Early Exploration to 1866

  • The Verendryes, French Canadian explorers in search of the Western Sea, are believed to have sighted the Big Horn Mountains before being turned back because of fear of the Snake, or Shoshone Indians.

  • Spain obtains Louisiana from France.

  • Louisiana is returned to France.

  • The Louisiana Purchase from France includes three-fourths of present Wyoming.

  • Lewis and Clark Expedition goes through Montana on way to West Coast. Sacajawea, Shoshone wife of Charbonneau, guide for the expedition, accompanies him and renders invaluable service because of her knowledge of the Indians and of the country through which they pass.

  • John Colter, who came West with Lewis and Clark, is credited with being the first white man to enter present Wyoming. He discovers headwaters of Snake, Green, and Wind rivers. Because of his unbelievable accounts of the natural wonders in Northwestern Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park is called "Colter's Hell."

  • Ezekiel Williams leads trapping expedition into Wyoming. Williams and other members of his party are known as "the lost trappers" because of their wanderings.
  • Manuel Lisa, of the Missouri Fur Co. (1807-20), hires Colter.

  • Edward Rose, a member of the Williams party, becomes the first settler in the Big Horn Basin.

  • John Jacob Astor, April 6, obtains a charter from the state of New York for the American Fur Co., a general title including all of his interests. He operates in the West under the name of the Pacific Fur Co.

  • Wilson Price Hunt's party, the first organized expedition in Wyoming, crosses the Continental Divide on its way to Astoria, Oregon. Hunt's Pass (Teton Pass) is named for him.
  • Andrew Henry carries fur trade west of the Rockies.

  • Robert Stuart, going eastward from Astoria, may have discovered South Pass as well as the natural roadway along the Platte. He is also credited with building the first cabin in Wyoming, on Poison Spider Creek near Bessemer Bend.

  • Florida Treaty gives Spain's claim to Oregon to the United States.

  • Mexico secedes from Spain.

  • The approximate date Jacques LaRamie, trapper, is supposed to have been killed by Indians. Landmarks in Southeastern Wyoming perpetuate his name.

  • The Ashley-Henry Fur Co., later known as the Rocky Mountain Fur Co., is organized.
  • Jim Bridger— trapper, trader, and teller of tall tales—comes West with the Ashley Expedition.

  • Ashley's men, headed by Thomas Fitzpatrick and Jedidiah Smith, cross mountains at South Pass and are credited with naming the Sweetwater and changing the name of the Spanish River to Green River, honoring one of his St. Louis partners. Ashley's men gather at the Three Crossings of the Sweetwater. This is a forerunner of the rendezvous.
  • Mexico acquires independence from Spain.

  • Ashley and his men, descending the Green River, are the first to navigate the stream.
  • First official rendezvous is held on Henry's Fork on Green River near Wyoming-Colorado border. Notices are posted ahead of time.
  • Ashley takes cargo of furs to St. Louis via Big Horn, Yellowstone, and Missouri rivers. On his return he follows land route and proves that it is more practical than going by water.

  • Rendezvous is held in Cache Valley (Weber River, Utah) . There, Ashley turns his interests over to Jedidiah Smith, William Sublette, and David Jackson, who reorganize the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. (1826-36).

  • Smith, Jackson, and Sublette bring the first wheeled vehicle, a four-pound cannon, across South Pass on the way to rendezvous held at Bear Lake, near the Idaho-Utah line.

  • Partuguese Houses, a forerunner of trading posts, are established on the Middle Fork of Powder River.
  • Rendezvous is held at Bear Lake.

  • First wagons ever brought to Wyoming take supplies to rendezvous on the Popo Agie, tributary of Wind River.
  • A second rendezvous is held at Pierre's Hole (Idaho).
  • The mighty American Fur Co. (1829-45) is organized by Astor on an operating basis.

  • Rendezvous is held on Wind River, thirty miles above mouth of Popo Agie. Smith, Jackson, and Sublette bring wagons loaded with supplies.

  • Rendezvous is held at Cache Valley. Another is held during the winter (1831-32) on the South Fork of Powder River.

  • Captain B.L.E. Bonneville takes first wagon train through South Pass on way to the rendezvous at Pierre's Hole, Idaho. It consists of twenty-eight wagons, loaded with provisions.
  • Bonneville establishes Fort Bonneville, a temporary post on Horse Creek, a tributary of Green River. It is so impractical it lasts only one month and is known as "Fort Nonsense" or "Bonneville's Folly."
  • The captain notes presence of oil in Popo Agie region.
  • Nathaniel Wyeth enters the fur trade.

  • Rendezvous is held on Horse Creek, near site of Fort Bonneville, six miles west of present Daniel, Wyo.

  • Fort William on the Laramie River (later Fort Laramie ) becomes the first permanent settlement in Wyoming. Its founders are Robert Campbell and William Sublette, for whom the post is named.
  • Jason and Daniel Lee, first missionaries, come West with Wyeth.
  • Rendezvous is held at Ham's Fork.

  • Fort William is sold to Fitzpatrick, Milton G. Sublette, and Bridger.
  • Rev. Samuel Parker, near present Bondurant, conducts first Protestant service ever to be held in Wyoming.
  • Parker and Marcus Whitman attend rendezvous at Horse Creek on Green River. Attendance is estimated at two thousand Indians and two hundred whites.
  • Whitman removes arrow from Bridger's back.

  • Fitzpatrick, Sublette, and Bridger sell interests to the American Fur Eliza Spalding (Mrs. H. H.) and Narcissa Whitman (Mrs. Marcus), the first white women to follow the Oregon Trail through Wyoming, accompany their missionary husbands. They impress Indians at rendezvous, held on Green River near Daniel.
  • Mrs. Susan B. Luman, born at Fort William, 1836, is said to be the first white child born in Wyoming.

  • Rendezvous is again held on Green River, this time twelve miles south of Horse Creek. Popularity of the rendezvous system is indicated by presence of about three thousand Indians.

  • Rendezvous on the Popo Agie, at the confluence with Wind River, shows decline in fur trade.
  • Jim Baker, noted trapper and guide, joins the American Fur Co. and becomes permanent resident in Wyoming.

  • Rendezvous is again held on Horse Creek, near Fort Bonneville. Little activity.

  • Final rendezvous, held on the Sisk-ke-dee (Prairie Hen, the Indian name for Green River), brings end to rendezvous period.
  • Father Pierre Jean DeSmet celebrates first Mass in Wyoming, near present Daniel, Wyoming.

  • Dr. Elijah White is first U.S. official sent to Oregon.
  • Only eighty travelers are believed to have followed the course of the Oregon Trail.
  • Fort William, now badly in need of repair, is rebuilt. The new, adobe-walled structure costing $10,000, is named Fort John, presumably for John Sarpy, a stockholder of the American Fur Co. The name Fort Laramie, which proves more popular than Fort William or Fort John, is attributed to the mistake of a shipping clerk.

  • John C. Fremont, "The Pathfinder," maps the trail and selects sites for military posts in anticipation of territorial acquisition on the West Coast.
  • Elijah White leads large party of missionaries and settlers across Wyoming.
  • Gold is discovered near South Pass.
  • Fort Bridger, the second permanent settlement in Wyoming, is established on Black's Fork.

  • Fort Bridger is opened for trade by Jim Bridger and his partner, Louis Vasquez.
  • Fremont's second expedition crosses Laramie Plains.
  • Approximately one thousand follow the trail along the Platte. Emigrants take domestic animals.

  • Fremont report is issued by Congress.

  • Texas is annexed to the United States.
  • Colonel Stephen W. Kearny and his dragoons march from Fort Leavenworth to Fort Laramie to impress the Indians, who are awed by the "cannon that talks."
  • Kearny sends part of his command to explore the Sweetwater.
  • Three thousand people follow the Oregon Trail.

  • Oregon is won by means of settlement.
  • President Polk approves act to establish military posts along the trail.
  • Francis Parkman visits Fort Laramie and studies habits of the Sioux.

  • July 4th celebration is held at "Independence Rock," which DeSmet previously called "The Register of the Desert."
  • Brigham Young leads first group of Mormons to Utah. His followers cause the route to be called the Mormon Trail.
  • Mormons improve roads and establish ferries.
  • First sheep are driven across Wyoming.

  • Mexico's boundary line is established, and lands north of the border are ceded to the United States.
  • Gold, discovered at Sutter's Mill (California), stimulates travel on the emigrant trail.

  • Fort Laramie, purchased by the government for $4,000, becomes a military post (1849-90).
  • The '49ers pass feverishly through Wyoming in their quest for gold.
  • Captain Howard Stansbury makes a reconnaissance for railroad route from Salt Lake to Fort Bridger.

  • High tide of migration is reached. Sixty thousand emigrants and ninety thousand animals, it is estimated, follow the trail in one season.

  • First mail route to Salt Lake is established by Hockaday and Liggett.
  • Stansbury completes reconnaissance for railway route.
  • The El Paso, the first steamship in Wyoming, sails up the Platte to Guernsey.
  • The Great Treaty Council, scheduled to be held September 1 at Fort Laramie, is moved to Horse Creek, in Nebraska, because of scarcity of grass. The ten thousand Indians in attendance have a corresponding number of horses. As a result of the move, the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851 is referred to as the Horse Creek Treaty.
  • By treaty, the Sioux are given lands north of the North Platte River; the Cheyenne and Arapaho, "between the rivers" (North Platte and Arkansas); the Crows, from Powder River to Wind River. No lands are assigned the Shoshones, guests at the council, as they belong in the Utah, rather than the Upper Platte Agency.

  • William Vaux, post chaplain, teaches first school in Wyoming, at Fort Laramie.
  • Forty to fifty thousand travelers follow the emigrant trail.

  • Fort Supply (1853-57), first agricultural settlement in Wyoming, is established by the Mormons near Fort Bridger.

  • Lieutenant L. Grattan and his command are killed by Indians, August 19, near Fort Laramie.

  • General W. S. Harney leads military expedition against the Sioux.

  • Mormon "Handcart Brigade" meets disaster in blizzard near Devil's Gate.

  • Colonel Albert S. Johnston leads Utah Expedition against Mormons in what is commonly called the Mormon War.
  • The Mormons, with five mail stations between Fort Laramie and Salt Lake City, set fire to them as they retreat westward.
  • The army takes over Fort Bridger, which had been occupied by the Mormons, and establishes Camp Scott as winter quarters.
  • Russell, Majors, and Waddell, who previously freighted between the Missouri and Santa Fe, start freighting business through Wyoming by transporting supplies for Johnston's Army.
  • Colonel E. V. Sumner leads troops against the Cheyenne Indians.
  • Lieutenant G. K. Warren, topographical engineer, explores the area from Fort Laramie into the Black Hills in Northeastern Wyoming.
  • Lander Cut-off, through Shoshone country, is surveyed by Colonel F. W. Lander.

  • Fort Bridger becomes a military post (1858-1890).

  • Russell, Majors & Waddell transport more than 16 million pounds of freight through Wyoming to Utah.

  • The Overland Express Company is established by Russell, Majors & Waddell, and the emigrant route acquires another name—the Overland Trail.
  • Captain W. F. Raynolds is sent on exploring expedition into Northern Wyoming.
  • Fort Bridger becomes a military installation.
  • September 18, the Deer Creek, unofficial council is held with the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho.

  • The Pony Express, eighteen months in duration, crosses Wyoming on the emigrant trail.
  • The second school in Wyoming is established, at Fort Bridger.
  • September 10, four Arapaho and two Cheyenne sign agreement relinquishing "the lands between the rivers" for the Sand Creek Reservation in Colorado. Other Cheyenne refuse to recognize this preliminary Fort Wise Treaty, made at Bent's Fort (Colorado) in September.

  • In the Fort Wise Treaty, effective February 18, the Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho lose their right to Wyoming lands.
  • Edward Creighton completes transcontinental telegraph line (the Overland Telegraph) across Wyoming, along the old emigrant trail.
  • After the Civil War breaks out, troops are withdrawn and Indian attacks increase.

  • Ben Holladay, "Stagecoach King," takes over equipment of Russell, Majors & Waddell.
  • Indian troubles cause the Overland Stage to be rerouted southward through Julesburg, Colorado, toward Denver, then northward on the Cherokee Trail, and over the Laramie Plains. It avoids the Sioux along the Platte but goes through Arapaho country in the Medicine Bow area.
  • The Overland Telegraph along the Platte continues to be used even after another line is built along the southern route.
  • The Federal Homestead Act (12 Stat. 413) is passed, June 2.
  • The first legal water right is granted to Meyers Land and Livestock Co.
  • Fort Halleck (1862-66) is established on the Overland Stage route.

  • The Bozeman Road, disregarding Indian rights, is established through the Powder River country as shortcut to Montana gold fields.
  • First newspaper in Wyoming, the Daily Telegraph, is published briefly by Hiram Brundage at Fort Bridger.
  • The first known export of minerals from the area is a cargo of soda shipped to Salt Lake City. Trona (native soda) deposits west of Casper give rise to the name of Natrona County.
  • General P. E. Connor is sent to Wyoming to suppress Indian hostilities.
  • Shoshone Lake is discovered by the DeLacey prospecting expedition.
  • First Treaty of Fort Bridger, signed by Shoshone Indians, recognizes their aboriginal domain as extending from the North Platte to Salt Lake, northward into southern Montana and southward into Utah and Colorado. Roughly it comprises 44,672,000 acres.

  • Bozeman Road arouses hostility of the Sioux and their allies, the Cheyenne and Arapaho. The Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado, November 29, unites the three tribes.

  • January 5, first proposal is made for the Territory of Wyoming. The name Wyoming, "Maugh-wau-wa-ma,” derived from a Delaware Indian term, is said to mean: "at the big flats" or "the large plains."
  • Survivors, fleeing from Sand Creek, smoke the war pipe with the northern bands at a grand encampment in Northeastern Colorado.
  • The "Bloody Year on the Plains," results. Beginning at Julesburg in January, the Indians destroy everything in their path as they sweep northward into Wyoming.
  • Lieutenant Caspar W. Collins, for whom Fort Caspar and Casper, Wyo., are named, is killed by Indians at the Battle of Platte Bridge (July 25) , the major engagement of the year. The military order establishing the post incorrectly designates it as Fort Casper.
  • General P. E. Connor, with Jim Bridger as guide, leads first Powder River Expedition and establishes Camp Connor, August 28. The name is changed to Fort Reno, November 11. On August 29,
  • Connor destroys 250 lodges of Arapaho under Black Bear at Tongue River. Colonel N. Cole and Lieutenant Colonel Samuel Walker, commanding two columns under General Connor, become lost; and they and their eighteen hundred cavalrymen are in starving condition when found. During a severe storm their horses die by the hundreds in the picket lines. The surviving six hundred horses are unfit for service. As a result, Connor is relieved of his command.
  • General Grenville M. Dodge and troops camp on Crow Creek while investigating feasibility of railroad route over Laramie Mountains.

  • Red Cloud walks out of peace council held with Sioux, June 5, at Fort Laramie.
  • Over Indian protest, Fort Reno (originally Camp Connor), Fort Phil Kearny, and a third post (Fort C. F. Smith in Montana) are constructed on the Bozeman Road. Fort Phil Kearny, "the hated fort on the Little Piney," is under constant attack.
  • Nelson Story drives the first herd of cattle through Wyoming on way to Montana from Texas.
  • Fort Sanders (1866-82) is established on the southern Overland Stage route.
  • The first book believed to be published in Wyoming is the Dictionary of The Sioux Language. About 50 copies are printed on a small army press.
  • On December 21, Captain William J. Fetterman and eighty men are ambushed and killed by Indians near Fort Phil Kearny. John "Portugee" Phillips rides to the Horseshoe Telegraph Station and on to Fort Laramie to report the Fetterman Massacre and request reinforcements for the beleaguered fort.


