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City of Cheyenne, Wyoming
—  City  —
Avenue in Cheyenne - view to the Capitol

Nickname(s): Magic City of the Plains; Capital City (of Wyoming); The Frontier City
Location in Wyoming
Coordinates: 41°8′44″N 104°48′7″W / 41.14556°N 104.80194°W / 41.14556; -104.80194Coordinates: 41°8′44″N 104°48′7″W / 41.14556°N 104.80194°W / 41.14556; -104.80194
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Laramie
Founded 1867
 - Mayor Richard Kaysen[1]
 - City 21.2 sq mi (57.9 km2)
 - Land 21.1 sq mi (54.7 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)  0.38%
Elevation 6,062 ft (1,848 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 53,011
 Density 2,511.4/sq mi (969.6/km2)
 Metro 81,607
Time zone Mountain (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) Mountain (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 307
FIPS code 56-13900[2]
GNIS feature ID 1609077[3]

Cheyenne (pronounced /ʃaɪˈæn/ or /ʃaɪˈɛn/) is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Wyoming and the county seat of Laramie County.[4] It is the principal city of the Cheyenne, Wyoming Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Laramie County. The population was 53,011 at the 2000 census, making it the second smallest city to be the largest city in its state, after Burlington, Vermont. Cheyenne is the northern terminus of the extensive and fast-growing Front Range Urban Corridor.



On July 4, 1867, General Grenville M. Dodge and his survey crew platted the site now known as Cheyenne in Dakota Territory (later Wyoming Territory). This site was chosen as the point at which the Union Pacific Railroad crossed Crow Creek, a tributary of the South Platte River. The city was not named by Dodge, as his memoirs state, but rather by friends who accompanied him to the area Dodge called "Crow Creek Crossing." It was named for the Native American Cheyenne nation ("Shay-an"), one of the most famous and prominent Great Plains tribes closely allied with the Arapaho.

There were many from a hundred miles around who felt the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad through the area would bring them prosperity. By the time the first track was built into Cheyenne November 13, 1867, over four thousand people had migrated into the new city. Because Cheyenne sprang up like magic, according to newspaper editors visiting from the East, it became known as "Magic City of the Plains"[citation needed].

Bird's eye view of Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1882

Those who did not leave with the westward construction of the railroad were joined by gamblers, saloon owners, thieves, opportunists, prostitutes, displaced cowboys, miners, transient railroad gangs, proper business men, soldiers from "Camp Cheyenne," (later named Fort D.A. Russell, now F.E. Warren Air Force Base), and men from Camp Carlin, a supply camp for fifteen[citation needed] northern army posts on the frontier.

As the capital of the Wyoming Territory and the only city of any consequence, as well as being the seat of the stockyards where cattle were loaded on the Union Pacific Railroad, the city's Cheyenne Club was the natural meeting place for the organization of the large well-capitalized ranches called the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. (See Johnson County War of 1892, the largest of the "range wars" of early Wyoming history).


Cheyenne is located at 41°8′44″N 104°48′7″W / 41.14556°N 104.80194°W / 41.14556; -104.80194 (41.145548, -104.802042)[5]. Lying near the southeast corner of the state, it is one of the least centrally located state capitals in the nation (together with cities such as Carson City, Nevada and Juneau, Alaska).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 54.9 km² (21.2 mi²). 54.7 km² (21.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.2 km² (0.1 mi²) of it (0.38%) is water.

Cheyenne, like most of the rest of Wyoming, is classified as semi-arid.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1870 1,450
1880 3,456 138.3%
1890 11,690 238.3%
1900 14,087 20.5%
1910 11,320 −19.6%
1920 13,829 22.2%
1930 17,361 25.5%
1940 22,474 29.5%
1950 31,935 42.1%
1960 43,505 36.2%
1970 41,254 −5.2%
1980 47,283 14.6%
1990 50,008 5.8%
2000 53,011 6.0%
Est. 2007 55,641 5.0%
State of Wyoming, U.S. Census Bureau, [8][9]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 53,011 people, 22,324 households, 14,175 families residing in the city, and 81,607 people residing in the Metropolitan Statistical Area making it the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Wyoming. The population density was 969.6/km² (2,511.4/mi²). There were 23,782 housing units at an average density of 435.0/km² (1,126.7/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.11% White, 2.78% Black or African American, 0.81% Native American, 1.06% Asian, 0.11% Pacific Islander, 4.44% from other races, and 2.69% from two or more races. 12.54% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 22,324 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $38,856, and the median income for a family was $46,771. Males had a median income of $32,286 versus $24,529 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,809. About 6.3% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.


