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Thermopolis, Wyoming
Thermopolis viewed from Roundtop Mountain
Thermopolis viewed from Roundtop Mountain
Nickname(s): 
"Thermop" "T-Town"
Motto(s): 
"A Past To Behold A Future To Uphold"
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Hot Springs
Area
 • Total 2.47 sq mi (6.40 km2)
 • Land 2.38 sq mi (6.16 km2)
 • Water 0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)
Elevation
~±500 feet
4,331 ft (1,320 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 3,009
 • Estimate 
(2012)
3,019
 • Density 1,264.3/sq mi (488.1/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
82443
Area code(s) 307
FIPS code 56-76515
GNIS feature ID 1597651

Thermopolis is the largest town in, and the county seat of Hot Springs County, Wyoming, United States. As of the 2010 census, the town population was 3,009.

History

"Thermopolis" is from the Greek for "Hot City". It is home to numerous natural hot springs, in which mineral-laden waters are heated by geothermal processes. The town is named for the hot springs located there.

The town claims the world's largest mineral hot spring as part of Hot Springs State Park. The springs are open to the public for free as part of an 1896 treaty signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian tribes.

Thermopolis is also the home of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, which hosts the only Archaeopteryx fossil outside of Europe.

Decline in mineral spring flow

In 1991, the Associated Press reported, in an article entitled "Hot Springs Rationed: Natural Wonder Drying Up:"

One of Wyoming's natural wonders--massive travertine terraces formed over the centuries by cascading hot mineral water at Hot Springs State Park--appears to be dying.

A dramatic decline in the flow of the main spring that feeds the terraces has prompted park management to maintain the water flow to the park's recreation pools and cut off water to half the terraces.

The Big Spring, which pumped 13 million gallons a day in 1896 when the Indians sold the area to the government, now produces mere 3.5 million gallons per day, according to park superintendent Allen Cowardin.

Neither Cowardin nor state water experts know what has caused the reduced flow, nor when it dropped so dramatically...

Geography

Thermopolis is located near the northern end of the Wind River Canyon and Wedding of the Waters, where the north-flowing Wind River becomes the Bighorn River. Thermopolis is ringed by mountains, with the Bridger Mountains to the southeast, the Owl Creek Mountains to the southwest, the Big Horn Mountains to the northeast and the Absaroka Range to the northwest. Thermopolis is the southern-most municipality in the Big Horn Basin.

Roundtop Mountain, on the northern edge of town, is a unique geological formation shaped much like a volcano. It sits at approximately 6,000 feet and is the highest area in the immediate vicinity of Thermopolis.

A large body of water, Boysen Reservoir, lies approximately 17 miles south of Thermopolis and is inhabited by many native species of fish including rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout, walleye, perch and northern pike among others.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.47 square miles (6.40 km2), of which, 2.38 square miles (6.16 km2) of it is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water.

Climate

Thermopolis experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with cold, dry winters and hot, dry summers. In fact, the town features Wyoming's highest average daytime temperatures in July and August.

Climate data for Thermopolis, Wyoming (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
(19.4)
70
(21.1)
80
(26.7)
90
(32.2)
98
(36.7)
105
(40.6)
107
(41.7)
106
(41.1)
99
(37.2)
92
(33.3)
77
(25)
78
(25.6)
107
(41.7)
Average high °F (°C) 40.5
(4.72)
45.9
(7.72)
55.3
(12.94)
65.2
(18.44)
74.4
(23.56)
84.3
(29.06)
93.3
(34.06)
91.5
(33.06)
80.9
(27.17)
65.2
(18.44)
51.0
(10.56)
38.9
(3.83)
65.53
(18.63)
Average low °F (°C) 11.5
(-11.39)
16.1
(-8.83)
25.2
(-3.78)
33.5
(0.83)
42.4
(5.78)
50.2
(10.11)
57.0
(13.89)
55.0
(12.78)
45.0
(7.22)
33.8
(1)
21.5
(-5.83)
11.1
(-11.61)
33.53
(0.847)
Record low °F (°C) −44
(-42.2)
−42
(-41.1)
−28
(-33.3)
−18
(-27.8)
12
(-11.1)
24
(-4.4)
34
(1.1)
23
(-5)
7
(-13.9)
−16
(-26.7)
−28
(-33.3)
−38
(-38.9)
−44
(-42.2)
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.41
(10.4)
0.39
(9.9)
0.88
(22.4)
1.61
(40.9)
2.25
(57.2)
1.49
(37.8)
0.98
(24.9)
0.55
(14)
1.10
(27.9)
1.35
(34.3)
0.64
(16.3)
0.38
(9.7)
12.04
(305.8)
Snowfall inches (cm) 5.4
(13.7)
4.7
(11.9)
5.1
(13)
2.2
(5.6)
.3
(0.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
.2
(0.5)
2.3
(5.8)
3.5
(8.9)
5.0
(12.7)
28.7
(72.9)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.3 3.3 4.4 6.8 7.9 8.3 5.9 4.7 5.7 5.1 3.8 3.4 62.4
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.4 2.1 1.8 .9 .1 0 0 0 0 .6 1.7 2.4 12.1
Source: NOAA (extremes 1899–present)

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 299
1910 1,524 409.7%
1920 2,005 31.6%
1930 2,129 6.2%
1940 2,422 13.8%
1950 2,870 18.5%
1960 3,955 37.8%
1970 3,063 −22.6%
1980 3,852 25.8%
1990 3,247 −15.7%
2000 3,172 −2.3%
2010 3,009 −5.1%
Est. 2015 2,974 −1.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,009 people, 1,389 households, and 818 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,264.3 inhabitants per square mile (488.1/km2). There were 1,583 housing units at an average density of 665.1 per square mile (256.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.4% White, 0.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 1,389 households of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.1% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.70.

The median age in the town was 47 years. 20.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 30.5% were from 45 to 64; and 22.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,172 people, 1,342 households, and 849 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,331.0 people per square mile (514.6/km2). There were 1,568 housing units at an average density of 657.9 per square mile (254.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 95.90% White, 0.47% African American, 1.70% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.50% from other races, and 1.17% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.30% of the population.

There were 1,342 households out of which 26.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.0% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 32.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the town, the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 21.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.3 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $29,205, and the median income for a family was $38,448. Males had a median income of $26,824 versus $18,438 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,648. About 8.3% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.3% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

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