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Gillette, Wyoming
—  City  —
Location of Gillette, Wyoming
Coordinates: 44°16′58″N 105°30′19″W / 44.28278°N 105.50528°W / 44.28278; -105.50528Coordinates: 44°16′58″N 105°30′19″W / 44.28278°N 105.50528°W / 44.28278; -105.50528
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Campbell
 - Mayor Duane Evenson
 - Total 13.4 sq mi (34.7 km2)
 - Land 13.4 sq mi (34.6 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation 4,554 ft (1,388 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 19,646
 Density 1,469.5/sq mi (567.4/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
Area code(s) 307
FIPS code 56-31855[1]
GNIS feature ID 1609094[2]

Gillette is a city in and the county seat of Campbell County, Wyoming, United States.[3] The population was 19,646 at the 2000 census. Gillette is a small city centrally located in an area that is vital to the development of vast quantities of American coal, oil, and coal bed methane gas. The city calls itself the "Energy Capital of the Nation". It was incorporated on January 6, 1892, less than two years after statehood.


Reflections of an earlier Gillette

The late John C. Ostlund, a Wyoming Republican state senator, grew up in Gillette. Ostlund's father, Axel William Ostlund (1891-1982), a plumbing shop operator, was the mayor from 1952-1954. In his autobiography Quite a Life, John Ostlund recalls his childhood in Gillette:

"There were no paved streets in Gillette. In fact, it was not until my father was mayor . . . when Gillette got its first paved streets other than the two blocks of Main Street. The streets were sometimes covered with the local red scoria that quickly ground to red dust and for the most part, the streets were either mud or dust and seldom in between."[4]

Ostlund began the first grade, from he was quickly promoted to the second, in a two-room wooden structure that was the original courthouse in Gillette. That lot is now the drive-in facilities of the First National Bank.[5] Ostlund and his brother, Bob, took piano lessons from their mother. He recalled how Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were "the current rage at the movies. They danced in a way that caused every mother to wish for the same talents to show up in [her] own children. Gillette was hardly the tops in talent, but there was a lady named Sylvia Lipman who gave tap dance lessons". After relatively brief lessons, the Ostlund boys were called upon to perform the "Shadow Dance" before an audience that included Governor Leslie A. Miller.[6]

Ostlund continued: "In 1936 the school district approved a bond issue to construct a new school building for grades one through eight. My last year in the ancient yellow brick facility was sixth grade. How proud we all were to enter the brand new school . . . We had lived through the worst of the depression . . . and life seemed good. I don't recall ever showing concern about what Adolf Hitler was doing in Germany as we sailed through the junior high years. At the movies, newsreels showed pictures of Nazi banners in the background as Hitler ranted to huge crowds in Germany. At that time, the United States seemed blissfully content to be separated from wars or possible wars by two huge oceans. How the changing times were about to change our world as we knew it!"[7]

Ostlund entered Campbell County High School in the fall of 1941. The next year, he began working part-time at the Edelman Drugstore on the corner of Gillette Avenue and Second Street. The job involved working the soda fountain and serving the large number of lunch customers. The drugstore was originally built as the First State Bank, but after the 1929 stock market crash, the bank failed and closed. "In 1932, I was told my savings account at that bank was lost forever. I recall having trouble understanding what they had done with my money. It was probably less than five dollars, but it was all the precious money I had saved," Ostlund recalls in his memoir.[8]

A year later, Ostlund took as job on Gulf Oil Company seismograph crew. "They were paying the incredible amount of seventy-five cents per hour. They offered me the job, and I took it; in fact, you could say that I snapped it up quickly.. First I called [drugstore owner] Bill Edelman to tell himn I was taking a different job for that summer. He asked what wages I would be making. When I told him seventy-five cents per hour, he said rather sadly, 'I can't imagine what this country is coming to.'..."[9]

Ostlund recalled the seismographic work with fondness: That summer we covered a lot of country. We even worked around Moorcroft and the Devils Tower area. Most of the country we worked would later become oil-producing lands. . . . During the war, in an effort to save precious rubber and gasoline, the national speed limit was reduced to a mandatory thirty-five miles per hour. Consequently, we always drove carefully on the way to the job. Sometimes we would crowd that on way back home."[10]Ostlund went on to explain how while exceeding the speed limit, he accidentally killed a sheep standing in the road.[10]


Gillette is located at 44°16′58″N 105°30′19″W / 44.28278°N 105.50528°W / 44.28278; -105.50528 (44.282660, -105.505256)[11]. It is situated between the Big Horn Mountains to the west and the Black Hills to the east, in the Powder River Basin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km²), of which, 13.4 square miles (34.6 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (0.15%) is water.


Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1900 151
1910 448 196.7%
1920 1,157 158.3%
1930 1,340 15.8%
1940 2,177 62.5%
1950 2,191 0.6%
1960 3,580 63.4%
1970 7,194 100.9%
1980 12,134 68.7%
1990 17,635 45.3%
2000 19,646 11.4%

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 19,646 people, 7,390 households, and 5,113 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,469.5 people per square mile (567.3/km²). There were 7,931 housing units at an average density of 593.2/sq mi (229.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.50% White, 0.20% African American, 0.96% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 1.31% from other races, and 1.51% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.94% of the population.

There were 7,390 households out of which 41.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.4% were married couples living together, 10.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.8% were non-families. 24.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.2% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 31.7% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 6.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 103.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,521, and the median income for a family was $52,383. Males had a median income of $41,131 versus $22,717 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,749. About 5.7% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.2% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.



Gillette has one newspaper, the Gillette News-Record. Established in 1904, it serves all of Campbell County.


There are seven area radio stations. The Basin Radio Network owns and operates KIML 1270 AM, KAML-FM 97.3 FM, KGWY 100.7 FM, and KDDV 101.5 FM. KGCC 99.9 FM and KXXL 106.1 FM are operated by Keyhole Broadcasting, LLC. KUWG 90.9 FM, is a Wyoming Public Radio station.


Four television stations are available in Gillette: KTVQ (CBS) and KULR (NBC) from Billings, KSWY (NBC) from Casper, and PBS station K28CH is a local translator for KCWC-TV in Lander.

Special facilities

At Gillette, Wyoming there is a LORAN-C transmitter at 44°00'11" N and 105°37'24" W. Its aerial, a 213.36 metre high guyed radio mast, is the tallest structure in Wyoming.[citation needed]

Gillette-Campbell County Airport(GCC) is served by Great Lakes Airlines, United Airlines, and SkyWest Airlines. These airlines currently operate 10 flights to hubs in Denver, Salt Lake City, and Billings each day[13].

The Wyoming Center, a 9,000 seat arena located at the Cam-Plex just east of the city, was completed in 2008.[14]


Public education in the city of Gillette is provided by Campbell County School District #1. Gillette is home to Campbell County High School. Gillette College, a two-year college, is part of the Northern Wyoming Community College District.

Notable natives


External links

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