  • On January 9, Laramie County is created by Dakota Legislature, and it is organized within the month.
  • The Union Pacific railroad reaches Wyoming.
  • General Dodge, chief engineer for the U. P., chooses his Cheyenne campsite of two years before as a division point.
  • June 11, Indian commissioners urge peace in meeting with Sioux at Fort Laramie.
  • In Wagon Box Fight, August 2, Sioux suffer temporary defeat.
  • Town of Cheyenne is founded August 7, and incorporated, December 24.
  • Cheyenne Leader newspaper begins publication, September 19.
  • Fort D. A. Russell (1867-1930) and Camp Carlin (1867-1888) are established.
  • The Union Pacific tracks reach Cheyenne, November 13.
  • November 14, commissioners meet with Crows and Arapaho in council at Fort Laramie.
  • Carissa Lode is discovered at South Pass.
  • Fort Fetterman (1867-82) is built on the North Platte as supply center for forts on the Bozeman Road.
  • On December 27, Carter County (later Sweetwater) is established but not organized until early in 1868.

  • Peace councils are held with the Sioux, Crows, and Arapaho at Fort Laramie and with the Shoshones and Bannocks at Fort Bridger. Red Cloud refuses to sign Fort Laramie Treaty until the forts on the Bozeman Road are closed.
  • Wind River Indian Reservation, comprising about 2,774,400 acres, is created for the Shoshone and Bannocks at the Fort Bridger Council of 1868, but the Bannocks soon leave for Fort Hall, Idaho, where they prefer to live with their people. The Wind River Reservation, the only Indian reservation in Wyoming, is known as the Shoshone Reservation from 1868-78 because the Shoshone are the sole occupants.
  • July 25, the Territory of Wyoming is created by act of Congress.
  • In August, the forts on the Bozeman Road are abandoned, and the Indians burn Fort Phil Kearny.
  • Fort Fred Steele (1868-86) is established twelve miles east of Rawlins to protect railway builders and travelers on the trail.
  • December 16, Albany and Carbon counties are established by Dakota Legislature.
  • St. Mark's Episcopal Church is first church building in Cheyenne.
  • Crazy Horse leads three-day battle at Horse shoe Creek.

  • In January, Albany and Carbon counties are organized.
  • First census shows population of Wyoming Territory as 8,014. The territory is comprised of four counties (Laramie, Carter, Carbon, and Albany), each extending from the northern to southern border of the territory.
  • Wyoming Territory is organized and Cheyenne is designated as territorial capital.
  • John A. Campbell, appointed by President U.S. Grant, is inaugurated, April 15, first governor of Wyoming Territory.
  • With the creation of the Wyoming Superintendency, Campbell becomes ex-officio superintendent of Indian Affairs.
  • May 19, territorial government officially begins.
  • First Territorial Court is held, May 25.
  • By executive order, July 30, the Bannocks are granted a permanent home on the Fort Hall (Idaho) Reservation.
  • In September, first territorial election is called by proclamation.
  • October 12, First Territorial Legislative Assembly convenes.
  • November 4, Red Cloud comes to Fort Laramie to talk peace.
  • November 24, Legislative Assembly approves act regulating brands and protecting stockmen. (S.L. 1869, ch. 62)
  • On December 1, Uinta County is created from a portion of Utah and Idaho and annexed to Wyoming Territory.
  • The name of Carter County is changed to Sweetwater.
  • December 10, for the first time in history of the United States, an act granting woman suffrage is passed.
  • Union Pacific railroad is completed through Wyoming Territory.
  • Camp Augur (1869-70), later Camp Brown (1870-78), then Fort Washakie (1878-1909) is established at the Wind River Indian Reservation to protect the Shoshones from their traditional enemies.
  • It becomes unlawful to sell big game from February 1 through August 1.
  • First closed season on upland game birds is from February 1 through August 15.

  • Census shows population of 9,118 in Wyoming Territory.
  • February 17, Mrs. Esther Hobart Morris, who later becomes the symbol of woman suffrage, is the first woman ever to be appointed justice of the peace. She serves at South Pass City.
  • In March, women are empaneled by court order at Laramie for both grand and petite juries in a rigid test of the law. Mrs. I. N. Hartsough serves as foreman of the jury and Mrs. Martha Boies as bailiff, while women prove their capability as jurors.
  • April 7, Uinta County is organized.
  • First territorial election called by law is held September 6.
  • Mrs. Louisa Swain, of Laramie, casts first equal suffrage vote.
  • Fort Stambaugh (1870-78) is established six miles northeast of South Pass to protect miners in the area.
  • Washburn and Doane Expedition explores Yellowstone National Park region.
  • Cattle era begins. The first livestock brand in Wyoming, for "neat cattle, horses, and mules" is the letter "W" reversed to make an "M." it is recorded in the name of Eliza A. Kuykendall, of Laramie County. [According to Webster's New Unabridged Dictionary, 1938, p. 425, the term cattle "formerly" meant all domestic quadrupeds, i.e., sheep, goats, mules, horses, asses, and swine. "Neat" cattle are of the ox kind to distinguish them from horse, sheep, and goats, ibid, p. 1634.]
  • First homestead entry, in the name of Walter D. Pease, Johnson County, is recorded in the territory, December 5.
  • Wyoming has 34 manufacturing establishments, representing investment capital of more than one million dollars.


  • Legislature passes Militia Act, creating three Militia Districts.
  • Hayden conducts first geological survey in Northwestern Wyoming.
  • Though Governor Campbell terms equal suffrage experiment "an unqualified success," women are no longer called for jury service. Subsequent Judges contend that equal suffrage does not include jury service.

  • Yellowstone National Park is created, March 1, as the first national park in the United States.
  • The Territorial Penitentiary, built at Laramie, is damaged by fire.
  • By act of Congress, June 1, the President is authorized to negotiate for the southern portion of the Wind River Reservation. Felix Brunot, Chairman of the Board of Indian Commissioners, induces the Shoshone, December 15, to relinquish all of their reservation south of the North Fork of the Popo Agie.
  • In the Trout Creek Battle, Washakie effectively uses the rifle pit technique to ward off his enemies, the Platte River Indians.

  • The Wyoming Stock Growers Association (originally the Laramie County Stock Growers Association) is organized.
  • Penitentiary at Laramie is partly rebuilt.

  • July 4, Captain A. E. Bates destroys Arapaho Camp during the Battle of Bate's Hole, or "Bate's Battle," on No Wood Creek.
  • Lieutenant Colonel George A. Custer and the Seventh Cavalry camp in Black Hills on branch of Inyan Kara Creek, July 22-23, and he carves his name on a rock at the top of Inyan Kara (Stone-made) Mountain. Two of his men are buried on a hill above his campsite.
  • Gold is discovered in the Black Hills by a member of the Seventh Cavalry.

  • Professor Walter P. Jenney and his party of geologists conduct a mineral survey for the government in anticipation of the purchase of the Black Hills from the Sioux. Jenney's stockade, originally on Stockade Beaver Creek, is later (1933) moved to Newcastle.
  • The Black Hills gold fields are unofficially opened.
  • An iron bridge, spanning the North Platte River, is built at Fort Laramie. It still stands though it has been abandoned.
  • First hunting season on big game is from August 15 through January 15.
  • December 8, Crook County is created from Laramie and Albany counties, and Johnson County from Carbon and Sweetwater.

  • The Black Hills Stage Line operates on the Cheyenne-Black Hills or Deadwood Trail. Calamity Jane Canary and Wild Bill Hickock frequent the trail. Both are buried at Deadwood.
  • In spite of road agents, Mrs. Thomas Durbin, going by stagecoach from Cheyenne to Deadwood, carries $10,000 in her handbag for new bank.
  • Sioux resentment of gold seekers leads to the Indian War of 1876.
  • Fort Laramie serves as base of operations for military expeditions against the Indians.
  • Second Powder River Expedition, under General George Crook, leaves Fort Laramie.
  • Custer and his command are annihilated, June 25, at the Battle of the Little Big Horn in Montana. News of this mars the nation's first centennial celebration.
  • Cantonment Reno is established, September 22, three miles above site of old Fort Reno.
  • Dull Knife's Cheyenne Indian camp is destroyed, November 26, by General Ranald MacKenzie's eleven hundred troops.
  • The diamond hoax, on Diamond Mesa, at head of Rub y Gulch near Warnsutter, creates almost as much excitement as the Indian War of '76. Horace Greeley, the Rothschilds, and Tiffany are said to be among those fleeced by two prospectors who salt the mesa with precious stones brought from Holland.

  • Cantonment Reno becomes Fort McKinney (1877-95), named for Lieutenant J. A. McKinney, killed in the battle with Dull Knife.
  • Dinosaur bones are discovered near Medicine Bow.
  • Agreement is reached with the Shoshone Indians to allow the Northern Arapaho to move onto their reservation on a temporary basis.
  • March 3, Federal Desert Land Act is passed.

  • First telephone conversation is held between Cheyenne and Laramie, February 23.
  • About nine hundred Northern Arapaho are taken to the Wind River Indian Reservation under military escort.
  • Arapaho settle on the eastern side of the reservation, and a sub-agency is created for them at Arapaho, Wyoming.
  • Thomas A. Edison is believed to have conceived the idea of the incandescent light at Battle Lake.

  • Joseph Rankin makes his famous ride to Fort Steele to report the Meeker Massacre in Colorado.
  • Lotteries and games of chance are outlawed by Legislature. (S.L. 1879, Ch. 56)
  • Fish Commissioner is appointed by governor for propagation and culture of fish. (S.L. 1879, Ch. 42)

  • Population is 20,789.
  • The Cheyenne Club is built by cattle kings.


  • March 22, Cheyenne has first telephone exchange in Wyoming.
  • Big Nose George Parrott, leader of a Hole-in-the-Wall band of outlaws, is hanged by vigilantes in Rawlins.
  • May 10, Johnson County, originally known as Pease County, is organized.
  • The Ames Monument is built on Sherman Hill to honor Oliver and Oakes Ames for their efforts in making the Union Pacific Railroad a reality.

  • William F. Cody (Buffalo Bill) starts his famous Wild West Show.

  • The Reverend John Roberts establishes permanent Episcopal mission and manages government school on the Wind River Reservation.
  • Cheyenne has electric lights.
  • First oil well is drilled near Lander.

  • May 6, Fremont County, created from Sweetwater, is organized.
  • Father John Jutz selects location for Catholic Mission (St. Stephen's) on the delta formed by the Little and Big Wind rivers.
  • Laramie County is reputed to be the richest county in the United States.
  • First fishing season dates are set (June 1 through November 1).

  • January 22, Crook County is organized.
  • September 2, Anti-Chinese riot takes place in Rock Springs, also known as the Chinese Massacre.
  • U.S. Congress votes to pay Chinese $147,748.74 for their losses on the recommendation of President Grover Cleveland.

  • Northwestern Railroad reaches eastern border of Wyoming Territory.
  • The Free County Library Law (S.L. 1886, ch. 10. s.5), the first in the United States, is enacted by the Wyoming Territorial Legislative Assembly. First county library in Wyoming is established at Cheyenne.
  • Governor Warren approves act providing for a capitol building.
  • Commission is appointed to build the capitol (not to exceed $150,000), the university ($50,000), and an insane asylum ($30,000).
  • Legislature provides funds for an institution for the blind, deaf, and dumb at Cheyenne. The asylum was built in 1888 from the $8,000 appropriated by the legislative assembly, but the building was never used for the blind, deaf, and dumb.
  • Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad is completed to Douglas and named Wyoming-Central.
  • First bag limit is put on big game animals.
  • Winter 1886-87-Early spring blizzard brings disaster to cattle barons and contributes to bankruptcy of many stockmen.

  • May 18, Cornerstone of Capitol Building is laid at Cheyenne.
  • September 6, University of Wyoming opens at Laramie.
  • Buffalo Bill takes his Wild West Show to England for Queen Victoria's jubilee
  • Yellow Eagle, an Arapaho, is tried and convicted of stealing three horses claimed by a white man. Questioning his guilt, more than fifty prominent citizens of Fremont County sign a petition for his release; and Colonel Thomas M. Jones, Indian agent, intercedes in his behalf. On September 13, Yellow Eagle, the first Indian in Wyoming to be tried in the white man's court, is granted a pardon by Governor Moonlight.
  • The General Allotment Act (Dawes Act) is passed and the process of allotting lands to individual Indians at the Wind River Reservation begins.
  • "The Glory Hole," one of the largest open pit iron mines in the world, begins operations at Sunrise, Wyoming Territory, and continues to operate until this date (1974).

  • January 10, Tenth Territorial Legislative Assembly convenes in the unfinished Capitol Building.
  • March 29, Capitol Building is completed, and dedicated.
  • Wyoming National Guard is established.
  • Legislature appropriates funds (not to exceed $100,000) for penitentiary at Rawlins, but it is not occupied until December 14, 1901.
  • Converse and Sheridan counties are created and organized. Natrona County is also created but not organized until 1890.
  • The Fremont, Elkhorn & Missouri Valley Railroad (Wyoming-Central) connects Casper with the East.
  • Nonresident hunters are banned from Wyoming.

  • February 4, GovernorThomas Moonlight grants a full pardon, in response to the sheriff and others who made application for the release of a young man named Harry Longabaugh, also known as the "Sundance Kid," who was convicted of Grand Larceny and had been confined in the Crook County jail since August, 1887. He is commended for his "good behavior and earnest desire to reform."
  • Phillip M. Shannon, who later organizes the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Co., drills first well in Salt Creek Field, originally called the Shannon Field.
  • Casper, incorporated in July, has city ordinance making it unlawful for a woman "to use any vile, profane, or indecent language, or to act in a boisterous or lewd manner, or to smoke any cigar, cigarette, or pipe on Casper's streets."
  • Last wild buffalo is killed in Wyoming.
  • Nick Wilson, "the white Indian boy," who as a child Lived among the Shoshone Indians, is the first settler at Wilson, Wyoming Terrritory
  • July 20, James Averell and Cattle Kate (Ella Watson) are hanged as rustlers.She is said to be the only woman ever lynched in Wyoming.
  • Tubb Town (named for De Loss Tubbs) is said to have had an ordinance which stated that no strangers shall pass without paying a toll sufficient to "set up the bunch." The town is deserted when Newcastle, Wyoming Territory, is founded two miles away.
  • September 30, the Constitutional Convention, after prolonged debate, unanimously adopts Constitution for the proposed State of Wyoming.
  • In the November 5 general election, the Constitution is approved by a vote of 6,272 to 1,923.
  • Matt Warner and Tom McCarthy, of the notorious McCarthy gang, hole up for the winter in Afton, Wyo. Ter. According to local legend, they paper their bar with bank notes.



  • Yellowstone Forest Reserve, the first timber reserve in the United States, is established by President Harrison.
  • In February, U.S. Senator Warren introduces an unsuccessful Arid Land Bill,a fore runner of the Arid Land Act.
  • In June, Tom Waggoner,reputed to be a rustler, is lynched southwest of Newcastle.
  • July 4th, Major Frank Walcott suggests a "lynching bee" to members of the Wyoming Stock Grower's Association.
  • In August, an itinerant rainmaker, Frank Melbourne, shifts his activities to Wyoming.

  • The Northern Wyoming branch of the Burlington Railroad reaches Sheridan.
  • Johnson County is invaded by "regulators," stockmen and Texas gunmen, who try to put a stop to cattle rustling. [4] The abortive attempt, known as the"Johnson County War," or "Johnson County Invasion," is one of the most highly publicized events in Wyoming history.

  • The State Seal in its present design is adopted by the Second Legislature.
  • July 1, The Sheridan Inn, built by the Burlington and Sheridan Land Co., opens.
  • Arapaho chief, Black Coal, whom Bishop W. H. Zeigler called "the unsung hero of Wyoming," dies at Wind River Reservation. He is honored by his people, who place a monument in his memory at his grave in the Black Coal Cemetery near St. Stephen's Mission.
  • On July 4, Bill Rogers, in the presence of several thousand people, climbs Devils Tower, an accomplishment that is repeated two years later by his wife.
  • The panic of 1893 has depressing effect on Wyoming economy, and several large industries face bankruptcy. Coal mining is the most promising industry.
  • The state's first commercial rodeo is held in Lander.

