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Casper, Wyoming

Casper is the only city in and the county seat of Natrona County, Wyoming, United States, although the county is home to a number of small towns and Casper suburbs. With a population of 49,644, Casper is the second largest city in Wyoming, according to the 2000 census. During the early 1980s Casper was the largest city in Wyoming; according to U.S. Census figures for 1980, Casper had a population of 51,016 compared with Cheyenne's 47,283.

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. Interstate 25 approaches Casper from the North and East and is the main avenue of transportation to and from the city. The towns immediately adjacent to Casper are Mills, Evansville, Bar Nunn, and Mountain View. Unincorporated areas include Allendale, Dempsey Acres, Red Buttes, Indian Springs, and several others.

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.

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 railroad expansion; 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.

Economy

Although relatively small by national standards, Casper is a regional center of banking and commerce.

Since 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 onset. 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 is located nearby in Evansville, Wyoming. Development of Wyoming coal and uranium fields in recent decades has helped Casper continue its role as a center in the energy industry.

The town was once significant in the Western sheep industry, although perhaps not to the same extent as some other regional cities. A meat packing plant was established in the neighboring city of Evansville in the 1930s and was closed in industrywide restructuring the 1970s.

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 World War Two bombers, has large runways and replaced a prior regional airport north of Casper which later became Bar Nunn.

Casper and the rest of Wyoming are served by the Casper Star-Tribune, a newspaper with statewide circulation. Casper College , a community college, is located in the city. The city is home to the Casper Troopers, a drum and bugle corps in Drum Corps International.

Notable residents

Geography and Climate

Casper is located at (42.834665, -106.325062). It sits at an average elevation of about 5100 to 5200 ft (just slightly lower than Denver).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.3 square miles (62.8 km²), of which, 24.0 square miles (62.0 km²) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km²) of it (1.32%) is water.

Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rec High °F 60 68 75 84 95 102 104 102 97 87 72 63
Norm High °F 32.3 37 46.9 56.1 66.4 78.8 86.8 85.3 73.4 59.5 42.6 33.6
Norm Low °F 12.2 16.4 23.1 29.3 37.9 46.6 53.2 51.8 41.7 31.8 21.3 14
Rec Low °F -40 -30 -21 -6 16 28 30 33 16 -3 -21 -41
Precip (in) 0.58 0.64 0.9 1.52 2.38 1.43 1.29 0.73 0.98 1.14 0.82 0.62
Source: USTravelWeather.com

Demographics

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/sq mi (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.

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