Here and Now


  • In 1867, the Union Pacific Railroad arrived in Cheyenne.
  • In 1867, the town site of Cheyenne was laid out.
  • On July 29, 1878, Thomas Edison viewed a solar eclipse south of Rawlins.
  • In 1937, one of the world's largest steam engines "Big Boy" was put in Holiday Park in Cheyenne.
  • In 1958, Cheyenne became home to the world's first Atlas ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) base. It is now the largest Minute Man missile base in the free world.
  • Uranium was first discovered in Wyoming in 1949, but the most famous discovery occurred in 1953 when Neil McNeice located the radioactive mineral in the Gas Hills of central Wyoming. Production during the 1950s centered around the Gas Hills and the nearby Shirley Basin.
  • Wyoming was acquired as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
  • Gerald Ford, the thirty-eighth President of the United States, was a Yellowstone Park Ranger as a young man.
  • In a famous 1941 stunt, George Hopkins parachuted onto Devils Tower. He was stranded there for six days before being rescued.
  • In 1902, the first JCPenney store was opened in Kemmerer.
  • It took four treaties for the United States to get the land that makes up Wyoming, more than for any other state. 
By the Numbers
  • Wyoming is the 10th largest state, but has the fewest people (493,782 - US Census 2000).
  • Area of Wyoming: 97,914 Square Miles
  • Highest Point: Gannet Peak at 13,809 feet
    Lowest Point: Belle Fourche River at 3,099 feet
  • Population: 493,782 (2000 Census)
    Male Population: 248,374
    Female Population: 245,408
    Average Age: 36.2 years old
  • Largest cities in 2000:
    Cheyenne: 53,011
    Casper: 49,644
    Laramie: 27,204
    Gillette: 19,646
    Rock Springs: 18,708
  • The largest (cleanest burning) coal resources in the United States are found in Wyoming.
  • Wyoming is home to the world's largest single elk herd. 
  • Wyoming is first in bentonite and soda ash (Trona) production.
  • Wyoming lands are estimated to contain 1.4 trillion tons of coal. The world's largest surface coalmine complex is located near Gillette. Wyoming leads the nation in the production of coal, bentonite, and trona.
  • Wyoming is a fisherman's paradise with 15,846 miles of fishing streams and 297,633 acres of fishing lakes. There are 3,400 lakes, ponds and reservoirs that support 76 species of fish, 31 species of which are game fish.
  • Wyoming ranks second in wool production, and has over 810,000 sheep.
  • The world's largest bronze bust, a likeness of Abraham Lincoln, is located near Laramie. University of Wyoming sculptor Robert Russin created the bust, which weighs 3 short tons (3.2 metric tons). It is 12 feet (3.8 meters) tall and rests on a stone base 30 feet (9 meters) high. 
  • Wyoming is bordered by Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado and Utah.
  • The world's largest single mineral hot spring is located in Wyoming's Hot Springs State Park. Millions of gallons of water containing at least 27 different minerals flow through the spring every 24 hours, always at a constant temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
Equality Heritage
  • In 1870, Wyoming had the first women bailiff, Mary Atkinson.
  • In 1869, Wyoming was the first territory to give women the right to vote.
  • In 1870, Wyoming had the first woman Justice of the Peace, Esther Hobart Morris. Esther Morris
  • In 1870, Wyoming had the first woman to serve on a grand jury, Eliza Stewart.
  • In 1894, Wyoming had the first woman State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Estelle Reel.
  • In 1920, Wyoming allowed the first woman to vote in a presidential election.
  • Nellie Tayloe Ross wasn't only a first lady of Wyoming but in 1925 she became the first woman governor for Wyoming, she was also the first woman governor in the nation. In 1933 she became the first woman as the director of the U.S. Mint appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Th first town in America to be governed entirely by women was Jackson, Wyoming. From 1920 to 1921, Jackson had a woman mayor, town council and town marshall. One of the councilwomen defeated her husband for her council seat.
Wyoming Firsts
  • In 1852, the first school house in Wyoming was built at Fort Laramie.
  • In 1872, Yellowstone was established as the first national park in the United States.
  • In 1886, Wyoming had the nation’s first county public library ran by Mrs. E. Manson Smith. Wyoming also had the first book mobile - a wagon that took books to the ranches in Laramie County.
  • Shoshone became the nation's first national forest in1891.
  • Theodore Roosevelt named Devils Tower as the nation's first national monument in 1906.
  • First Ranger station: Wapiti Ranger Station was established in the Shoshone National Forest in 1891.
  • First artificially lit, evening football game: the first interscholastic football game to be played under artificial light took place in Midwest, Wyoming in 1925.
  • In 1913, Wyoming was the first state to demand wrapped bread.
Just the Facts
  • Wyoming State Nickname: Equality State
  • Wyoming State Motto: “Equality Rights”
  • Wyoming State Capital: Cheyenne
  • Wyoming State Flag: Wyoming's official flag was adopted in 1917. The flag has a deep blue field surrounded by white and red borders. A white bison dominates the flag; it has the state seal in the center .
  • Wyoming State Seal: The state seal pictures a rancher and a miner on either side of a woman. The woman represents the state's motto "Equal Rights," which is written on a banner she is holding. Wyoming was the first state in which women had the right to vote and hold public office.  The words "Livestock", "Mines", "Grains," and "Oil" are on two columns that are on either side of the woman; they represent Wyoming's main industries. A shield (with stripes and a star) and an eagle are under the woman; they symbolize support for the United States. The dates 1869 and 1890 are on either side of the shield; they are the dates when Wyoming organized as a territory of the United States and when it became a state.
  • Wyoming State Mammal: Buffalo (Bison bison)
  • Wyoming State Bird: Western Meadowlark (Sturnella neglecta)
  • Wyoming State Flower: Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja linariaefolia)
  • Wyoming State Tree: Cottonwood (Populus sargentii)
  • Wyoming State Grass: Western wheatgrass
  • Wyoming State Fish: Cutthroat Trout (Salmo clarki)
  • Wyoming State Reptile: Horned Lizard (Douglassi brevirostre)
  • Wyoming State Dinosaur: Triceratops
  • Wyoming State Fossil: Knightia, an extinct herring(fish).
  • Wyoming State Gem: Jade (Nephrite)
  • Bordering States: Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah and Idaho
  • Wyoming State Song: “Wyoming” Lyrics: C.E. WinterMusic: G.E. Knapp