  • Coxeyites, members of Coxey's Army, pass through Wyoming on their way to Washington to support General Jacob S. Coxey's public works project. They commandeer a train, recovered at Green River where fifteen leaders are arrested.
  • Sioux Chief Red Cloud, his son, Jack, and Dreaming Bear are jailed in Casper on their way to visit the Arapahoes at Wind River.They are accused of hunting without a license. Their fine, $20 each, is rescinded on promise of good behavior and their leaving town. On their return trip to Pine Ridge Agency, they are again brought before the justice of the peace on the same charge. The Indians agree to give bill of sale of Red Cloud's horse, wagon, and harness to cover the $80 fine and court costs.
  • August 18, the Carey Act is approved by Congress and signed by President Grover Cleveland.[5] It assures federal aid for Wyoming's irrigation projects. One million acres of arid federal lands are turned over to the state for reclamation and settlement. [6]
  • Estelle Reel, who is elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction, becomes the first woman in Wyoming to be elected to a state office.

  • An oil refinery is built at Casper. [7]
  • The Wyoming Historical Society is created, and a State Librarian is given custody of all historical property.
  • In October, Uinta County Sheriff arrests Race Horse, an Idaho Bannock, for "unlawfully"killing seven elk in the Jackson Hole area. The U.S. Circuit Court in Cheyenne holds that game laws do not apply to Indians.The case (No.163) is carried to the U.S. Supreme Court where the decision is reversed. An act (S.L.1897, ch. 25, pp. 48-49) is approved on February 19, 1897, to pay $1,421.50 for the Race Horse case expense out of the unused balance of an appropriation made by the U.S. Congress for the Constitutional Convention of Wyoming.

  • Through the McLaughlin Agreement of 1896, the government purchases the Big Hot Spring (Thermopolis) from the Shoshones and Arapahoes.

  • Big Horn County, created seven years before,is organized.
  • Cheyenne Frontier Days (rodeo), "The Daddy of 'em All," is founded.
  • Buffalo Bill's Rough Riders come to Cheyenne.
  • Rudefeha copper mine, located near Battle Lake in Carbon County, starts copper boom.
  • In 1897-98, Elmer Lovejoy builds Wyoming's first "horseless carriage" in his machine shop in Laramie.[8]

  • In April, the Spanish-American War breaks out.
  • Jim Baker, mountain man,dies May 15.
  • "Torrey's Rough Riders, "including about 600 volunteers from Wyoming, entrain in June for Camp Cuba Libre, Jacksonville, Florida, but do not reach their destination because of a train wreck in Mississippi.
  • In August, Wyoming National Guardsmen from Evanston arrive in the Philippines.
  • In December, Alger's Light Artillery,consisting of 125 Cheyenne men, reaches the Philippines.
  • The State Penitentiary is completed at Rawlins.
  • President McKinley appoints Estelle Reel National Superintendent of Indian Schools, and the Senate confirms the appointment.

  • Legislature provides for a State Game Warden and superintendents of Fish Hatcheries become game wardens. [9]
  • All out-of-state hunters are required to hire a guide, for a fee of $10.00. The first game license required for residents stipulates that a gun license shall be $1.00. [10]
  • First closed season on moose is enforced.
  • Legislature appropriates $1,500 toward the erection of a monument on the Capitol grounds in memory of Wyoming's Spanish-American War dead.
  • Provisions are made for reclamation of desert lands within the State of Wyoming. [11]
  • Butch Cassidy and Flat Nose George Currie are credited with planning the Union Pacific mail train robbery, June 2, at Wilcox. They dynamite a bridge to prevent the arrival of the second section of the train, and they escape to Montana with $60,000 in unsigned bank notes.

  • Census shows Wyoming population as 92,531.
  • Dale Creek Bridge, on Sherman Hill, is abandoned by the Union Pacific Railroad.
  • Washakie, who has served as chief of the Shoshones sixty years, dies at the age of 102 and is given full military honors when he is buried in the post cemetery at Fort Washakie.
  • Another great chief, Sharp Nose, successor to Black Coal, dies. He is the last of the Arapaho chiefs at Wind River to retain his Indian name and his two wives until the time of his death.
  • Grace Raymond Hebard wins state golf championship.


  • A law, passed by the Legislature, prohibits gambling.[12]
  • The State Legislature changes name of Stinking Water River to Shoshone River.
  • The Legislature appropriates $750 for purchase of bronze medals for the volunteers who served with honor in the Philippines.
  • Prisoners are moved from the Laramie penitentiary to the new State Penitentiary at Rawlins, December 14. [13]

  • Work starts on Wyoming's first federal irrigation project, the Sho­shone Project, which will reclaim about two hundred thousand acres of arid land.
  • Aspen Hill Tunnel, 5,900 feet long, is constructed on the Union Pacific Railroad line.
  • In July, two thousand sheep are destroyed and one herder killed by one hundred fifty masked men on the New Fork River in Green River Valley.
  • Shoshone National Forest is established by the Yellowstone Forest Reserve. It is considered the oldest national forest in the United States.
  • J.C.Penney opens his first dry goods store at Kemmerer. His stores are now in every state in the Union.
  • Big game licenses are required for the first time.

  • May 30, President Theodore Roosevelt takes a 56-mile horseback ride from Laramie to Cheyenne.
  • In June, a sixteen mile aerial tramway carries ore from Rudefeha Copper mine to smelter in Encampment.
  • June 30, Hanna mine disaster kills 171 miners.
  • A flour mill is built in Sheridan.
  • Tom Horn is hanged in Cheyenne for the ambush murder of Willie Nickell,who is believed to have been mistaken for his father.
  • At the Battle of Lightning Creek, a sheriff, a deputy,and four Sioux are killed when the Indians are apprehended hunting antelope in Southeastern Wyoming.
  • The Wapiti Ranger Station is established, the first ranger station in the United States.

  • In a second McLaughlin Relinquishing Agreement, the Indians cede to the United States more than one million acres of land lying north of Wind River.
  • By popular vote,in November, the people of Wyoming decide on the permanent location of the capital at Cheyenne, the university at Laramie, the penitentiary at Rawlins, and the insane asylum at Evanston.
  • Lander becomes known as "Apple City", Wyoming, because of the success of Ed Young's apple orchard on the Little Popo Agie.

  • Captain John J. Pershing marries Senator Warren's daughter, Frances, January 26.
  • March 3, one and one-half million acres of the Wind River Reservation are opened to settlement. This comprises lands remaining after allotments.
  • In April, the Wyoming Wool Growers Association is organized.
  • Saratoga & Encampment Railway is incorporated to develop Grand Encampment mining country.
  • The Wyoming State Board of Horticulture is created. [14]
  • The Governor's mansion is completed.
  • Board of Live Stock Commissioners abolishes official cattle roundups. State Fair is held for the first time, at Douglas, on grounds donated for that purpose by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad.
  • Vigilantes are organized in Jackson Hole to arrest "tusk hunters" who kill bull elk for their tusks.
  • Acts of violence against sheep men in the Big Horns indicate an all-out war by cattle interests. Sheep are clubbed to death, wagons burned, horses shot, and herders intimidated.

  • First auto accident is recorded in Wyoming.
  • Riverton town site is thrown open to settlers.
  • In August, a drawing is held in Lander for Wind River Reservation homestead land. A militia company is called from Douglas to maintain order.
  • September 24, Devils Tower becomes first national monument in the United States.

  • The 1885 Federal Fencing Law is enforced.[15] All unlawful fences must be removed by April 1.
  • February 20,an act is approved providing for the registration of births and deaths and establishing a State Bureau of Vital Statistics by the State Board of Health.[16]
  • Department of Immigration is created. [17]
  • Laramie, Hahn's Peak & Pacific Railroad reaches Centennial in Albany County.
  • Brewery is built in Sheridan.
  • Chief Medicine Crow brings one thousand Crow Indians to Sheridan on goodwill tour. Their show is considered the forerunner of All American Indian Days.
  • October, financial panic visits the nation. It is less severe in Wyoming than in the East.

  • March 28, Hanna mine disaster, involving two explosions, kills 58 men.
  • "New York to Paris" automobile race passes through Wyoming in March.
  • Casper has its first automobile.
  • Wyoming tops the list of wool producing states, with wool rated as its leading industry.
  • In October, a lottery is held at Bosler, Albany County, for 14,500 acres open to settlement at 50 cents an acre.

  • Park County is created from Big Horn County.
  • Seven prominent cattlemen are arrested in May for the Tensleep Raid (also called the Spring Creek Raid or Tensleep Murders) in which two wool growers and one sheep herder are killed.
  • A news story in the Cheyenne Daily Leader June 9,carries a "long" list of 125 licensed automobiles in the capital city. It states that there were 47 licenses in 1908; 29 in 1907; and 11 in 1906.
  • Registration of birth and death certificates is required by law, starting July 1.
  • Cattle brands, formerly recorded by county clerks, are centralized in the office of the State Board of Livestock Commissioners in Cheyenne,and the commissioners are required by law to publish a brand book. [18]
  • State General Hospital is established in Casper.
  • Legislative decision introduces large-scale, elk winter feeding program. [19]
  • All wildlife is declared property of the state. Killing wild game for heads becomes a felony. License is required to photograph wild game.
  • The Federal Government creates Shoshone Cavern National Monument near Cody. The site, which never sees much popularity, is later delisted and transferred back to local control. [20]

  • Wyoming population reaches 145,965.
  • The Shoshone Dam, also known as the Buffalo Bill Dam, is completed near Cody.
  • First Amendment to Wyoming Constitution is ratified.
  • Willis Van DeVanter is appointed associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Theodore Roosevelt visits Cheyenne Frontier Days.
  • Mrs. Mary G. Bellamy, of Laramie, is first woman elected to the Wyoming Legislature.


  • Seven new counties created by Legislature. Niobrara is formed from Converse; Campbell, from Weston and Crook; Goshen and Platte, from Laramie; Hot Springs, from Fremont, Big Horn, and Park; Washakie from Big Horn; and Lincoln, from Uinta.
  • Park County, created two years before, is organized.
  • Wyoming State Game Commission is created.
  • Pathfinder Dam, the first power, reclamation,and recreation project on the North Platte River, is completed.
  • Laborers, using hand picks,shovels, and burros, complete Wind River tunnel. It requires one year to progress 18 miles.
  • On May 25, USS Wyoming is christened .[21]
  • First airplane visits Wyoming at Gillette's Fourth of July celebration.
  • The Plains Hotel in Cheyenne and the Virginian Hotel in Medicine Bow are opened.
  • Mrs. Susan Wissler of Dayton is the first woman elected to the office of mayor in Wyoming.
  • Severe winter of 1911-12 causes heavy losses in the sheep industry.

  • Wyoming Industrial Institute for Boys is established at Worland.
  • Wyoming Legislature votes to license all motor vehicles through the office of the Secretary of State, the owner is issued a permit and a number he may use on a handmade plate.
  • In April, Joseph Seng is hanged in the penitentiary at Rawlins on a portable scaffold, similar to the one, if not the same one used to hang Tom Horn.
  • In October, prisoners mutiny in Rawlins and burn the broom factory.

  • The State Legislature requires uniform metal plates for all motor vehicles.Undated,these plates bear the state seal and a number.
  • Wyoming's No. 1 automobile license is issued to J.M. Schwoob of Cody.
  • The seven counties created in 1911 are organized. They are Campbell, Niobrara, Goshen, Platte, Hot Springs, Washakie, and Lincoln.
  • Cornerstone is laid for a $100,000 College of Agriculture building at the University of Wyoming.
  • Wyoming Industrial Institute for Boys is opened at Worland.

  • A sugar factory is built at Sheridan.

  • Non-partisan Judiciary Law is passed and approved February 24, 1915.[22]
  • The Workman's Compensation Law is enacted.[23]
  • Automobiles are allowed in Yellowstone Park for the first time.
  • August 27, Mrs. John J.Pershing (Frances Warren Pershing), daughter of Sen. Francis E. Warren, and her three daughters lose their lives in a fire at the Presidio in San Francisco.

  • A sugar factory is built at Lovell.
  • Bill Carlisle robs Union Pacific train.
  • Sunrise is made model town by Colorado Fuel and Iron Company.
  • September 28, Wyoming National Guardsmen depart for the Mexican border.
  • Stock Raising Homestead Act of December 29 opens to entry 640-acre homesteads suitable to stock raising. [24] Coal and other mineral rights are retained by the government.

  • The Wyoming State Flag,designed by Vera Keays, is adopted by the Legislature, January 31.
  • The Indian Paint Brush becomes the State Flower,also,on this date.
  • Homestead Exemption Act sets veterans' exemptions at $2,000. [25]
  • Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, the Liquor Prohibition Amendment,is declared in effect January 16.
  • State Highway Department is established. [26]
  • Mary G. Bellamy is sent to Washington to represent Wyoming women during the national campaign for the Nineteenth Amendment the nationwide suffrage bill for women.
  • Buffalo Bill,one of the founders of Cody,Wyoming,dies in Denver and is buried on Lookout Mountain,in Colorado.
  • Sugar factory is built at Worland.
  • Jim Baker's cabin is moved from Dixon to Cheyenne.
  • The East and West wings of the State Capitol Building are completed.
  • Wyoming male citizens register for World War I draft.
  • Oil wells are brought in at Lance Creek, in Niobrara County.

  • Wyoming purchases ten million dollars worth of Liberty Bonds.
  • Uranium deposits are found near Lusk.
  • In October, there are 780 fatalities from influenza in Wyoming.
  • State vote for prohibition carries three to one.

  • Wyoming breweries suspend operations during "national emergency."
  • First fishing licenses are issued.
  • The State Historical Board is created.
  • Royal Valley School, six miles south of Lusk, becomes the first standard school in Wyoming.
  • July 1st, prohibition goes in to effect.
  • President Woodrow Wilson stops in Wyoming several times during the year.
  • Bill Carlisle, train robber, escapes from penitentiary.
  • Act is passed by the Legislature to promote the public welfare by encouraging the establishment and maintenance of county memorial hospitals. [27]
  • St. John's Hospital, of Laramie County,1901, is incorporated, June 24,1919, as the "Memorial Hospital of Laramie County," having occupied the same site since 1883. It started, unnamed, in a tent in 1867 at the approximate location of the Greyhound Bus Station (now the Depot Plaza at 16th and Capitol Avenue).

  • Population is 194,402.
  • The Fifteenth State Legislature meets in special session, January 26,to consider irrigation districts and women's rights. lt ratifies an amendment to the Constitution of the United States,extending the right of suffrage to all women.
  • Transcontinental mail planes fly over Wyoming.
  • The Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is proclaimed, August 26. [28]
  • The White Custer Wolf,said to have killed $25,000 worth of livestock in the Gillette Canyon area over a period of nine years,is finally tracked down and killed by H. P.Williams,under instructions from the U.S. Biological Survey.
  • Wyoming has 24,000 autos.


  • The official State Seal of Wyoming in its present design is adopted by the Sixteenth Legislature and approved by the governor. lt becomes effective April 1.
  • The State Historical Department, originally the State Historical Society, is organized.
  • Teton County is carved from Lincoln County and Sublette County from Fremont and Lincoln Counties. To date, they are the last counties to be created in Wyoming.
  • State Game and Fish Department is established. [29]

  • Teton County is organized.
  • In strike situation, the Union Pacific stores a six months supply of coal along tracks.
  • The Teapot Dome Oil reserve is secretly leased by the government to the Sinclair Oil Company for development.
  • Standard Oil Company in Casper is said to have the largest processing plant in the world.
  • Cheyenne has a free campground for tourists, offering electric lights, hot and cold water, toilet facilities, shower baths, laundry tubs, a community house, boating facilities, and a community store.

  • Sublette, the last of the present twenty-three counties in Wyoming, is organized.
  • A tax of one cent per gallon is levied on all gasoline sold in Wyoming.
  • June 23, Governor William B. Ross issues proclamation convening Seventeenth State Legislature in special session to consider Farm Loan Act and agreements relative to interstate streams. [30]
  • Ninety-nine miners die in explosion at Kemmerer coalmine.
  • State Department of Agriculture is established.
  • The Memorial Hospital of Laramie County is dedicated to the memory of Frances Warren Pershing, daughter of Senator F.E. Warren, who died in a fire in California in 1915.