Cheyenne's government consists of a mayor and a city council. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. The city council has nine members each of whom are elected from one of three wards. Each ward elects three members.[citation needed]


Public education in the city of Cheyenne is provided by Laramie County School District #1. The district is served by three high schools, Central High on the northwest side, East High on the east side, and South High on the south side.


The state of Wyoming operates a multitude of offices in downtown Cheyenne. Many area residents are employed by or are dependent on the U.S. Air Force, through F.E. Warren Air Force Base to the west of the city, or by the Wyoming National Guard. The Union Pacific Railroad remains a major economic force for the city and employs many residents.[citation needed]

Steps have been taken in recent years to diversify the city's economy. Lowe's and Wal-Mart both operate distribution centers on the city's outskirts. Sierra Trading Post is headquartered in the city and also operates its distribution and fulfillment centers in the city.[10]

Cheyenne's high elevation, coupled with its position on the continent, make it one of the windiest cities in America. The abundance of wind makes Cheyenne an opportune place to develop wind energy. Wind turbines are currently being placed around Laramie County. Laramie County Community College is home to a leading wind energy technician program, where students learn to maintain these turbines. The opening of a Vestas wind turbine blade assembly in nearby Weld County, Colorado, as well as other alternative energy manufacturing facilities around Colorado, are transforming the region into a center for alternative energy.

Great Lakes Airlines and Taco John's are headquartered in Cheyenne.[11][12]


Lions Park

Historic places

Over fifty different locations in Cheyenne are listed on the National Register of Historical Places, including:

  • the Atlas Theatre (added 1973)
  • Union Pacific Depot (1973)
  • the Governor's Mansion (1969)
  • Nagle-Warren Mansion (1976)
  • First United Methodist Church (1975)
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church (1970)
  • St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral (1974)
  • Cheyenne High School (2005)
  • Storey Gymnasium (2005)

Several districts in the city are also listed, including:

  • the Downtown District (1978, with boundary increase in 1980, 1988, 1996. Encompasses 205 acres (0.83 km2) and 67 buildings)
  • Lakeview District (1996, 350 acres 109 buildings)
  • Rainsford District (1984, 1980 acres 288 buildings)
  • Capitol North District (1980, 204 acres 112 buildings)
  • Fort David A. Russell (1969, 6300 acres 19 buildings)
  • Union Pacific Roundhouse, Turntable and Machine Shop (1992, 113 acres 2 buildings)
  • South Side District (2006)



Plaque depicting Cheyenne's street grid along with historic districts
Map of Cheyenne Road Network

Interstate Highways

I-25.svg I-25

  • North-South Interstate running from New Mexico to Wyoming intersects I-80 southwest of Cheyenne.

I-80.svg I-80

  • East-West Interstate running from California to New Jersey. Intersects I-25 southwest of Cheyenne.

I-180.svg I-180

  • North-South interstate that runs concurrent with US 85 from I-80 to US 30.
    (It is the only Interstate Highway that is not up to Interstate Highway standards along its entire route)

US Routes

US 30.svg US 30 (Lincolnway)

  • East-West route through Cheyenne

US 85.svg US 85 (South Greely Hwy., Central Ave. (Southbound), Warren Ave. (Northbound))

  • North-South route through Cheyenne

US 87.svg US 87

  • North-South through Cheyenne that runs concurrent with I-25 through Cheyenne

Wyoming State Highways

WY-210.svg WYO 210 (Happy Jack Rd.)

  • East-West route from I-25/US 87 (Exit 10) west out of Cheyenne towards Laramie

WY-212.svg WYO 212 (College Dr., Four Mile Rd.)

  • North-South route that forms a beltway around Cheyenne. From I-25 (Exit 7) to WYO 219

WY-219.svg WYO 219 (Yellowstone Rd.)

  • North-South route from US 85 in Cheyenne near the Cheyenne Airport north out of the city

WY-221.svg WYO 221 (Fox Farm Rd.)

  • East-west route from US 85 east to WYO 212 in Cheyenne

WY-222.svg WYO 222 (Fort Access Rd.)

  • North-South route from WYO 225 just southeast of Cheyenne and travels north to F.E. Warren Air Force Base and continues on its north route east of the city to WYO 221

WY-225.svg WYO 225 (Otto Rd.)

  • East-West route from I-80/US 30 southwest of Cheyenne west


Cheyenne is serviced by Cheyenne Regional Airport.


The Union Pacific and BNSF railroads intersect in Cheyenne. The city is home to a BNSF railyard, as well as the Union Pacific's steam program.

Fictional references to Cheyenne

In Philip K. Dick's alternative history novel The Man in the High Castle, Cheyenne is where Hawthorne Abendsen lives in his "High Castle", while in his post-apocalyptic novel Dr. Bloodmoney, it is the seat of a military dictatorship.

