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Casper, Wyoming
Pahášaša Otȟúŋwahe
City
City of Casper
Overview of downtown Casper, looking south toward Casper Mountain, with North Platte River in foreground.
Overview of downtown Casper, looking south toward Casper Mountain, with North Platte River in foreground.
Nickname(s): "The Oil City"
Location in Wyoming
Location in Wyoming
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Natrona
Area
 • City 27.24 sq mi (70.55 km2)
 • Land 26.90 sq mi (69.67 km2)
 • Water 0.34 sq mi (0.88 km2)
 • Metro 5,376 sq mi sq mi (13,923 km² km2)
Elevation 5,150 ft (1,560 m)
Population (2010)
 • City 55,316
 • Estimate (2014) 60,086
 • Rank US: 601st
 • Density 2,056.4/sq mi (794.0/km2)
 • Urban 64,548 (US: 424th)
 • Metro 81,624 (US: 376th)
Time zone MST (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP codes 82601, 82602, 82604, 82605, 82609, 82615, 82630, 82638, 82646
Area code(s) 307
FIPS code 56-13150
GNIS feature ID 1586424
Website www.casperwy.gov

Casper (Lakota: Pahášaša Otȟúŋwahe; "Red Hill City") is a city in and the county seat of Natrona County, Wyoming, United States. Casper is the second-largest city in Wyoming, 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".

Casper is located in east-central Wyoming at the foot of Casper Mountain, the north end of the Laramie Mountain Range, along the North Platte River.

History

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.

Reconstructed buildings at the site of Fort Caspar museum in Casper, Wyoming
Fort Caspar Historic Site

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 reason why the town is named Casper, instead of Caspar honoring the memory of Fort Caspar and Lt. Caspar Collins, is due to a typo that occurred when the town's name was officially registered.

Geography and climate

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.

Rotary Park Waterfall
The waterfall at Casper's Rotary Park, at the base of Casper Mountain.

Casper is located at 42°50′5″N 106°19′30″W / 42.83472°N 106.325°W / 42.83472; -106.325 (42.834665, −106.325062). It sits at an average elevation of about 5,200 feet (1,600 m) (just slightly lower than Denver).

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 April, 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.

<section begin="weather box" />

Climate data for Casper, Wyoming (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 60
(15.6)
68
(20)
77
(25)
84
(28.9)
95
(35)
102
(38.9)
104
(40)
102
(38.9)
97
(36.1)
87
(30.6)
72
(22.2)
65
(18.3)
104
(40)
Average high °F (°C) 35.2
(1.78)
37.8
(3.22)
47.9
(8.83)
56.8
(13.78)
67.1
(19.5)
78.8
(26)
88.1
(31.17)
86.4
(30.22)
74.3
(23.5)
59.4
(15.22)
44.7
(7.06)
34.2
(1.22)
59.23
(15.125)
Average low °F (°C) 14.3
(-9.83)
15.7
(-9.06)
22.4
(-5.33)
28.6
(-1.89)
37.2
(2.89)
45.7
(7.61)
53.0
(11.67)
51.5
(10.83)
41.4
(5.22)
31.0
(-0.56)
21.6
(-5.78)
13.5
(-10.28)
31.33
(-0.375)
Record low °F (°C) −40
(-40)
−32
(-35.6)
−21
(-29.4)
−6
(-21.1)
16
(-8.9)
28
(-2.2)
30
(-1.1)
29
(-1.7)
15
(-9.4)
−3
(-19.4)
−27
(-32.8)
−41
(-40.6)
−41
(-40.6)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.49
(12.4)
0.56
(14.2)
0.82
(20.8)
1.29
(32.8)
2.01
(51.1)
1.60
(40.6)
1.40
(35.6)
0.85
(21.6)
1.08
(27.4)
1.11
(28.2)
0.76
(19.3)
0.61
(15.5)
12.59
(319.8)
Snowfall inches (cm) 9.2
(23.4)
10.3
(26.2)
10.9
(27.7)
11.5
(29.2)
2.9
(7.4)
0.1
(0.3)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.8
(4.6)
7.6
(19.3)
10.3
(26.2)
11.2
(28.4)
76.0
(193)
Avg. 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
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 6.5 7.5 7.7 6.4 1.7 0.1 0 0 0.7 4.2 6.3 7.5 48.6
Source: NOAA (extremes 1939–present)

<section end="weather box" />

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 40
1890 544 1,260.0%
1900 883 62.3%
1910 2,639 198.9%
1920 11,447 333.8%
1930 16,619 45.2%
1940 17,964 8.1%
1950 23,673 31.8%
1960 38,930 64.4%
1970 39,361 1.1%
1980 51,016 29.6%
1990 46,742 −8.4%
2000 49,644 6.2%
2010 55,316 11.4%
Est. 2015 60,285 9.0%
Source:

2010 census

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 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. 30.3% of all households 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.

2000 census

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. 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.

Culture

Museums and historical sites

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

Performing arts and music

Troopers2008
The Casper Troopers, part of Drum Corps International.

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.

Transportation

Highways

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 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.

Wyoming State Highways:

  • [[Template:Infobox road/WY/link WY|Template:Infobox road/WY/abbrev WY]] (N. Poplar St., CY Avenue) – East-West route from I-25/US 87 (Exit 188B) west out of Casper towards Alcova.
  • [[Template:Infobox road/WY/link WY|Template:Infobox road/WY/abbrev WY]] (Wolcott St., Casper Mountain Rd.) – North-South route that continues south out of Casper and up Casper Mountain, eventually ending at WYO 487.
  • [[Template:Infobox road/WY/link WY|Template:Infobox road/WY/abbrev WY]] (S. Poplar St.) – North-South route from the intersection of Poplar Street and CY avenue to Casper Mountain Road.
  • [[Template:Infobox road/WY/link WY|Template:Infobox road/WY/abbrev WY]] (Salt Creek Hwy.) – North-South route from I-25/US 87 south to US 20-26 (Yellowstone Hwy.) in Mills.
  • [[Template:Infobox road/WY/link WY|Template:Infobox road/WY/abbrev WY]] (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.
  • [[Template:Infobox road/WY/link WY|Template:Infobox road/WY/abbrev WY]] (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.

Airports

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), Delta Connection (SkyWest Airlines), and Allegiant Airlines. FedEx Express and FedEx Feeder provide cargo airline service to the airport.

Public transit

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 service

Scheduled bus service once offered by Power River Bus Lines is now offered by Black Hills Stage Lines.

Images for kids


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