  • February 5, Joseph M. Carey dies at age seventy-nine, ending a long political career.
  • Senator Warren obtains a three million dollar appropriation for federal aid to night flying.
  • State receives $1,700,000 from oil royalties for schools.
  • Governor William B. Ross dies in office, October 2. Frank Lucas serves as acting governor until an election can be held to name his successor. Ross's widow, Nellie Tayloe Ross, is approached by the Wyoming Democratic Party and asked to run for the office
  • Nellie Tayloe Ross is elected governor November 5.
  • State Highway Department begins experimenting with treating gravel roads with oil.

  • Nellie Tayloe Ross, elected to fill the two years of her husband's unexpired term, is inaugurated as governor of Wyoming, January 5. She is the first woman governor in the United States.
  • Sinclair lease is upheld in the Teapot Dome case tried before Judge T. Blake Kennedy in Cheyenne.
  • Wyoming produces three and one-half million pounds of honey.
  • A gigantic landslide, the whole north end of Sheep Mountain, dams Gros Ventre River and forms Slide Lake,also known as Sudden Lake, and destroys the town of Kelley. The area becomes known as the Gros Ventre Slide.
  • Colorado River Compact is ratified by the State Legislature. [31]
  • "Layman" Game and Fish Commission is created, with six members appointed by the governor.

  • State Training School for Girls is established at Sheridan. It would later be called the Wyoming Girl's School.
  • Queen Marie of Rumania visits the state.
  • John E. Higgins, of Converse County, wills his estate of $500,000 to the State of Wyoming.
  • The State Highway Department estimates that tourists spent between six and seven million dollars in the state during the summer.

  • February 5, the Nineteenth Legislature adopts the meadowlark as state bird.
  • Wyoming Aeronautics Law is passed
  • State Department of Commerce and Industry is created.33
  • May 18, flood waters washout part of Slide Lake and a wall of water destroys the town of Kelly and kills six people.
  • Tuberculosis Sanitorium, later Sanitarium, is completed at Basin.
  • Congress passes act enabling the Shoshones to sue in the Court of Claims for that portion of the reservation occupied by the Arapa­hoes since 1878.4
  • October 10, Following the Teapot Dome scandal, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the oil property be returned to the government to which it legally belongs.

  • Cement plant is constructed in Laramie.

  • Senator Francis E. Warren dies at the age of eighty-five, after having served as U.S. Senator 1890-93 and 1895-1929.
  • Old Age Pension Act becomes effective June 1. 35
  • Each county is assigned a number to appear on its license plate.
  • The state has eighty-seven miles of oiled roads.
  • Governor Frank C. Emerson, in a proclamation dated December 5, calls special session of Twentieth Legislature.
  • Patrick J. Sullivan is appointed to fill the unexpired term of Senator Warren.
  • Grand Teton National Park is established.

  • Wyoming's population is 225,565.
  • KDFN, first radio station in Wyoming,starts operation in Casper, February 19.
  • Fort D.A. Russell is officially renamed Fort Francis E. Warren, honoring Senator Warren.
  • The Shoshone Indians at the Wind River Reservation elect the first woman member of their tribal council. She is Mrs. Irene Kinnear Meade, granddaughter of Jim Baker.
  • Wyoming license plates for motor vehicles are to be issued by the county treasurers, not through the office of Secretary of State as formerly. The County Treasurer transfers these funds to the State Department of Revenue.
  • Six thousand people celebrate the 4th of July at Independence Rock. In the 1930s, Wyoming is plagued by both drought and depression.
  • Wyoming has approximately 62,000 autos.



  • About 71 percent of the voters in Wyoming vote in general election for repeal of the prohibition law.

  • Casper-Alcova Reclamation Project is allocated $22,700,000.
  • Nellie Tayloe Ross is appointed Director of the U.S.Mint. The first woman to have this honor, she serves as director twenty years.
  • New Federal Building is completed in Cheyenne
  • Senator John B. Kendrick, age seventy-six,dies in office. His successor is Joseph C. O'Mahoney, assistant U.S. Postmaster General.
  • By proclamation, November 13, Governor Leslie A. Miller calls the Twenty-second State Legislature in Special Session, December 4-23, to consider a US Constitutional amendment repealing prohibition. By December, three-fourths of the states have ratified the Twenty-first Amendment.

  • Senator O'Mahoney is elected to full term in the U.S.Senate and serves from 1934-41.
  • Wyoming Air Service begins airmail route between Billings, Montana, and Cheyenne.
  • Taylor Grazing Act, allowing federal leasing of grazing land, ends the homestead era and establishes grazing districts for the sixteen million acres of federally owned land in Wyoming.36
  • In landslide, Democrats win every state elective office and majority of seats in State Legislature.
  • Wyoming has nineteen Civilian Conservation Camps (C.C.C.) camps during the depression years of the 1930s.
  • Nellie Scott, whose mother was an unidentified foundling on the battlefield, begins her first elected term on the Arapaho Tribal Council. Mrs.Scott, the second woman to serve on a tribal council at Wind River, has the distinction of having appeared on both tribal rolls. She was dropped from the Shoshone because of a technicality and placed on the Arapaho by Chief Yellow Calf.37

  • On February 19, Wyoming Day is designated as December 10 in recognition of the action of Wyoming Territorial Governor John A. Campbell, December 10, 1869, in approving the first law found any wherein legislative history which extends the right of suffrage to women.38
  • A legislative act, February 18, enables the State of Wyoming to comply with the Taylor Grazing Act.39
  • Wyoming has 2 percent sales tax.40
  • State Highway Patrol is established.4 1
  • Regulations relating to commercial motor vehicle traffic on Wyoming state highways are approved by legislature and enforced, March 1.42
  • Lethal gas is made official method of capital punishment in Wyo­ming. 43
  • Department of Public Welfare is established.44
  • Sixty-day divorce law is enacted.45
  • State Planning Board is created to recommend and initiate orderly planned development, improvement,and extension of public and private works, including soil and water conservation,mineral resources, propagation and protection of game and fish,education, health and social services,improvement of transportation and recreational centers.46
  • State Liquor Commission is created.47
  • December 10, the state observes its first Wyoming Day.



  • Republicans regain political control of the state.
  • Fort Laramie becomes 74th National Monument.
  • Alcova Dam is completed.
  • A final judgment of $86,364,677, less offsets, is reached in the Eastern Shoshone case against the government for lands on which the Northern Arapahos settled sixty years ago. After cost of the suit and the government's non-treaty expenditures are deducted, the balance paid to the Shoshones is about four million dollars.The case clears title to the lands which the Arapahoes have occupied on a "temporary basis" since 1878, and the Arapahoes become co-owners of the Wind River Reservation.
  • Arapaho Chief Yellow Calf (George Caldwell) dies, December 15, at age seventy-six.

  • Earl Durand, "Tarzan of the Tetons," kills four peace officers at Powell.
  • Lance Creek surpasses the Salt Creek Field in oil production.
  • All main roads in the state are oiled.

  • Wyoming's population is 250,742.
  • Wyoming celebrates Fiftieth Anniversary,and a commemorative stamp is issued. It displays a picture of the Great Seal of the State of Wyoming.
  • First radio station in Cheyenne, KYAN, begins broadcasting in October. It becomes defunct the following year.
  • KFBC radio station starts operation in Cheyenne, in December.


  • Legislature provides for a State Guard force and councils of defense.51
  • State Board of Probation and Parole is created to be effective April 1.52
  • Marriage and divorce records are to be recorded in State Department of Vital Statistics, effective in May.53
  • Jade becomes a commercial product at Lander.
  • George Hopkins, a parachutist, spends six days on Devils Tower before being rescued by professional mountain climbers.
  • Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, December 7, and the United States officially enters World War II days later. Wyoming is credited with 23,611 men and 515 women in military service.

  • On September 1, an Army Air Base is activated at Casper for final phase of four-engine bomber training.
  • Heart Mountain Relocation Center for West Coast Japanese, in Park County, has a population of 10,872 by October.

  • Wyoming has three military installations during World War II: an expanded Fort Francis E. Warren, Cheyenne, which is a Quartermaster Replacement Training Center; a new Army Air Base at Casper, built in the summer of 1942 for final phase of four-engine bomber training; and a prisoner of war camp at Douglas, constructed in 1943.
  • At the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, established in 1942 between Powell and Cody, more than 10,000 evacuees, primarily Japanese from the West Coast, are kept under surveillance by the War Relocation Authority until 1945. Two-thirds are loyal, American born citizens. They contribute more than 900 servicemen to the army, twenty of whom are killed in action.
  • In spite of war scarcity of essential goods, the Federal Office of Price Administration (OPA) keeps prices in line and discourages hoarding.
  • Rationing for various commodities, including shoes, sugar, and coffee is extended to include all foods.
  • Gasoline rationing allotment is four gallons a week.
  • March 16, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, setting aside more than 220,000 acres of land, establishes Jackson Hole Monument.
  • The National War Fund consolidates numerous causes in a single effort to raise funds. Wyoming exceeds its quota in each federal war loan drive, and bond sales exceed income tax collections.
  • Chicago and Northwestern and Burlington railroads consolidate parallel lines and eliminate eighty-seven miles of track west of Casper. This nets 30,000 tons of scrap metal to the salvage effort.
  • During the labor shortage women have an opportunity to prove their capabilities by filling a variety of jobs.
  • In June, the Female Labor Law is amended by the Legislature to increase hours to more than eight a day and days to more than five a week during the emergency. (Session Laws 1943, ch. 30)

  • The first session of the Wyoming Post-War Planning Committee is held in February.
  • In March, gasoline allotment is cut to two gallons a week.
  • As a part of the Civil Defense program, more than 9,000 people completed first aid courses.
  • Agriculture assumes new importance on the theory that "food will win the war!"
  • In a special session of the Legislature in April, the Soldiers Vote Act sets rules and regulations allowing servicemen who are temporarily away from their voting precincts to vote by mail in the general county, state, and national elections. (Session Laws 1944, ch. 2)
  • In June, Gasoline rationing is raised to three gallons.
  • In December, Congress votes to abolish the Jackson Hole Monument, which had aroused heated opposition in Wyoming, but the President does not sign the bill.
  • Though Wyoming does not attract many war industries (1941-45), its natural resources--coal, iron, and oil--prosper.
  • Frontier Oil Refinery at Cheyenne began operation.

  • In January the Wyoming Post-War Planning Committee is suddenly deactivated with the explanation that the army and navy feel that postwar planning leads to complacency, which hinders the war effort.
  • Wyoming Aeronautic Commission is established. (Session Laws 1945, ch. 64)
  • The Legislature passes the Junior College Bill in the form of an Enabling Act which authorizes any school district with an accredited four-year high school program to vote a special levy up to two mills for a junior college program. Casper College becomes Wyoming's first junior college. (Session Laws 1945, ch. 82, s. 3d)
  • The Legislature adopts a joint resolution memorializing approximately 35,000 men and women of the State of Wyoming in the armed services who "offered not only their endeavor and sacrifice but even life itself on the altar of our country, bringing glory and credit to the State of Wyoming." (Session Laws 1945, HJM 8)
  • Veterans are granted an exemption of $2,000 in assessed valuation.
  • March 7, the Army Air Field at Casper is deactivated.
  • May 7, Germany signs unconditional surrender
  • August 14, Japan surrenders. The formal Japanese surrender takes place aboard the USS Missouri September 2.
  • Wyoming mourns the loss of 1,095 men who were killed or died in the service during World War II. (The figure given above is from Wyoming's War Years, 1941-1945, loc. cit., pp. 339-349, which lists the names of the casualties. Letter from G. R. Bowles, Manager National SSS Operations, Washington, D.C., quotes Secretary of Defense official figure as 706. The discrepancy is made up by names supplied by relatives or draft boards in correspondence with the University of Wyoming War Memorial office.)
  • The Office of Civil Defense is disbanded.
  • The Selective Service System, the U.S. Employment Service, and the Veterans Administration (VA) help returning soldiers with their readjustment.
  • The Wyoming Stock Growers Association reports the cattle industry is on "the soundest basis in recent years." Price ceilings and stockpiling of wool complicate problems for the wool growers.

  • U.S. Senator Joseph C. O'Mahoney (D) and Governor Hunt (D), opposing what they consider too much centralized government in Washington, are elected while the four other state elective offices are filled by Republicans.
  • The battleship USS Wyoming is decommissioned, and the full silver service is returned to the donor, the State of Wyoming. (Session Laws 1911, ch. 70, House Bill No. 206) The following press release was compiled by the Archives and Historical Department, February 16, 1971:

  • "The full silver service of the battleship USS Wyoming has been in the custody of the State of Wyoming since the battleship was decommissioned in 1946. The magnificent service includes more than fifty pieces.

  • Perhaps the most impressive is the punch bowl, thirty-six inches deep, engraved with Wyoming scenes. A silver platter, measuring three feet by two feet, bears an intricate engraving of the state capitol building. Other pieces in the service include twenty-three punch cups, three entree dishes, two candelabra, two vegetable dishes, two goblets, two compotiers, a sauce ladle, a drainer fish dish, a plateau and waiter, a teapot, a coffee urn, and a water pitcher. All the larger pieces are engraved with navy insignia and the Great Seal of the State of Wyoming and nearly all have rococco ornamentation. Blue gentian decorates the edges of many of the pieces, as the Indian Paintbrush had not yet been designated as Wyoming's state flower when the silver service was purchased.

  • The silver service was presented for use on the battleship when the USS Wyoming was christened on May 25, 1911, by Miss Dorothy Knight, daughter of Jesse Knight, a former Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court. The people of Wyoming, complimented and proud in having the new battleship named for the state, had the Legislature appropriate $7,500 for the purchase of the silver. The presentation was attended by Governor Joseph M. Carey and U.S. Representative Frank Mondell.

  • When the ship was retired after thirty years service, a bill was introduced in Congress by Senator Lester C. Hunt of Wyoming, requesting that the silver set be given to the State of Wyoming. It had long been a custom to present silver services from battleships to the sponsor states when the ships were decommissioned. The bill, passed in June,1946, provided that "The Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized and directed to deliver to the custody of the Governor of Wyoming for exhibition, educational purposes and use by the University of Wyoming the name plate, the ship's bell and the silver service of the United States Ship Wyoming." When it was returned to the state the service was appraised at more than $46,000. The value is now substantially higher.

  • At the time it was built the Wyoming was the largest battleship in the world and the most formidable craft afloat. After participating in the naval review in New York on December 30,1912, it joined the Atlantic fleet and became the flagship of the commander in chief. During World War I she was assigned to the British grand fleet and participated in the internment of the German high seas fleet. She was also the ship that escorted the USS George Washington, with President Woodrow Wilson on board, to Brest, France, in 1918. She made a cruise to the Pacific with the Patrol fleet in 1925. She was modernized in 1927 at a cost of three and a half million dollars. After the London Naval Conference of 1930, the USS Wyoming was demilitarized and converted into a training ship. She was used in Chesapeake Bay for the training of more than 35,000 officers of World War II. Since all the notables who visited or inspected the fleet were entertained in the admiral's cabin during the years the Wyoming was flagship of the Atlantic fleet, many famous persons have used the silver service, including Queen Wilhelmina of Holland." (See Wyoming State Tribune, August 16, 1946. The sliver service, which was used for official state functions following its return, is now on permanent display in the State Museum)

  • The cottonwood tree (populus balsamifera) is adopted February 1, as Wyoming state tree. (Session Laws 1947, ch. 9)
  • A law is passed removing authority of municipalities to license drivers, and all drivers are required to obtain a license from the Drivers License Division of the State Highway Department. (Session Laws 1947, ch. 162)
  • Attempt is made to pass a Right to Work Bill but it is tabled. Another bill, to move the Wyoming College of Agriculture from Laramie to Sheridan, is withdrawn as not possible because of expense.
  • Governor Hunt is unsuccessful in his effort to secure a retirement system for state employees.
  • Fort F. E. Warren becomes F. E. Warren Air Force Base.
  • Heart Mountain is opened for veteran homestead entry.
  • The Game and Fish Commission establishes game management units.
  • Missouri River Basin begins construction of Kortes and Boysen dams.
  • Governor Hunt reports Wyoming Post-War employment is high.
  • The Board of Charities and Reform approves the appointment of the Wyoming State Welfare Department as an adoptive agency.

