nights, with an average diurnal temperature variation approaching 35 °F (19.4 °C). Snow can fall heavily during the winter months, being the greatest in January, and usually falls in May and October, but rarely September. Precipitation is greatest in spring and early summer, but even then it is not high. Highs reach 90 °F (32.2 °C) on 31 days per year and fail to surpass freezing on 46. Lows drop to 0 °F (−17.8 °C) on 18 nights per winter.
|Climate data for Casper, Wyoming (1981–2010 normals)|
|Record high °F (°C)||60
|Average high °F (°C)||35.2
|Average low °F (°C)||14.3
|Record low °F (°C)||−40
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||0.49
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||11.5
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||6.1||6.9||8.5||10.2||11.2||9.3||7.7||6.2||6.9||7.6||6.9||7.3||94.6|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||6.5||7.5||7.7||6.4||1.7||0||0||0||0||4.2||6.3||7.5||48.6|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||6.0||7.0||8.0||9.0||9.0||11.0||11.0||10.0||9.0||7.0||6.0||5.0||8.2|
|Percent possible sunshine||67||64||67||69||60||73||73||71||75||64||60||56||67|
|Average ultraviolet index||2||2||4||6||8||9||10||9||7||4||2||1||5|
|Source #1: NOAA (extremes 1939–present)|
|Source #2: Weather Atlas |
As of the census of 2010, there were 55,316 people, 22,794 households, and 14,237 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,056.4 inhabitants per square mile (794.0/km2). There were 24,536 housing units at an average density of 912.1 per square mile (352.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.3% White, 1.0% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 2.3% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 7.4% of the population.
There were 22,794 households of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.1% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 37.5% were non-families. Of all households 30.3% were made up of individuals and 10.1% 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 2.95.
The median age in the city was 36 years. 23.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.4% were from 45 to 64; and 12.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.7% male and 50.3% female.
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 per square mile (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. Of all households 29.1% 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.
After 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 outset. 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. Development of Wyoming coal and uranium fields in recent decades has helped Casper continue its role as a center in the energy industry.
Public education in the city of Casper is provided by Natrona County School District #1. The district operates sixteen elementary schools, five middle schools, and three high schools in Casper. The high schools include Kelly Walsh, Natrona County, and Roosevelt High Schools. A program called CAPS is being added to Natrona County School District, which will provide more space and classrooms for juniors and seniors at the three high schools.
Casper is served by two print newspapers, the Casper Star-Tribune, a daily, and the Casper Journal, published weekly. Casper is also home to WyoFile, an online publication focusing on state issues.
- UFC 6 took place at the Casper Events Center in 1995.
- Casper hosted the AIFA Championship Bowl III at the Casper Events Center on July 26, 2009.
- The Events Center has hosted the College National Finals Rodeo since 2001.
- The Casper Recreation Center offers basketball, fitness, raquetball, volleyball and is adjacent to the Casper Family Aquatics Center and Casper Ice Arena.
- Soccer matches are held at the Casper Soccer Complex.
- The Casper Municipal Golf Course is a public 27-hole golf course in Casper.
Sports teams based in Casper include:
- Casper Cannibal RFC, an amateur rugby football team in the Eastern Rockies Rugby Football Union
- Casper Coyotes, a Junior A hockey team in the Western States Hockey League (WSHL), that plays out of the Casper Ice Arena
- Casper Ghosts (formerly). From 2001-2011, Mike Lansing Field hosted the Ghosts of the Pioneer League, Rookie-level affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. In 2011, the team relocated to Grand Junction, Colorado to become the Rockies.
- Casper Horseheads, a collegiate summer baseball team of the Expedition League that started play in the summer of 2018, playing their home games at Mike Lansing Field.
Museums and historical sitesEdit
Casper is home to a number of museums and historical sites:
- Fort Caspar Museum and Historic Site
- National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, a federally funded and operated museum
- Nicolaysen Art Museum
- Tate Geological Museum at Casper College
- Werner Wildlife Museum
- Wyoming Veterans Memorial Museum
- The Science Zone 
- Historic Bishop Home 
Performing arts and musicEdit
Casper has three locations offering theater: 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.
- 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 Mills.
- 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 Mills.
- US 87 – North-South through Casper that runs concurrent with I-25 through Casper.
- WYO 220 (N. Poplar St., CY Avenue) – East-West route from I-25/US 87 (Exit 188B) west out of Casper towards Alcova.
- 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 Airport, 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 Nunn. The airport is located west of the city just off of US highway 20/26. In July 2004, the airport facilities were renovated. Passenger service at the airport is offered by United Express (SkyWest Airlines, Trans States Airlines, and GoJet Airlines), as well as Delta Connection (SkyWest Airlines), FedEx Express and FedEx Feeder provide cargo airline service to the airport.
Public transit in the Casper area is provided by the Casper Area Transportation Coalition. They offer fixed route service called The Bus and an on request service called CATC.
Scheduled bus serviceEdit
Scheduled bus service once offered by Power River Bus Lines is now offered by ExpressArrow (formerly Black Hills Stages).
- John Barrasso, Republican U.S. Senator from Wyoming
- Zane Beadles, former Utah Ute offensive lineman; former member of the San Francisco 49ers
- C. J. Box, author
- Tom Browning, former major league pitcher; threw perfect game; while with the Cincinnati Reds, won a World Series
- Taven Bryan, professional football player
- Dick Cheney, Vice President of United States under George W. Bush; Secretary of Defense under George H.W. Bush; former CEO of Halliburton Company; grew up in Casper, having moved there from his birthplace in Nebraska
- Liz Cheney, lawyer; member of U.S. State Department; daughter of Dick Cheney; attended elementary school in Casper; elected to the U.S. House of Representatives
- Lynne Cheney, wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney
- Tom Coburn, U.S. Senator from Oklahoma
- Barbara Cubin, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives; grew up and graduated from high school in Casper
- Mike Devereaux, professional baseball player with World Series rings with Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves
- Ron Franscell, journalist and crime author
- Warren A. Morton (1924–2002), former Speaker of the Wyoming House of Representatives; Casper oilman and engineer
- Marlan Scully, physicist best known for his work in theoretical quantum optics
- Matthew Scully, author and speechwriter
- Patrick Joseph Sullivan, mayor of Casper, Wyoming, 1897-1898; member of United States Senate from Wyoming, 1929-1930
- Matthew Shepard, murder victim for whom the Matthew Shepard Hate Crime Act is named
- Floyd Volker, professional basketball player
- Pete Williams, NBC News journalist covering the U.S.Justice Department
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