    Verse 1: In the far and mighty West, where the crimson sun Seeks rest, There's a growing splendid state that lies above on the breast of this great land; Where the massive Rockies stand, There's Wyoming young and strong, the State I love!

    Verse 2: In thy flowers wild and sweet, Colors rare and perfumes meet; There's the columbine so pure, the daisy too, Wild the rose and red it springs, White the button and its rings, Thou art loyal for they're red and white and blue.

    Verse 3: Where thy peaks with crowned head, Rising till the sky they wed, Sit like snow queens ruling wood and stream and plain; Neath thy granite bases deep, Neath thy bosom's broadened sweep, Lie the riches that have gained and brought thee fame.

    Verse 4: Other treasures thou dost hold, Men and women thou dost mold; True and earnest are the lives that thou dost raise; Strength thy children dost teach, Nature's truth thou givst to each, Free and noble are thy workings and thy ways.

    Verse 5: In the nation's banner free There's one star that has for me A radiance pure and a splendor like the sun; Mine it is, Wyoming's star, Home it leads me near or far; O Wyoming! All my heart and love you've won!

    Chorus: Wyoming, Wyoming! Land of the sunlight clear! Wyoming, Wyoming! Land that we hold so dear! Wyoming, Wyoming! Precious art thou and thine; Wyoming, Wyoming! Beloved State of Mine!

Our Land and People
  • Geography Across the state of Wyoming, there are geographical areas that have forests, deserts, grasslands, river valleys, and canyons. These ecosystems offer amazingly different landscapes to appreciate. Wyoming's landscape also provides a wealth of natural resources. The land provides beautiful scenery that attract tourists, and natural resources that sustain our economy.
  • Wildlife Wyoming is a wildlife paradise. The state mammal is the bison, which can be seen in numerous places around the state, including Hot Springs State Park near Thermopolis. Elk are common in many areas. The largest pronghorn population in the world lives near the Red Desert. Some other animals that live here are bighorn sheep, bison, bears, moose, and birds.
  • Industry Wyoming's economy is based on three main industries: mineral extraction, tourism, and agriculture. Some of the natural resources that are produced in Wyoming are: coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Tourism brings a great deal of business to the state, and the oldest industry in Wyoming is ranching and farming.
  • Government The Wyoming government was modeled after many state governments that came before it. It was the 44th state admitted to the Union. The Wyoming legislature is known as a “citizen's legislature” which means that all of the legislators have other jobs or are retired/semi-retired. Wyoming's legislature has a 60-day session.
  • People The people of Wyoming vary as much as the weather and landscape. While this is the "Cowboy State," many of Wyoming's residents live in towns and cities - some have never even been on a horse! People in this state can be doctors, lawyers, ranchers, miners, small business owners and everything in between. But the people of Wyoming have one big thing in common: you can usually count on Wyoming residents to be friendly and helpful to visitors on vacation in our great state. 
  • Wyoming's Native Americans Wyoming's Wind River Country is home to the seventh largest Indian reservation in the country.  Encompassing more than 2.2 million acres, the Wind River Indian Reservation is home to the Eastern Shoshone and the Northern Arapaho tribes.  Visitors to the area can go to powwows and museums to learn more about the local culture, or can recreate on thousands of acres of vast, unspoiled reservation lands with special permits.  The Northern Arapaho tribe of Wyoming is one of four groups of Arapaho who originally occupied the headwaters of the Arkansas and Platte Rivers in what is now northeastern Colorado.  Culturally, a Plains Indian tribe, the Arapaho are distinguished from other Plains tribes by their language, which is a variation of the Algonquin language.  The Arapaho are the southwestern most extension of the Algonquin people. The Eastern Shoshone people belong to Uto-Aztecan linguistic family, which once stretched from the Cascades in the northwest, to the northern plains of Wyoming, and southward to Mexico.  Except for the Washos of California, this linguistic group included all the indians in the Great Basin Area, including the Shoshonis, the Paiutes, the Bannocks, the Commanches and the Utes.
State Sites