  • The University of Wyoming is flooded with World War II veterans who are taking advantage of the GI Bill.
  • In a special session June 28-30, the Legislature appropriates about $2 million for the university and other institutions. It also passes a hospital, federal-aid Enabling Act.
  • Constitutional Amendment No. 4 to permit a six-mill state tax levy for the support of public schools is passed on November 2. (Session Laws 1947, SJR 4)
  • Governor Hunt is elected to the U.S. Senate.

  • "The Blizzard of '49" paralyzes the state, causing heavy livestock loss. Governor Crane appeals to President Harry S. Truman for aid. Government agencies join the state in opening roads and in air-lifting feed to starving livestock.
  • The "Woman Jury Law" grants women the right to serve on a jury. (Session Laws 1949, ch. 61. infra, section on "Equal Rights.")
  • The last of World War II occupation troops leave South Korea in June.

  • The 1950 United States Federal Census shows Wyoming population to be 290,529.
  • A special legislative session is called to provide funds to meet a grasshopper infestation emergency. (Session Laws 1950, ch. 5)
  • Wyoming Home and Hospital for the Aged (now the Pioneer Home) is established at Thermopolis. (Session Laws 1950, ch. 6)
  • On February 20, the Yazzie case is filed in Albany County, and women are called for jury duty. The case is appealed when the lawyer for the defense questions the constitutionality of the so-called "Woman Jury Law." The Supreme Court decides that the word "men" in the Constitution means men and women and that they are equal before the law. (See infra, "The Significance of the Yazzie Case," in section on Equal Rights. See Mrs. Graf's account, ibid, of the mixed jury at Green River.)
  • The first mixed jury since 1871 serves in the May session of the District Court at Green River and Mrs. Louis Spinner Graf is its foreman.
  • In the next session, at Rawlins, Mrs. Daisy Conyers is foreman.
  • Uranium is discovered in Crook County.
  • In the 1950's, coal, which had been the state's most important mineral resource, is surpassed by oil and uranium.
  • In a compromise federal bill, the Jackson Hole Monument is abolished and most of the disputed lands involved are added to Grand Teton National Park.
  • A second Shoshone tribal case is tried, this time in the Court of Claims. It is unofficially known as the "Brunot Case" as it seeks to right the wrong done by the Brunot Agreement of 1872. (See infra, "Shoshone and Arapahoe Claims" in Section on "The Wind River Indian Reservation.")
  • June 25, Communist North Korea attacks across the 38th parallel that divides the two Koreas. On U.S. initiative, the United Nations Security Council authorizes United Nationas members to support South Korea. President Harry S. Truman at once orders U.S. Forces into the conflict (the Korean War).
  • November 22, a DC-3 Transport crashes on Mt. Moran in the Tetons with a fatality list of twenty-one.


  • The Natural Resources Board is created to replace the Wyoming Planning and Water Conservation Board. (Session Laws 1951, ch. 13)
  • The Legislature imposes a levy on the retail sale of cigarettes, and wholesalers are required to secure a license from the Board of Equalization.
  • Juvenile Courts are established by Legislature. (Session Laws 1951, ch. 125)
  • On April 1, the Wyoming Air National Guard 187th Fighter Squadron is activated into federal service because of the Korean emergency. Eight of the eighteen pilots called into the conflict are killed.
  • Major uranium deposits are discovered in the Pumpkin Buttes area in Campbell County.
  • In July, Armistice negotiations begin at Panmunjom and indecisive fighting continues on the Korean front.


  • Neil M. McNeice of Riverton locates the highly productive Lucky Me uranium mines in Fremont County, and Riverton is on its way to becoming the uranium capital of Wyoming.
  • All American Indian Days, an inter-tribal celebration, begins at Sheridan.
  • Wyoming State Parks Commission is created. (Session Laws 1953, ch. 99)
  • The State Historical Department is renamed the State Archives and Historical Department. (Session Laws 1953, ch. 143)
  • The Capitol Building dome is regilded at a cost of $900. The original specifications for the Capitol when it was built in 1886 called for copper. The gold leaf was put on the dome in 1900.
  • On July 27, Armistice is finally signed and a demilitarized zone is established in the general area of the 38th parallel in Korea. During the Korean War (1950-53), a total of 10,975 men from Wyoming serve their country, and there are 55 casualties. (Adjutant General's Office, Wyoming National Guard)
  • Tourism, one of Wyoming's leading industries, grows steadily during the postwar years as prosperity and more leisure time enable people to buy campers and trailers and enjoy the great out-of-doors. The spectacular scenery in the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Park, Snowy Range, the Continental Divide of the Rockies, the many points of historical interest, and the Cheyenne Frontier Days attract tourists to Wyoming by the thousands.


  • The Centralized Microfilm Department is created to microfilm state records for preservation. (Session Laws 1955, ch. 147)
  • February 12, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sends advisors to train South Vietnam's army.
  • The state motto, "Equal Rights," is adopted by the Legislature February 15. (Session Laws 1955, ch. 147) Cedant Arma Togae, translated: "Let arms yield to the gown" or "Let military authority give way to civil power" was the motto displayed on the territorial seal though it was never adopted by the state. The motto "Equal Rights" appeared on the Great Seal of the State of Wyoming in 1921, but it is not until 1955 that the Legislature officially adopts it. The state has several nicknames and slogans including: "Equality State," "Wonderful Wyoming," "Stop Roaming, Try Wyoming," "Healthy, Wealthy, Growing Wyoming," "Sagebrush State," "Big Wyoming" and the "Cowboy State."
  • "Wyoming," written by C. E. Winter with music by G. E. Knapp, is adopted by the Thirty-Third Legislature as the state song. (Session Laws 1955, ch. 103)
  • The Legislature reduces to $800 the benefit a veteran can derive from the $2,000 property tax exemption, and it abolishes a $500 property tax homestead exemption. (Session Laws 1955, ch. 175)
  • Uranium mining in Central Wyoming reaches large-scale proportions.
  • June 15, Cheyenne has heaviest rainfall in thirty years. U.S. Weather Bureau records 2.30 inches of rain in five-hour period on.
  • July 15, Solier Hall, a new "receiving" building, is opened at the State Hospital in Evanston. Plans are also drawn and funds appropriated by the Legislature for two additional buildings.
  • July 16, convicts at Rawlins seize three hostages and retire to new cell block where they hold out, demanding better treatment and food. Eighty of the rioters win a major point when the warden (Deane Miller) fires two guards they accused of brutality. On July 19 the Rawlins riot, first since 1912, is brought to a close without loss of life or injury, after fifteen hours.
  • Stanley D. Reser becomes the first male superintendent of the Girls' School at Sheridan.
  • On October 6, a DC-4 Tourist flight en-route from Denver to Salt Lake City crashes on Medicine Bow Peak, killing sixty­-six persons.
  • Casper College, Wyoming's first junior college, has formal dedication ceremony on October 22.

  • Congressional approval of the Upper Colorado River Project (Flaming Gorge area) makes better use of area water and produces electric power for Wyoming and six other states.
  • The state retirement law requires that all state employees over sixty-five years of age who want to continue on the payroll must be certified by their departments. The Wyoming Building Commission authorizes Glen Hendershot, building superintendent, to discharge all over seventy years of age.
  • The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways project is placed under the overall direction of the Federal Bureau of Public Roads. Individual state highway departments supervise construction by private contractors. The federal government's share in the cost of the interstate highway projects is 93 percent. Wyoming's first four-lane highway project is I-25 North.
  • Wyoming Boy's Ranch is founded by Captain and Mrs. James L. Berry near Glenrock.

  • The taxing authority of the state is drastically re-tailored as the Department of Revenue under the Board of Equalization.
  • The law establishing the office of State Fire Marshal as a sub-department of the State Department of Insurance is amended to designate that the office shall be a sub­-department of Labor and Statistics. The Commissioner of this department shall be the ex officio State Fire Marshal. (Session Laws 1957, ch. 257)
  • Minimum wage is set at seventy-five cents per hour. (Session Laws 1957, ch. 139)
  • Resident fishing licenses are separated from those for elk and deer.
  • The Legislature memorializes Congress against Federal Legislation to provide federal aid for school construction. (Session Laws 1957, ch. 95)
  • The Centralized Microfilm Department begins microfilming county as well as state records.
  • Casper fails in an attempt in the Legislature to require the State Highway Department to construct its proposed building there instead of in Cheyenne.
  • Cheyenne's Carey Junior High School is named honoring the memory of Hon. Joseph M. Carey, who served as governor and U.S. Senator from Wyoming as well as mayor of Cheyenne, and his two sons, Robert D., who also served as governor and U.S. Senator, and Charles D., an outstanding civic leader. A portion of the land required for the building was donated by heirs of Judge Carey.
  • In December, Governor Simpson commutes the death sentence of convicted 24-year-old Ernest Lindsay to life in prison with the stipulation that he can never be paroled. He follows the precedent he had set in the case of Clay "Tricky" Riggles in March. Riggles had been sentenced to die in the gas chamber at Rawlins in January, 1958.


  • Disregarding federal regulations requiring white stripes on interstate highways, the Legislature passes the yellow­ stripe act, requiring that the markings on all highways in the state be yellow on the premise that the color shows up better during snow storms. The Federal Highway Commission settles the matter by ruling that all states must conform or lose federal aid. (Session Laws 1959, ch. 30 and 179)
  • April 25, The Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney Gallery of Western Art (now a part of the Buffalo Bill Center of the West) at Cody is dedicated.
  • Sheridan receives All-American City award. (Session Laws 1959, HJR 5)
  • Trading stamps are prohibited. (Session Laws 1959, ch. 84)
  • Historical Landmark Commission, created by the Legislature in 1927, is transferred to the Archives and Historical Department. (Session Laws 1959, ch. 77)
  • The Legislature proposes asking Congress to issue birth certificates for foreign children adopted by American citizens. (Session Laws 1959, SJM 3)
  • An act is passed to enable the Wyoming schools to accept funds available to public schools through the provisions of PL 85-864, the National Defense Education Act for Public Schools. (Session Laws 1959, ch. 49)
  • August 17, a severe earthquake occurs at West Yellowstone (Montana) at 11:37 p.m. A twenty-foot wall of water sweeps down Madison Canyon and half of a 7,600 foot mountain comes crashing at the mouth of the canyon. Eighty million tons of rock create a dam that blocks the entrance and forms Quake Lake. The earthquake gives credence to the Shoshone legend that the mysterious Sheepeater Indians of Yellowstone Park were destroyed by a convulsion of nature.
  • October 2, the first Atlas missile arrives by truck from San Diego, California, at F.E. Warren Air Force Base.
  • On November 4, a milestone in history is reached again when the first airborne missile is brought on a Militacy Transport C-133.
  • The Lincoln monument is unveiled at the summit of U.S. Highway 80. The 12.5 foot, 3.5 ton bronze bust, work of artist Robert Russin of the University of Wyoming Art Department, was cut in Mexico City. It is placed on top of a 30-foot granite base.

  • The 1960 United States Federal Census shows Wyoming's population as 330,066.
  • On April 6 a statue of Esther Hobart Morris, a symbol of woman suffrage, is unveiled in Statuary Hall at the nation's Capital. The statue is the work of sculptor Avard Fairbanks, fine arts consultant at the University of Utah.
  • The Madison River Canyon earthquake in Yellowstone Park is opened for tourists.
  • Wyoming is second only to New Mexico in uranium production. It is estimated that the Wyoming deposits amount to more than fifteen million tons. Uranium industry employment is projected to expand from fewer than 2,000 workers in the 1960's to approximately 9,000 by the year 2000. (as of 1974)
  • Senator-elect Keith Thomson (R) dies of a heart attack on December 9. He is succeeded by J. J. Hickey (D), who resigns as Governor to accept the appointment made by Jack Gage, Secretary of State and acting Governor.
  • Other Wyoming leaders who have died during the year include: Tracy S. McCraken, publisher of a chain of six Wyoming newspapers; E. D. "Ted" Crippa, former U.S. Senator; Henry D. Watenpaugh, who had served five terms in the Legislature, was state director of OPA during the difficult days of World War II, and was instrumental in founding Northern Wyoming Community College; James W. Carroll, the first president of the Wyoming Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters and manager of radio station KWYO in Sheridan; C. A. Zaring, dean of Wyoming attorneys, who had practiced law since 1901 and who once represented Buffalo Bill Cody; Clara F. Mcintyre, a professor emeritus of English after having served at the University of Wyoming for thirty-five years; A. S. "Lon" Roach, a former warden of the State Penitentiary; Frank Flynn, former head of the State Industrial Institute at Worland; Glen Lewis, superintendent of the Wyoming State Prison Farm at Riverton; Edward M. Arnold, who parlayed a potato peddling job at historic old Fort Laramie into a fortune in ranches; Herbert J. King, pioneer Wyoming sheep man who was among the first to conduct research into culling and grading wool; and Mary Jester Allen, niece of Buffalo Bill, who was a publicity writer for his Wild West Show and a founder and director of the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody. She was one of the country's first women press agents and a writer for the Republican National Committee in the Harding-Coolidge campaign.


  • The issues at stake in the Legislature are reapportionment and federal aid to education.
  • The Legislature repeals the 1959 Enabling Act, making Wyoming the only state in the United States that cannot accept federal aid to education. (Session Laws 1961, ch. 145)
  • A new school for the deaf is created in Casper. (Session Laws 1961, ch 57)
  • On February 16 an act is passed to prohibit distinction, discrimination, or restriction because of race, religion, color, or national origin. (Session Laws 1961, ch. 103)
  • The Legislature appropriates $7,500 for a replica of the statue of Esther Morris in Washington to be placed at the State Capitol Building in Wyoming. (Session Laws 1961, ch. 180)
  • An appropriation of $15,000 is made for the purchase of Ft. Fetterman. (Session Laws 1961, ch. 190)

  • Test drilling begins in the Cheyenne area to determine potential sites for Minuteman I missiles.Twenty-four Atlas missiles now surround Cheyenne, providing the most powerful deterrent to aggression ever developed by man. (as of 1974)
  • A program of mass immunization of county residents against polio with the new Sabin oral vaccine is carried out June 10 by the Laramie County Medical Society.
  • Thyra Thomson is elected first woman Secretary of State in Wyoming.
  • Private land owners receive almost $20 million from oil and gas leases and royalties in Wyoming.
  • Pacific Power and Light Company begins construction of a $25 million generating unit at the company's Dave Johnston Steam-Electric Plant near Glenrock. It will be placed in service in late 1964. A new Coal Research Laboratory, costing $300,000 will also be built adjoining the generating plant. Since Pacific Power and Light Company acquired the electric service properties in Wyoming six years before, it has invested $76 million in the largest expansion of power generating and transmission facilities in the state's history.
  • A multi-million dollar iron ore mine and reduction plant built by U.S. Steel's Columbia-Geneva Division at Atlantic City begins operation near Lander.

  • Reapportionment of the Legislature increases the House membership from 56 to 61 and decreases the Senate membership from 27 to 25. (Session Laws 1963, ch. 22) All counties receive one senator each except Laramie and Natrona. They will have two.
  • In the State Legislatures in 1959, 1961, and 1963, more than half of the Senators are members of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.
  • The Legislature, in spite of strong opposition, adopts the "Right-to-Work" law. (Session Laws 1963, ch 39)
  • Two million dollars of the Common School Permenent Land Fund of the state will be invested in an emergency school school construction program. (Session Laws 1963, ch. 6)
  • The State Insurance Department is created. (Session Laws 1963, ch. 108)
  • Under a federal aid program, sheep make a comeback and Wyoming ranks second to Texas in sheep production.
  • The Child Abuse law is passed by the Legislature. (Session Laws 1963, ch. 36)
  • The Inheritance Tax is revised. (Session Laws 1963, ch. 139)
  • The United States has 16,000 "military advisors" in Vietnam under the Southeast Asia Mutual Defense Treaty (SEATO). It pledges to help resist Communist aggression.
  • On December 15 a bronze. replica of the Esther Morris statue in Washington is unveiled in Cheyenne.