In the American serial drama Jericho, Cheyenne is the capital city of the Allied States of America, a separatist faction of the United States formed after a surprise nuclear attack on the country's major metropolitan areas. The population has swelled to nearly a million. The March 18th, 2008 episode ended with a shot of the city's skyline, which had been built up with skyscrapers since the attack due to the surge in population and political importance.

In the 1984 motion picture Red Dawn, Cheyenne is the farthest north that the Cuban, Soviet, and Nicaraguan forces have pushed American forces, according to the downed Air Force pilot.

In the motion picture Ready to Rumble, the two main protagonists go to a live WCW Monday Night Nitro in Cheyenne.

In the hit song by Garth Brooks, "Beaches of Cheyenne", Cheyenne is the city in which a cowboy dies in a rodeo. Guided by Voices have a song titled "Cheyenne" on Universal Truths and Cycles. A B-side off The Hold Steady's Stay Positive is titled "Cheyenne Sunrise" ("there's nothing like a Cheyenne sunrise to make us has-beens feel too old").

Country legend George Strait recorded a song called "I Can Still Make Cheyenne", in which a rodeo cowboy is informed via telephone call that his longtime sweetheart has met someone new and "he sure ain't no rodeo man".

Country singer Eric Church makes reference to spurring a bull in Cheyenne as something he had to do in life thinking that when he finally did it that he would become a man. The only thing he claims to have received from the experience is a limp he still has sometimes, in the song "These Boots"

Sister Cities

Cheyenne's sister cities are:

Notable natives and residents



  1. ^ Mayor's Office, Cheyenne. Accessed 2009-01-18.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Average Weather for Cheyenne, WY". 
  7. ^ "Historical Weather for Cheyenne, Wyoming, United States". 
  8. ^ Moffatt, Riley. Population History of Western U.S. Cities & Towns, 1850-1990. Lanham: Scarecrow, 1996, 338.
  9. ^ "Subcounty population estimates: Wyoming 2000-2007" (CSV). United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2009-03-18. Retrieved 2009-05-09. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Contact Us." Great Lakes Airlines. Retrieved on May 25, 2009.
  12. ^ "Contact Us." Taco John's. Retrieved on February 25, 2010.

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

CHEYENNE, the chief city and capital of Wyoming, U.S.A., and county-seat of Laramie county, on Crow Creek, about 106 m. N. of Denver. Pop. (1890) 11,690; (1900) 14,087, of whom 1691 were foreign-born; (1905, state census) 13,656. It is served by the Union Pacific, the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy, and the Colorado & Southern railways. It is situated near the southern boundary of the state, on the high plains near the E. foot of the Laramie range, at an altitude of 6050 ft.; the surrounding country is given up to mining (lignite and iron), grazing and dry-farming. Among the principal buildings are the capitol, modelled after the National Capitol at Washington; the United States government building, the Soldiers' and Sailors' Home, the Union Pacific depot, the high school, the Carnegie library, St Mary's cathedral (Roman Catholic), the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus, the Masonic Temple and the Elks' clubhouse. The city has two parks, and is connected by a boulevard with Fort D. A. Russell, an important United States military post, 4 m. north of the city, established in 1867 and named in honour of Major-General David Allen Russell (1820-1864) of the Union army, who was killed at Opequan, Virginia. The industrial prosperity of Cheyenne is largely due to the extensive railway shops of the Union Pacific situated here; but the city is also an important cattle market and has stock-yards. In 1905 the value of the city's factory products ($924,697) was almost one-fourth the total value of the factory products of the state. Cheyenne, settled in 1867, when the Union Pacific reached here, was named from the Cheyenne Indians. It was chosen as the site for the capital of the territory in 1869, and was incorporated in the same year.

<< Cheyenne (Tribe)

Thomas Kelly Cheyne >>

Simple English

Cheyenne, Wyoming
Nickname(s): Magic City of the Plains; Capital City (of Wyoming); The Frontier City
Coordinates: 41°8′44″N 104°48′7″W / 41.14556°N 104.80194°W / 41.14556; -104.80194
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Laramie County
Founded 1867
 - Mayor Jack R. Spiker
 - Total 21.2 sq mi (57.9 km2)
 - Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)  0.38%
Elevation 6,062 ft (1,848 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 55,362
 Density 2,511.3/sq mi (969.6/km2)
Time zone Mountain (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) Mountain (UTC-6)

Cheyenne is the capital and largest city of Wyoming, a state of the United States of America. As of September 2005, it had an estimated population (number of people living in it) of 55,362. It is the county seat of Laramie County.

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