20 things you never knew about Casper

  1. Casper’s first two residents were: John Merritt and C.W. Eads. With a tent, a wagon, a sheet iron stove and some2016-05-26 08:14:51 cooking utensils they set up camp in the approximate location of McKinley and A Streets.
  2. The employees of a grocery store on the C.H. Townsend business block (NW corner of Second Street and Center Streets) slept in the building in beds surrounded by sacks of grain to protect them from flying bullets fired in the streets at night by celebrating cowboys. (c. 1888)
  3. Natrona County was named for the area’s Natron (carbonate of soda) deposits found in basins and lakes.
  4. The Wyoming state flag was decided on by contest. A.C. Keyes, a young woman not long returned from the Art Institute of Chicago and resident of Casper won the competition, which was sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, in 1916. Her prize was $20.
  5. The smell of burning Sagebrush meant the Indians were in town.
  6. Freighters, the forgotten men of the West, hauled anything that needed moving to the west: merchandise, construction materials, etc. They drove teams of 24 horses and pulled three wagons at a time.
  7. 1000 or more horses were used in freighting in the Casper area in the early 1900s.
  8. The first newspaper in Casper was named the Casper Weekly Mail started in 1888. The Wyoming Derrick was second and started May 21, 1890.
  9. Regular Casper City Band concerts were held in a mobile Band Stand at the intersection of Center and Second Streets.
  10. The first furniture store in town carried coffins in addition to the furniture. And the delivery wagon doubled as a hearse.
  11. The phrase ‘Powder River! Let ‘er buck! is a phrase that originated in Casper in 1898 on a cattle drive. It would later be a battle cry on the battle fields of World War I. Our American Soldiers used it and then even the French took up the phrase. And it all came about as the result of a prank played on ‘Missouri Bill’.
  12. In the early days of Casper range wars broke out between the sheep herders and cowboys. The cowboys thought that large herds of sheep ruined the land for grazing cattle. They would stand at the edge of a herd of sheep and shoot them one by one until they exhausted their stores of ammunition. Eventually they even resorted to killing the sheep herders as well. This went on for a while becoming more serious as time went on until it was proved that the belief that sheep ruined the brazing was false.
  13. The first train in Casper came June 15, 1888.
  14. The first oil refinery was built in Casper in 1895 on South Center Street.
  15. A curb market was opened in the Grand Central Hotel with a board outside on Second Street and stocks for local oil companies were bought and sold right here in Casper. Deals at these markets could make or break an oil company or oil man over night. Sometimes, if a new oil company opened because of a new oil discovery things got so busy outside on Second Street that the street became blocked.
  16. Casper’s first post office was located on the East side of Center Street in the middle of the block between Second and Midwest.
  17. In 1904 Casper staged an “Industrial Convention” as a bid for the Wyoming State Fair. There were exhibits, parades, rodeo events and ball games, amongst other things and was a huge success. Despite Casper’s best efforts however, Governor Joseph Carey gave the fair to Douglas.
  18. In 1895 nine men volunteered for the first fire department in Casper. The department was complete with a hose cart, 150 feet of hose, nozzle trumpet, but incidentally no water. The water system wasn’t established in Casper until 1896 after many failed attempts.
  19. The Casper Electric Company brought the first electric service to Casper in June 1900.
  20. The Rocky Mountain Bell Telephone Company was established in March 1902, with incoming lines only. two telephone operators, (a day and a night operator), and 49 telephones in service.
Kristin Schaeffer