  • Teno Roncalio (D) captures the lone seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Other Democratic victories include the reelection of Senator McGee and the control of the State House of Representatives, unusual in a predominantly Republican state..
  • Of the state's 62,400,000 acres, the federal government owns the mineral rights to 39,800,000 acres, private individuals to 17,010,000, the state to 3,700,000, and Indians to 1,890,000.
  • Farmers in the Third Division of the Riverton Reclamation Project are allowed to sell their unproductive lands to the government.
  • Mrs. Letha Dickinson, fifth grade teacher at Riverton, is named to the 1964 National Teacher of the Year Honor Roll.

  • The Legislature raises the sales tax from 2 to 2.5 percent, and it raises the minimum wage from seventy-five cents to one dollar.
  • The law prohibiting interracial marriages (Miscegenation Law) is repealed. (Session Laws 1965, ch. 4)
  • Resident bird licenses are separated from those for elk and deer, and the cottontail rabbit is declared a small game animal that requires a hunting license. (Session Laws 1965, ch. 184)
  • In March, the first U.S. Marines land in South Vietnam.
  • March 25, the 389th Strategic Missile Wing (Atlas Missile) is deactivated.
  • On June 30 the 90th Strategic Missile Wing is activated at Warren Air Force Base with 200 Minuteman I missiles. It is the free world's largest Intercontinental Ballistic Missile unit.
  • In contrast to the Atlas, which was a liquid fueled missile, the Minuteman I is a. three-stage, solid propellant missile with a range of more than 6,300 miles and a speed of more than 15,000 miles an hour. It weighs about 65,000 pounds and may be launched almost instantly from individual blast resistant underground launch sites.
  • Wyoming marks its 75th anniversary of statehood with a reprint of the July 24, 1890, issue of the Cheyenne Daily Sun, a 129-page booklet, Wyoming the 75th Year, published by the 75th Anniversary Commission, and numerous other publications and activities throughout the state.
  • Two restored buildings of the old historic Fort Fetterman are dedicated on August 23.
  • The largest individual cattle sale by a single individual in Wyoming's history, amounting to a total of 4,500 head of cattle, takes place at Lander August 31.
  • On October 8, the Federal Court decrees a reapportionment of State Senators. (see Infra. "Wyoming State Legislature, 39th Session")
  • An early snowstorm across South-Central Wyoming on September 17 strands about 4,500 travelers at Rawlins and causes an estimated $1 million crop loss.
  • Wyoming moose hunters establish a record-breaking season by killing 900 animals.
  • Andrew Pixley, 22, is found guilty of the murder of two girls, age eight and twelve. An appeal to the State Supreme Court is rejected and Pixley dies in the gas chamber in Rawlins December 10.
  • The Wyoming Air National Guard begins flights to the war­ torn Southeast Asian country to deliver Christmas presents to U.S. troops.

  • The Interior Department creates a new policy on land acquisition which protects the rights of private ownership of land within Grand Teton National Park.
  • Payments to Wind River Indians are reduced by increase in enrollment and a decrease in oil leasing activity. There are 1,971 Shoshones and 2,647 Arapahoes on the reservation.
  • Famed Sheridan Inn becomes the property of the Sheridan County Historical Society.
  • Wyoming is fifth in the nation in crude oil production. Crude oil and natural gas are produced in all but two of Wyoming's counties.
  • Wycon Chemical Company, a $3.5 million urea manufacturing plant, is located west of Cheyenne.
  • A new stamp is issued on August 25 in commemoration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Interior Department's National Park Service.
  • The Wyoming Air Guard moves more than 800 Vietnam wounded over worldwide flight routes and carries more than 2.8 million pounds of cargo, mostly war material.
  • In its early days, the Plains Hotel at Cheyenne was known throughout the country for its use of a picture of Little Shield, a handsome Arapaho tribal leader, as its trademark. His likeness could be seen on letterheads, on napkins, on menus, in tile on the floor at the hotel entrance, in a picture hanging in the lobby, and last but not least, in a neon sign outlining his features. If he had been living in 1966, he would have enjoyed as much as anyone the fanfare in his behalf. Headlines in the Wyoming Eagle and the Wyoming State Tribune tell the story:
    PLAINS HOTEL SALE ANNOUNCED (Wyoming State Tribune, February 26, 1966) "One of its best known features," states the Tribune about the hotel, "is a portrait of an Arapaho Indian Chief named Little Shield which hangs in the lobby, and which has become its principal trademark. Little Shield was one of the hotel's prominent early-day guests, and legend has it that he always washed his face and hands in the horse trough across the street and brushed the dust off his clothing before entering the hotel."
    PLAINS HOTEL SOLD (Wyoming Eagle, March 1, 1966) According to the record, the original 100-room hotel was built in 1911 by a company composed of Senator Francis E. Warren, T. A. Cosgriff, Dr. H. M. Bennett, George B. Abbott, and Fred Warren. The famed stop on the U. P. east-west route was later remodeled into a 200-room hotel.
    LITTLE SHIELD IS REMODELED (Wyoming State Tribune, December 13, 1966) The article states that Little Shield, the symbol of the Plains for nearly half a century, has survived the remodeling of the hotel but is not unscathed. In his new portrait, placed in the Fire House Saloon, the chief is shown wearing a black fire helmet, the inscription on which reads: "I - Plains Chief, Little Shield." To complete the picture, a feather is sticking through his helmet. [The new portrait fits the decor of the Fire House Saloon, but it does little to enhance the image of the personable Arapaho who was renowned for his perfect features and oratorical ability.)
    LITTLE SHIELD'S NEW FIRE HAT STIRS UP THREAT OF INDIAN WAR (Wyoming State Tribune, December 14, 1966) Chief Iron Shell of the Sioux nation takes up the cudgel in defense of his Arapaho brother. He says he will take the matter before the tribal council at the Rosebud Reservation. Former patrons of the hotel send in a flood of protests. A Texan wires a demand that the new portrait be "retired." He says he will not set foot in the hotel unless the original picture is put back in place.
    THE INDIANS ARE COMING (Wyoming State Tribune, Dec. 15, 1966) Iron Shell and a group of Sioux say they will come to Cheyenne and settle the Little Shield controversy. The artist who designed the portrait justifies his action by saying that he had to fit Little Shield into the decor in order to save him from oblivion. [The neon sign is gone and all else but the portrait and likeness in tile, which would be difficult to remove.]
    PALEFACES BOW ON LITTLE SHIELD PICTURE ISSUE (Wyoming Eagle, December 16, 1966) Iron Shell and six other Sioux dance in the lobby of the Plains, and Iron Shell orders the owner(then Ed N. Murray, Jr.) to restore Little Shield to his rightful place of dignity and honor above the elevator cage. After he rattles the cage with his war club, the original picture mysteriously reappears and is hung in its customary place. The visitors from South Dakota good naturedly shake hands with the owner and accept his invitation to a buffalo steak dinner next time they come to town.

  • Plans are made for an outdoor inaugural ceremony for Governor-elect Stan Hathaway as Wyoming's first such ceremony in its 76-year history. (Wyoming State Tribune, December 20, 1966) The Denver Post (January 3), refuting this claim, points out that he is the second, not the first, Wyoming governor to be inaugurated out-of-doors, but it fails to name the first. Research in the files at the Archives and Historical Department shows that the distinction goes to J. B. Kendrick. (Wyoming State Leader, January 5, 1915) Plans for a ceremony on the steps of the capitol for J. M. Carey had to be cancelled because of severe winter weather. (Wyoming State Leader, January 3, 1911) Subsequent research by State Archives staff has shown that both William A. Richards (1895) and Bryant B. Brooks (1905) were inaugurated out of doors.
  • Mrs. Stanley K Hathaway establishes a "Wyoming Library" in the Governor's Mansion with the help of the Wyoming Press Women. They start the project by presenting sixty-four books, novels, and collections of stories and poetry by Wyoming authors or on Wyoming subjects at a regional meeting of the Rocky Mountain Press Women in Laramie.
  • Jade is officially adopted as the state gemstone on January 25. (Session Laws 1967, ch. 2)
  • Pari-mutuel Act legalizes gambling on horse races. (Session Laws 1967, ch. 245) Subsequent amendments forbid gambling at 4-H fairs.
  • State sales tax is raised to 3 percent. (Session Laws 1967, ch. 232)
  • The ski area developed at Jackson becomes a favorite place for winter recreation.
  • The largest ICBM, a 103-foot Titan II with a space age display inside, is placed in front of the Capitol Building at Cheyenne where thousands of people see the educational display.
  • Old South Pass Historical Preserve is created by the Legislature. (Session Laws 1967, ch. 86)
  • Allied Chemical Corporation is to have a new $20 million Soda Ash Plant, a trona mining and processing complex, located at Alchem, 20 miles west of Green River.
  • The Whitney Gallery of Western Art in Cody acquires the statue "End of the Trail," by James E. Fraser. Sculptured in 1918, it was given to the museum by Clara Peck, who purchased it from the Delano family estate.
  • The Cheyenne Centennial is commemorated with a medal which depicts the state capitol, a cowboy astride a bucking bronc, and a railroad locomotive. Fort D. A Russell is pictured on the reverse side.
  • The celebration "From Arrows to Missiles," includes a variety of activities: the dedication of Warren Air Force Base Museum, a giant street parade, the re-creation of the tent city known as "Hell on Wheels," a wagon train from Ft. Laramie to Cheyenne, rodeos, gun shows, antique automobile shows, street square dancing, a concert presenting "A Century of Music," a six-week exhibit of early Western art and publication of a 100-year history of Cheyenne. In Holiday Park, the Union Pacific Railroad proudly displays "Big Boy," one of the largest steam powered land machines ever built. It weighs 1,208,075 pounds; it is 132 feet long; and it can carry 28 tons of fuel and 25,000 gallons of water. At Warren Air Force Base a Mace tactical missile is displayed along with a one-fifth scale model mock-up of the Titan III space booster which will be used in deep space probe.
  • The speed limit is set at 75 MPH for travel on interstate highways and 60 MPH on all other highways. (Session Laws 1967, ch. 213)

  • Governor Hathaway approves a Pentagon plan which calls for the Wyoming National Guard to halt cargo runs and concentrate solely on evacuation of wounded from Vietnam. Brig. Gen. John Carson, Adjutant General of the Wyoming Guard, says the Air Guard will begin the project full-scale in July. The Wyoming unit is one of three selected for the mission. Other units chosen are from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
  • February 22 marks a milestone in American aviation history and the Wyoming State Tribune tells how the U.S. airmail service was saved. (The below is an excerpt from the Wyoming State Tribune, February 22, 1968; See also Annual Report of Postmaster General, June 30, 1921, Washington, GPO; A Short History of Mail Service by Carl H. Scheele, 1970, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.)
    Airmail service which began in the eastern part of the United States in 1918 had gradually extended across the continent. On September 10, 1920, the first transcontinental airmail route was in operation. By late winter 1921, the transcontinental flights operating on a flying Pony Express system, had cut the time one way across the country to a total of ninety flying hours. Cheyenne was a division point on the route.
    The attrition rate was high-thirty to forty pilots who started the mail run seemed doomed to die in the line of duty. With a change in administration, the airmail service was scheduled to be discontinued.
    A last great effort was planned February 21, 1921, to show the country and the incoming Harding administration that airmail was worth being retained.
    A Cheyenne State Leader headline (February 23) boasts: "San Francisco to Omaha in 15 hours and 35 minutes."
    The account points with pride to the fact that the Cheyenne division of the airmail service and divisions to the West had done their full part, not without price. Pilot Capt. William F. Lewis had been killed on takeoff the day before at Elko, Nevada. When Jimmy Murray of Cheyenne rolled his plane to a stop on the grassy runway, a crew hauled the 300 pounds of mail out of his ship in two minutes and loaded it on another DeHavilland, piloted by Frank Yager, who them flew it to North Platte. From there Jack Knight took it to Omaha.
    It was in Omaha where Knight, suffering a broken nose resulting from a crash a week earlier, was informed his relief man had not been permitted to leave Chicago because of pad weather. Knight said he would fly the mail on to Chicago himself. After midnight, flying his cumbersome DeHavilland through snow and rain, holding the stick with his knees while he studied a map with a flashlight, Knight performed the feat that made him one of the heroes of the American Civil Aviation.
  • To commemorate the half-century that has elapsed since the first airmail service began interstate from New York in 1918, Bill Hackbarth, 69-year-old pilot, retraces the 3,000 mile airway route followed across the continent in 1920. He flies a 50-year-old open cockpit biplane. Hackbarth, a one-time mechanic on the old U.S. airmail service transcontinental route at Rock Springs, lands in Cheyenne April 30. Thousands of people turn out to see his plane.
  • When Interstate Highway 80 bypasses the Lincoln monument at the summit between Laramie and Cheyenne, it is moved piece by piece to a location beside the new highway.
  • Cheyenne's first telephone directory, printed about 1882, comes to light. It consists of one long sheet with instructions to signal the central office by turning the crank half around. When through talking, one is to give it another half turn.
  • The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes open most of the Wind River Reservation to surface prospecting for uranium and all other minerals except oil and gas and sand and gravel.
  • A $30.5 million phase of a steam-electric generating plant is completed near Kemmerer by Utah Power and Light Company.
  • Herman St.Clair, 67-year-old Shoshone tribal leader, is the first American Indian in the state to be appointed to a local draft board. He is appointed by President L. B.Johnson and will represent the Indian registrants with Fremont County Selective Service System and other boards in Wyoming.
  • On July 3, the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Wind River Reservation is celebrated with a reenactment of the signing of the Fort Bridger Treaty of 1868. Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, and members of Wyoming's Congressional delegation are among those invited to the celebration at Fort Washakie.
  • The Denver Post pays tribute to the Casper Troopers with a special supplement November 17, describing them as they appeared at Bears Stadium. The following is an excerpt from the account:
    "Dressed in replicas of the blue U.S. Cavalry uniforms of 100 years ago, and carrying well-polished bugles of all sizes, snare drums, rifles, and standards with flowing colors, the Wyoming group executed routine and technical maneuvers with unbelievable precision. While the Troopers marched snappily through spectacular formations, the sound of their music filled the stadium with a beat and a flavor never before heard. As the breath-taking performance ended they received a thunderous standing ovation.
    The founder and director, James E. "Jim" Jones, Jr., organized the Casper Troopers, a group of boys and girls ranging in age from 12 to 21in 1957. Jones, a building contractor, had the theory that the corps would be an excellent character building activity for Casper young people. The dedicated Troopers work hard and practice rigid self discipline. This has produced a unique 130-member marching unit that has captured world honors and has become a source of pride to all of Wyoming.
    The corps is the only such group in history to have won a national title with hom and drum linesincluding girls as well as boys. At the time they won their first major national title, the average of the corps was slightly less than 15.
    Marching in open, daring formations that invite the criticism of the judges, the Troopers have ushered in a new era of quality to the corps and added spectacular dimensions.
    It was in 1965 that the Casper Troopers won the World Open Championship and captured numerous titles during an extended Eastern tour.
    In 1966 the Troopers received the Veterans of Foreign Wars Nation al titles and placed second in the World Open. They were officially proclaimed "Wyoming's Musical Ambassadors" by the Wyomin g State Legislature in 1967. The title was justly earned as they have won the affections of fans all over the world.
    In 1968 they traveled more than 10,000 miles and brought home six titles, including the North American Invitational Meet in Toronto where they had an unprecedented four encores." (For further information see The Troopers - Profile, published by Trooper Promotions, Inc., Casper, Wyoming)

  • The Department of Economic Planning and Development (DEPAD) replaces the Wyoming Natural Resources Board. (Session Laws 1969, ch. 94)
  • A peak of 541,500 U.S. Troops in Vietnam is reached early in the year.
  • The Legislature approves an act providing for personalized prestige license plates. (Session Laws 1969, ch. 109)
  • The Legislature memorializes Major John Wesley Powell for his influence in developing Wyoming and a commemorative centennial stamp is issued by the U.S. Postal Department. His first exploration of the Green and Colorado River systems was heralded as a scientific achievement without parallel in American history and will be reenacted during the Powell centennial celebration.
  • One-third of the sheep population in Crook County is wiped out in a severe spring snowstorm April 24-26.
  • The new $1.3 million building addition at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, is dedicated on May 31.
  • A $24,289 contract for major development work at the historic Oregon Trail area near Guernsey is awarded by the Wyoming Recreation Commission. The contract includes development projects at the Oregon Trail ruts, at Register Cliff State Historic Site, and at the Guernsey State Park Museum.
  • First Wyoming season is announced on Rocky Mountain goats.
  • Mrs. Neltje Kings (Mrs. John), known as the "savior" of the Sheridan Inn, is the guest speaker at the annual awards banquet of the Wyoming State Historical Society on September 6. She purchased the Inn when efforts failed to raise enough funds to buy the famous old landmark. She did it, she said, because "I just couldn't stand to see such an important part of the heritage of the area torn down to make room for a parking lot!"

