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Location of Cowley in Big Horn County, Wyoming.
Location of Cowley in Big Horn County, Wyoming.
Cowley, Wyoming is located in the United States
Cowley, Wyoming
Cowley, Wyoming
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Big Horn
Settled May 2, 1900
 • Total 0.87 sq mi (2.26 km2)
 • Land 0.87 sq mi (2.26 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
3,990 ft (1,216 m)
 • Total 655
 • Estimate 
 • Density 871.71/sq mi (336.46/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MST)
Zip code
Area code(s) 307
FIPS code 56-17645
GNIS feature ID 1587127

Cowley is a town in Big Horn County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 655 at the 2010 census. In 2019 the US Census Bureau put that figure at 623.


Just south of Cowley

Cowley is located at 44°52′58″N 108°28′5″W / 44.88278°N 108.46806°W / 44.88278; -108.46806 (44.882684, -108.468193).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.84 square miles (2.18 km2), all of it land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 574
1920 687 19.7%
1930 526 −23.4%
1940 491 −6.7%
1950 463 −5.7%
1960 459 −0.9%
1970 366 −20.3%
1980 455 24.3%
1990 477 4.8%
2000 560 17.4%
2010 655 17.0%
2019 (est.) 761 16.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 655 people, 229 households, and 169 families residing in the town. The population density was 779.8 inhabitants per square mile (301.1/km2). There were 250 housing units at an average density of 297.6 per square mile (114.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.4% White, 0.5% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 2.1% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.0% of the population.

There were 229 households, of which 37.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 26.2% were non-families. 22.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.41.

The median age in the town was 36.9 years. 31.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.3% were from 25 to 44; 23.9% were from 45 to 64; and 14.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.


The town of Cowley was settled by a group of Mormon pioneers called to settle Wyoming's Big Horn Basin. The town was named in honor of Matthias F. Cowley, one of the Apostles of the LDS Church at the time. The first company of pioneers arrived in the area on May 2, 1900, and began the construction of the Sidon Canal to bring water to the town from the Shoshone River. The canal was over 30 miles long and was not completed until 1904.

By winter 1900, there were approximately 18 log houses built in the area. Those original homes were built by Robert Baird, John Black, John Burke, Hyrum Cook, John Dickson, Robert Fraser, William Graham, David Lewis, Gilbert Marchant, Alfred Nebeker, William Partridge, William Simmons, George Taggart, Henry Tucker, Franklin Turnbow, Lemuel Willis, W. W. Willis and George Harston.

The first school was opened in a log house in January 1901, and the first teacher was Eliza R. Black. There were about 24-30 students.

On September 26, 1910, the Big Horn Academy was opened in Cowley, as the first High School. The first class to graduate from the Big Horn Academy was the class of 1912, consisting of 13 students. The first four-year graduating class was in 1915.

A new stone building was erected to house the Big Horn Academy in 1916. In 1925, the name was changed to the Cowley High School. The school's mascot was the Jaguars. The Cowley High School remained in the Big Horn Academy building until 1983, when the last class was graduated. There were only six students in the class of 1983, John Barnes, Ernesto Campos (a visiting student from Mexico), Gilbert Fisher, Greg Marchant, Randy Marchant and Bart Stevens. Due to the declining enrollment, the school in Cowley was closed.

Beginning in 1984, the town's students began attending the consolidated Rocky Mountain High School in Byron, Wyoming, with students from Byron, Deaver and Frannie. Rocky Mountain High School was moved to Cowley beginning in the fall of 2010, after a new High School was built in Cowley.

(Information for the History section was taken primarily from With Book And Plow, by Mark N. Partridge, published 2003 by Family History Publishers, Bountiful, Utah, Copyright Cowley Pioneer Museum History Center.)


Cowley Pioneer Day and the Cowley Pioneer Museum

Each July, Cowley hosts an annual celebration, known locally as "Cowley Pioneer Day", which is held on the Weekend closest to July 24, to commemorate the town's pioneer heritage. The celebration usually packs in a range of activities including a parade, pioneer heritage program, rodeo, dance, and town barbecue. Cowley's pioneer heritage is also remembered year-round in the Cowley Pioneer Museum, located on Main Street in Cowley, in the same building as the town hall. In addition to the town's official website, information on Cowley history, and Cowley people can be found on a website accessible through The website includes thousands of pictures, scans of high school yearbooks, memorial pages for Cowley people who have died, and other family history information.


Just south of Cowley, October 2015

Public education in the town of Cowley is provided by Big Horn County School District #1. High School students attend Rocky Mountain High School in Cowley. Middle School students attend Rocky Mountain Middle School also here in Cowley and Elementary students attend Rocky Mountain Elementary School in Cowley.

The Big Horn Academy Building, built in 1916, is located in Cowley. The building was home to Cowley High School from 1925 to 1983.

Big Horn Co. School District #1

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Cowley (Wyoming) para niños

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