  • According to the census, Wyoming's population is 332,416.
  • Assessed value of Wyoming's minerals is $505 million, of which 94.5 percent is in coal, gas, oil, and uranium. Wyoming ranks first in the nation in coal reserves, second in uranium deposits, fifth in oil production, and seventh in the production of natural gas.
  • The Stagecoach Museum opens in Lusk on May 15.
  • Leslie A. Miller, who served as governor of Wyoming for six years, dies September 29 at the age of eighty-four. He is the second former governor to die in eight days and the third this year, the others being J. J. Hickey and Jack R. Gage.


  • Wyoming Controlled Substances Act designates the Attorney General as Commissioner of Drugs and Substances Control. (Session Laws 1971, ch. 246) A listing of all drugs and combinations is included in the law. The first statute relative to the control of drugs in Wyoming concerned the sale and use of opiates. It was passed in 1886.
  • The Public Housing Act provides for municipalities and counties to undertake low-rent housing for persons of low income. (Session Laws 1971, ch. 205)
  • The Juvenile Court Act of 1971 repeals certain sections of the 1951 Juvenile Court Act, reestablishing a new juvenile court system for the care, treatment, and rehabilitation of children who are delinquent or neglected. (Session Laws 1971, ch. 252)
  • Minimum wages are set at $1.40 per hour June 1-December 31, 1971; $1.50 per hour January, 1972 to December 31, 1972; and $1.60 per hour thereafter. The minimum wage for a tipped employee is set at $1.10 per hour. (Session Laws 1971, ch. 201)
  • Snowmobiling becomes a popular winter recreation.
  • The Legislature provides that the number of jurors in a civil case or non-criminal proceeding shall be six unless a written request is filed for the number of jurors to be twelve. (Session Laws 1971, ch. 168)
  • The Child Abuse Law of 1963 is repealed and the Legislature redefines child abuse and establishes a central registry for records of such cases. (Session Laws 1971, ch. 36)
  • Records of Wyoming's county school superintendents, an office established more than 100 years ago and abolished in 1970, are transferred to the State Archives.
  • The Legislature creates the following new boards, commissions and departments: Department of Administration and Fiscal Control (DAFC), Advisory Board of Drugs and Substances Control, Wyoming Beef Council, Career Service Council, Community College Commission, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, Legislative Service Agency-Management Council, State Board of Parole, Peace Officer's Training Commission, Personnel Review Board, State Board of Police, Wyoming State Department of Police, and Wyoming Real Estate Commission.
  • On February 20, eighteen-year-olds are permitted to vote, provided they are otherwise qualified. (Session Laws 1971, HJR 5)
  • The Forty-First Legislature authorizes the Capitol Building Commission to borrow up to $4.4 million to build a new State Office Building. (State Office Building West, later named the Hathaway Building)
  • On April 26 an Army C-47 plane crashes in Cheyenne and five die.
  • Minnie Mitchell retires after approximately eighteen and one-half years in state office.

  • Yellowstone National Park celebrates its centennial and a commemorative eight-cent stamp is issued. Like the five­ cent stamp issued in 1934 commemorating National Park's year, it depicts Old Faithful geyser.
  • The Supreme Court on June 29 rules against the death penalty as violation of the Eighth Amendment, prohibiting cruel and unusual punishment.
  • The Wyoming Stock Growers Association observes its 100th anniversary with a parade and banquet in Cheyenne during its annual convention.

  • The longest war in American history - the Vietnam conflict - comes to an end with an official cease-fire at 8:00 a.m. (Vietnam time) January 28. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, 5,700 men from Wyoming served during the war and there were 127 casualties. (US Department of Defense, courtesy Sen. Hansen's Office, 1974)
  • January 22 the U.S. Supreme Court overrules all state laws restricting or prohibiting a woman's right to an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. The Legislature fails to amend Wyoming's existing abortion law and the state is left without an abortion law.
  • With the cease-fire in the Vietnam War, the Department of Defense on January 27 ends the drafting of men for the armed service.
  • A lottery on March 8 selects draft numbers for men reaching their twentieth birthdays in 1974. A number is drawn for each birth date and those whose birth dates have the numbers from 1-95 form a "readily inductible pool" of about 500,000 men, according to Selective Service officials. Those with numbers 96 and higher will remain in category 1-H in which they were placed when they registered on their eighteenth birthday.
  • On June 30, legislation authorizing the draft since 1948 expires. However, the Selective Service System continues to be maintained on a standby basis. Eighteen-year-olds still must register for a possible future draft.
  • A crown of flowers is placed on the statue of Esther Morris after the Equal Rights Amendment is ratified by the Legislature.
  • The Wyoming Legislature restores the mandatory sentence of death for murder in the first degree, determined by certain factors. (Session Laws 1973, ch. 136. Ten factors are specified.)
  • The Legislature approves majority rights for nineteen-year­ olds. It also passes the Environmental Quality Act reorganizing the state's protective agencies and revising reclamation standards.
  • Wyoming's population of eagles, both golden and bald, drops principally because of weather conditions that inhibit migration, according to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The department estimates there are: 4,549 adult, 1,834 immature, and 2,694 golden eagles of undetermined age; and 608 adult and 79 immature bald eagles.
  • Any person who "takes" an eagle is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor. (Session Laws 1973, ch. 249)
  • Maj. Theodore W. Gostas, after being held prisoner by the Viet Cong five years, returns to his home in Cheyenne. Others from Wyoming previously released include Maj. Douglas Peterson, Laramie; Lt. Col. Wilfred Abbott, Mton; and Capt. Ronald Bliss, formerly of Cheyenne.
  • Wanda T. Banta, Cheyenne journalist, is the first woman in the 100-year history of the Wyoming National Guard to become a commissioned officer. She will hold the rank of major.
  • On August 1 the seven-foot tall statue of Esther Morris, after standing nearly ten years as the symbol of women's rights in front of the State Capitol Building, is knocked down and severely damaged in a traffic mishap. A band-aid is temporarily placed on the statue, which is repaired and replaced.
  • Inflation is the worst since World War II price controls were lifted, with higher food prices accounting for half the increase and gasoline and other fuels another 10 percent. Consumer prices are up 8.8 percent more than in the two previous years combined.
  • The energy and fuel shortage forces gas stations to close their doors on Sundays, and gas goes up to fifty cents a gallon. Wyoming is not as severely affected by the gas shortage as other parts of the nation where motorists wait in line to buy two or three gallons.
  • On November 8 in a message to Congress on the energy crisis, President Nixon states that there will be a reduction of 15 percent in the supply of heating oil and it will be necessary for all thermostats to be lowered at least six degrees to achieve a national average of 68 degrees in homes. There should be an equivalent of ten degree reduction in offices and other establishments. Governor Hathaway asks that people in Wyoming comply with the President's request.
  • The growing importance of coal development in the Powder River Basin comprises Wyoming's top story of the year, according to UPI. Editors and broadcasters taking part in the survey list the controversy over the abortion law as the next most significant story.
  • Twenty-year-old Cheryl Johnson of Cheyenne becomes Wyoming's first black Miss Wyoming.

  • On January 3 Helen Higby, librarian in the Fremont County Library, is the first woman to climb in midwinter to the 13,770-foot summit of Grand Teton Peak. She, her husband, and other members of the climbing party spend the night at 10,800 feet in snow caves.
  • On January 22 Wyoming's first "budget session" begins by adopting rules to limit the procedure involved in introducing a non-budget bill.
  • Mrs. Margaret Simpson, born January 24, 1874 and mother of Governor Milward Simpson, celebrates her 100th birthday at Cody. Her guests, little Indians from St. Stephen's Mission, are grandchildren of some of the students she taught at the mission in 1890. Mrs. Simpson dies March 10.
  • Senator Dick Tobin, Natrona County, resigns to have heart surgery. He is succeeded by Robert G. Kimball. Don W. Jewett becomes President of the Senate, a position held by Tobin.
  • Art Buck, Laramie County, takes the seat vacated by State Representative Peter Mulvaney, who resigned following the last legislative session to accept a position in another state.
  • Governor Hathaway signs the Slurry Pipeline Bill, conditionally authorizing the transportation of coal from Campbell County by means of a thousand-mile-long pipeline, using the lower level ground waters for movement of the coal in slurry form to Arkansas for a steam-generated power plant.
  • The state speed limit is reduced to 55 MPH, effective March 3, in accordance with federal speed limit reduction to conserve gasoline.
  • The Legislature authorizes issuance of multi-year license plates to be annually validated by a sticker.
  • State Office Building West is completed April. The original State Office Building (later renamed the Barrett Building), constructed in 1952, is designated State Office Building East.
  • Nearly $4 million is appropriated for a highway through the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation Area. Senator Hansen explains that the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 require that all federal projects be preceded by a study of the potential effect on the physical and social environment of the area.
  • The Legislature passes a joint tribute to Senator Elmer Kinnaman of Carbon County, who retires after thirty-four years of legislative service.
  • State Representative Elton F. Trowbridge, a veteran of nearly fourteen years in the Legislature, dies April 10. Trowbridge, who was a pioneer in organizing rural electric cooperatives in Wyoming, served several terms on the national board of directors of the Rural Electrification Administration.
  • Two amendments regarding the mill levy are accepted by the Legislature and will be presented to the voters in the general election in November. (as of 1974 publication)
  • On April 25 the Wyoming Supreme Court rules that state legislators are not constitutionally barred from seeking election to other offices during their term in the Legislature, making it possible for mid-term senators to run for governor. One senator comments, "It's an 85-year-old mystery laid to rest."
  • Two Casper men, Ronald L. Kennedy, 27, and Jerry L. Jenkins, 29, who are found guilty of first degree murder and rape by a Laramie County District jury, are sentenced April 30 by Judge John F. Raper to die in the gas chamber at Rawlins on September 25. The case is appealed to U.S. Supreme Court where the issue of the legality of capital punishment is under new consideration. (as of 1974 publication)
  • David B. Kennedy is named attorney general, succeeding Clarence Brimmer, who resigned April 23 to run for governor.
  • Within a period of four days in April, two light planes crash in Frontier Park in Cheyenne with no serious injuries reported.
  • Independence Rock is chosen for the focal point of the Bicentennial celebration in 1976.
  • Col. Tim McCoy is inducted into the world famous Cowboy Hall of Fame along with movie star John Wayne. McCoy served as Wyoming's Adjutant General from 1919 until 1922. His career included Wild West shows, circus acts, television, and movies. Now 83-years-of age (as of 1974 publication), he is still active in show business and has kept his promise to remain in the saddle longer than Buffalo Bill, who was active until he was seventy. McCoy passed away on January 29, 1978 at the age of 86.
  • Eight Russian state officials touring the United States arrive in Cheyenne and later take a raft trip down the Snake River. They also visit Yellowstone National Park.
  • The Union Pacific Old Timers celebrate the golden anniversary of their organization.
  • On June 3 the Esther Morris statue, damaged in August 1973, when struck by a car, is replaced in front of the Wyoming Capitol. It cost approximately $15,000 to repair the bronze cast.
  • Remains of mountain man, Jeremiah Johnson, who is storied in books and motion pictures, are moved from Los Angeles where he died in 1900 to the mountains where he trapped in the 1840's. Internment takes place on June 8 at Old Trail Town just outside Cody. Members of the seventh grade class in Los Angeles who promoted the plan are in attendance. Also, Robert Redford, who played the role of Johnson in the 1972 movie, and other notables attend the service.
  • Three main coal companies are operating around Hanna now to meet increasing energy needs and a fourth will soon start digging. Energy Development Company mines about one million tons a year and has the largest underground coal mine in Wyoming.
  • Fort Laramie National Historic Site celebrates the 125th anniversary of the acquisition of the old fort by the federal government.
  • Five public electricity suppliers group together under the name of Missouri Basin Power Project and file an application with the Wyoming Public Service Commission June 7 for authority to build a $700 million power generating complex in either Platte or Goshen counties, and possibly both. The coal-fired steam generated power plant would serve public power concerns and their consumers in eight upper Midwest and Western states.
  • Construction begins at the State Office Building East (renamed the Hathaway Building) on a new underground security vault. Humidity and temperature controlled, it will be used for the storage of camera negative microfilm maintained by the Wyoming State Archives and Historical Department. Records converted to the nearly 1,800,000 lineal feet of microfilm represent over 44,000 cubic feet of state and political subdivision files created prior to statehood up to current date. Of special importance are the County Clerk's early land records, which have been converted to microfilm by the department and will be preserved in this vault for future generations to use. (This vault is no longer in use)
  • Governor Hathaway, completing his eighth year in office, has the record of having served longer than any of Wyoming's other twenty-six governors. Campbell, Brooks, Miller, and Hunt each served as governor six years.
  • Wyoming's jobless rate fell to 3 percent, the lowest unemployment rate in the nation.
  • The 1974 legislature gave necessary approvals for Energy Transportation System's coal slurry pipeline from northeastern Wyoming to Arkansas.
  • Gerald R. Ford, son of former Riverton businessman Leslie H. King, assumed the presidency of the United States following the resignation of Richard Nixon.
  • 18-year-old Indiana girl walked out of the wilderness near Dubois after surviving an airplane crash that killed two and seriously injured another.
  • Two-term Republican governor Stan Hathaway decided not to run for a third term and Democrat Ed Herschler, a 56-year-old lawyer from Kemmerer, was elected. Democrats did well across the state gaining a 15-15 split in the Senate and leaving the Republicans with only a 2-vote advantage in the House.
  • Three students from the National Outdoor Leadership School in Lander were killed by an avalanche on a winter expedition in the Teton Mountains.
  • Karen Morris of Cheyenne was named America's Junior Miss.
  • Workers at the Wyoming State Training School in Lander threatened to go on strike after Governor Hathaway refused to recognize the Retail Clerks' Union as their bargaining agent.
  • Construction of a resort lodge on private land inside the boundaries of the Wind River Indian Reservation touched off conflicts between Indians and non-Indians in the Wind River Valley. The tribes closed the reservation to all non-Indian fishermen.

  • The first major state office building constructed in almost a quarter-century was dedicated by outgoing governor Stan Hathaway. Initially referred to as State Office Building West, the structure later became known as the Hathaway Building.
  • A Sierra Club lawsuit halted development of coal resources in the Powder River Basin. Some layoffs occurred and state treasurer Ed Witzenburger predicted the stoppage could cost the state $28 million in mineral severance taxes over a three year period.
  • A consortium of six companies began seeking permits to construct the $1.3 billion Laramie River Station power plant near Wheat­land.
  • Press reports called Wyoming uranium exploration activity "almost frantic." As many as 50 exploration companies were busy with a 30 percent increase in core drilling activity reported during the year. The most active areas were the Powder River Basin and the Red Desert.
  • Former governor Stan Hathaway was appointed as Secretary of the Interior by President Gerald Ford. Hathaway's appointment was confirmed on June 11 and six weeks later he was hospitalized suffering from exhaustion, depression and a mild case of diabetes. He resigned on July 25.
  • The State of Wyoming unsuccessfully challenged a federal ban on predator controls considered essential by Wyoming sheepmen.
  • The Wyoming Legislature made a major change in the way it functions. Legislators voted to approve a constitutional amendment that set aside 20-day legislative sessions in even numbered years strictly for the purpose of establishing budgets. Wyoming voters later ratified the amendment.
  • Ed Herschler vetoed more bills in his first legislative session as governor than Stan Hathaway did in eight years as governor.

  • The Wyoming Cowboys football team competed in the Fiesta Bowl but lost to Oklahoma 41-7.
  • The Public Service Commission approved natural gas rate increases of as much as 60 percent for Northern Gas and Northern Utilities companies. The rate increases were based on higher wholesale costs charged by Amoco Production Company.
  • Gale McGee ended 18 years of service in the U.S. Senate when he was defeated by Sheridan legislator Malcolm Wallop.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the Sierra Club and thereby ended an injunction which had stopped development of coal resources in the Powder River Basin. Four major coal mining projects moved forward in Campbell County. A new town,­ Wright, was established to house workers at Atlantic Richfield's Black Thunder Coal Mine.
  • Wyoming celebrates the national bicentennial.
  • State office buildings are renamed by the Capitol Building Commission in honor of the governors in office at the time of their construction. The Hathaway Building, Barrett Building and Emerson Building are the first to be renamed. As additional buildings are purchased and built, the naming tradition continues.

  • Neil Compton, director of the state Criminal Investigation Division rocked the state with a May news conference in which he accused a number of state officials of wrongdoing. Governor Herschler fired Compton the next day and then asked the Wyoming Supreme Court to appoint a special investigator to look into the allegations. Sheridan lawyer Lawrence Yonkee was named to the post and later a statewide grand jury was impaneled.
  • President Jimmy Carter asked Congress to eliminate funding for two major Wyoming water projects. When the dust had cleared, the $75 million Savery Pothook Reclamation Project was halted but the $27 million Lyman Project was retained.
  • Drought conditions forced some Wyoming communities to ration municipal water supplies. An unusually light snowpack in the mountains resulted in problems for farmers in southwestern Wyo­ming and President Carter named several counties as drought emergency areas making farmers and ranchers eligible for federal assistance.
  • The Wyoming Legislature approved a series of bills to help the state and communities cope with rapidly expanding mining activity. A capital facilities fund was established and increased severance taxes on coal, trona and uranium were earmarked for the fund. Additional taxes on coal and uranium were put in place and revenues were designated for water development, highways, and the state's general fund.
  • The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled the state's death penalty un­constitutional. The Wyoming Legislature was in session at the time and immediately passed a new death penalty bill.
  • A bill sponsored by Natrona County representative Patrick H. Mee­nan called for the removal of the state capitol from Cheyenne to Casper. The bill never made it off general file.
  • A mysterious bomb blast on August 7 killed Evanston attorney Vincent Vehar and two members of his family.
  • An oil well explosion and fire killed four workers and injured two others northwest of Rawlins.
  • Air Force jet crashed into the stock holding pens at the Cheyenne Frontier Days rodeo grounds killing the pilot and injuring a bystander.

  • Rock Springs Public Safety Director Ed Cantrell was charged with first-degree murder for the shooting of undercover drug investigator Michael Rosa. Rosa was shot between the eyes as he sat in a car outside a Rock Springs bar with Cantrell and other members of the Rock Springs police force.
  • A state grand jury called to investigate charges of wrongdoing by state officials completed almost a year of work after indicting 25 people. Judges and juries threw out most of the indictments but former Board of Charities and Reform executive secretary Lloyd Hovee and ex-state law enforcement school director George Nimmo were convicted. Charges against former Attorney General Frank Mendicino accusing him of misconduct in office were dis­ missed by a district court judge who said they were based on common law crimes which did not exist under Wyoming law.
  • The $1.6 billion Laramie River Station power plant and the Grayrocks Dam were placed in jeopardy when a federal judge in Lincoln, Nebraska ordered construction stopped. The state of Nebraska and environmental groups finally settled out-of-court with the project's owners.
  • The legislature completed work without approving Gov. Herschler's plan for a medical school at UW. Support for the school in the house eroded after the governor called legislators back into ses­sion. The proposal died after the Senate remained deadlocked on the issue.
  • Spring flooding across northern Wyoming brought damage to crops, livestock and roads. The damage total topped $15 million in 11 northern counties.
  • Mobile homes sprouted on the prairies from a mineral and energy­ fed economy as the state kept the nation's lowest unemployment rate. The state enjoyed a surplus of $89 million in the state trea­sury.
  • Governor Herschler was re-elected in a close battle with Gillette Republican John Ostlund.
  • A shootout on Shoshoni's main street brought attention from the national media where the incident was compared with gunfights of the Old West. The August 11 battle involved oilfield workers and resulted in only minor injuries.

  • A cold winter that began in 1978 continued during the first part of 1979 making the winter one of the coldest in recent years.
  • Former Rock Springs police chief Ed Cantrell was acquitted of first degree murder in the killing of undercover drug investigator Michael Rosa. Cantrell admitted shooting Rosa between the eyes but said he shot in self defense. Cantrell testified that Rosa had gone for his gun and so "I shot him." Cantrell was defended by Jackson attorney Gerry Spence and the jury took only three hours before finding Cantrell innocent.
  • A July 16 tornado moved slowly across Cheyenne's northern edge killing an infant, injuring dozens, and leaving hundreds homeless.
  • Mark Hopkinson, a former high school football star and convicted drug trafficker was found guilty of ordering the 1977 bombing that killed Evanston attorney Vincent Vehar and two members of his family. Hopkinson was also convicted of the 1979 killing of Jeffrey Green, a prospective witness against Hopkinson in the Vehar bombing deaths.
  • Spurred by a national energy crisis, Wyoming's mineral riches continued to attract attention and money. New mines opened, explo­ration increased, new rail lines were built, and new power plants went on line.
  • Although Wyoming was affected minimally by a national gas shortage, prices soared. High prices and fears of shortages by tourists resulted in a bad year for the state's tourism industry.
  • The cities of Rock Springs, Rawlins and Newcastle were listed by the Internal Revenue Service as being among the twenty most wealthy areas in the country. Rock Springs was the fifth wealthiest area in the country with a median per capita income of $17,389-higher than Beverly Hills, California. Rawlins placed 11th on the list and Newcastle ranked 17th.
  • Six Washington state residents in a van and two Utah truckers died in a head-on collision west of Laramie in August. It was the worst highway accident in Wyoming history.
  • The Wyoming Senate gained national attention when it voted to defy the federal government and raise the state's speed limit to 65 mph, despite a threatened cut in federal highway aid. The move later died in the House.
  • A Western Airlines pilot made state and national headlines when he mistakenly landed his Sheridan-bound Boeing 737 jet at the Buffalo airport.
  • The state attorney general's office reported a 25 percent increase in Wyoming crime during the year of 1979. There were 40 cases of murder, 2 negligent manslaughter cases, 114 forcible rapes, 188 robberies, 1,173 aggravated assaults, 3,789 burglaries and 1,608 cases of motor vehicle theft.

  • In January the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that the state's system of school financing based on local property taxes was unequal because of the great disparity in wealth from county to county.
  • Long regarded by oil and gas producers as unproductive, the bar­ren hills of southwestern Wyoming became one of the hottest areas for exploration when drillers begin probing a deep geologi­cal formation called the Overthrust Belt. The Overthrust Belt area was quickly recognized as one of the biggest oil and gas developments in Wyoming history. Some producers said the field would rival major finds in Alaska. The resulting boom attracted thousands of new workers. Housing and public services were stretched to the limit. A Rawlins newspaper editor wrote "Anyone who wants a job can get it Carbon County, but the question remains, can he also get a place to live?" Many could not and that led to people living in tents, campers on public lands, or in their cars.
  • Softness in the price of yellowcake developed as an oversupply allowed nuclear generator operators to lock in contracts at advantageous prices. Layoffs began in Wyoming's uranium industry.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reported that Wyoming's population in­creased by 41.3 percent during the 1970s. It was the third highest growth rate among the 50 states. With 470,000 residents at the beginning of the 1980s, Wyoming was still next to last in overall population.


  • The tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation launched investigations into allegations that tribal oil was being stolen. The investi­gation turned up hundreds of thousands of dollars of unpaid royalties and prompted further investigations by the federal gov­ernment. A U.S. Senate subcommittee and a special commission appointed by the Secretary of Interior raised questions about the U.S. Geological Survey's ability to manage federal and Indian oil leases and the energy industry's record-keeping practices.
  • Environmentalists were outraged when a draft environmental im­pact statement recommended limited mineral exploration and development of the Washakie Wilderness. Strong opposition also came in response to proposed oil and gas drilling the Cache Creek Canyon area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Jackson. Pro-development interests said national energy needs made development mandatory. Environmentalists said any explo­ration or development would destroy wilderness quality.
  • The Wyoming legislature passed the first severance tax increase in seven years-2 percent on oil and gas. The increased revenues were committed to cities, towns, counties, highway construction and water projects. The increase was expected to raise $75 million in 1981. Passage was made possible by a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans.
  • Stymied by concerns over use of water from underground forma­tions and the potential for drawdown of wells in Wyoming and South Dakota, Energy Transportation Systems arranged to buy water from South Dakota's Oahe Reservoir for use in the proposed Wyoming coal slurry pipeline.
  • While the 11th coal mine in Campbell County opened, major layoffs were occurring in the uranium mining industry. Layoffs in Fremont County's uranium fields alone totaled more than 1,000. The state's unemployment rate reached 5.2 percent-higher than at any other time since 1963.
  • Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct until a farm dog in the Meeteetse area returned home with a dead ferret. That led to the discovery of what was believed to be North America's only colony of the rare mammals.
  • The UW basketball team compiled a record of 24-6 and were se­lected to appear in the NCAA tournament. It was the best record by a Wyoming basketball team since the 1951-52 squad went 28-7.

  • President Reagan recommended deployment of 100 multiple war­head (MX) intercontinental ballistic missiles in a 20 square mile area of northern Laramie County. Although there was some opposition, the plan was generally accepted. Nuclear missiles had already been a part of life there for more than 20 years.
  • Wyoming voters gave approval to a constitutional amendment which made it possible to use funds from Wyoming's richest school districts to improve funding in the state's poorest districts.
  • Ed Herschler was elected to his third term as Wyoming governor in a landslide victory over Warren Morton. It was the first time in state history that an individual had been elected to more than two terms in the governor's chair.
  • After a decade of boom, the state's economy began to feel the effects of a national recession. While the overall state economy continued to grow and Wyoming prospered more than most states, the state's unemployment rate nearly doubled as coal miners, oilfield workers and railroad employees began to join uranium miners on the unemployed rolls.
  • The debate over oil and mineral exploration in wilderness areas continued as Jackson area opponents fought to keep Getty Oil from drilling an exploratory well in Little Granite Canyon, a scenic area which some wanted designated as a wilderness area.
  • The legislature gave approval to Gov. Herschler's plan to develop more water storage capacity in Wyoming and authorized $114 million for the first phase.
  • A plan to convert Wyoming coal into gasoline became the top project in line for federal subsidies from the U.S. Synthetic Fuels Corp. The proposed multi-billion dollar plant was shelved, how­ever, after a primary sponsor backed out.
  • Wyoming's congressional delegation tried to address the wilderness controversy with a compromise proposal that angered environ­mentalists and developers alike. It ended up stalled in Congress.

  • The previous plan to base 100 MX nuclear missiles in a "dense pack" formation near Cheyenne was abandoned but a new plan called for the missiles to be deployed in existing Minuteman III missile silos. When congressional approval of the plan was given, the Air Force decided that F.E. Warren Air Force Base at Chey­enne would be the command post for the missiles.
  • Two Cheyenne teenagers went on trial for the murder of their father. The case drew national attention as Richard and Deborah Jahnke defended their actions as an effort to protect themselves and their mother from continuing physical and mental abuse. Richard Jahnke was found not guilty of first degree murder but was convicted of manslaughter. Deborah was convicted of aiding and abetting manslaughter.
  • Wyoming's economy continued to skid, with unemployment reach­ing higher than 10 percent, levels not seen since the depression of the 1930s. With more and more Wyoming workers being laid off the state's unemployment compensation fund went broke. Governor Herschler called a special session of the legislature to approve a plan that would return the fund to solvency. The downturn was becoming a significant threat to the financial wel­fare of state and local governments. The impact was felt hardest in the energy and mineral industries but all sectors were affected.
  • The last passenger train through Wyoming rolled along the Union Pacific line in July as Amtrak implemented a decision to route cross-country trains over a more scenic route in Colorado.
  • Wyoming's property tax assessment practices were challenged. Railroads claimed they were carrying an unfairly large tax burden. Homeowners protested proposals that would increase their share of the tax burden.
  • Russell Staats was elected as mayor of Chugwater, just as he had been in every election since the mid-1930s.
  • Booming only a few years earlier, Wyoming's oil industry went bust. The number of drilling rigs in the state reached a 7-year low.

  • Queen Elizabeth II of England visited the Sheridan area for three days in October.
  • After years of effort, Energy Transportation Systems, Inc. cancelled plans for the coal slurry pipeline project from northeast Wyoming to Arkansas.
  • The Wyoming Legislature voted to conduct a statewide property reappraisal. The Board of Equalization ordered an increase in the rate of assessed valuation.
  • April blizzard killed thousands of sheep and cattle in northeastern Wyoming. Buffalo, Sheridan and Gillette were isolated briefly.
  • The November elections brought significant Republican victories. Alan Simpson's and Dick Cheney's congressional re-election efforts won in every county. The Republican majority in the Wyo­ming House was greater than at any time in decades. A prominent Democrat said his party was in the worst shape it had been since the mid-1920s.
  • The Wyoming Wilderness Bill cleared Congress after three years of haggling. It added 1 million acres of national forest land to wil­derness designation but freed another 3 million acres for possible development.
  • A grizzly bear killed a hiker in Yellowstone National Park and public concerns were expressed over grizzly bear management in and around the park.
  • U.S. Steel closed its iron ore mine near Atlantic City. It was the state's last iron mine.
  • Four earthquakes measuring 5 or more on the Richter scale were recorded in eastern Wyoming. The largest-a quake of 5.5 on the Richter scale-was the strongest ever recorded in Wyoming outside Yellowstone National Park. None of the quakes produced more than minor damage.

  • An August 1 thunderstorm dumped 6 inches of rain and another 6 inches of hail on Cheyenne during a four-hour period leaving 12 people dead, more than 70 injured, and millions of dollars worth of damage. Officials called it the kind of storm that comes along only once in a hundred or two hundred years.
  • Dr. John Story of Lovell was convicted on sexual assault charges. Some Lovell area women had accused Story of sexual improprieties while he performed pelvic examinations. They alleged the assaults had occurred as far back as 1967. Other Lovell residents defended Dr. Story and expressed outrage at the charges, claiming they were instigated by religious prejudice by Mormons against the non-Mormon physician.
  • Ten Indian boys committed suicide on the Wind River Reservation between August 3 and September 30. Authorities brought in specialists to help cope with the problem and tribal elders conducted traditional religious ceremonies to help put an end to the deaths.
  • While the nation was in the midst of recovery from a recession that began in 1982, Wyoming's economy continued to decline. Mining, construction and agriculture were particularly hard hit. Farmers and ranchers across Wyoming faced bankruptcy. Their plight was emphasized when Floyd Morgan, a Torrington area farmer, committed suicide in despair over his worsening financial situation.
  • People from across the state participated in the Wyoming Futures Project, an effort to better define the economic future of the state. A report by a California research institute predicted con­tinuing problems in the minerals industries and encouraged Wyoming to focus attention on home-gown businesses and tourism for future economic growth.
  • Dry conditions contributed to a rash of forest and range fires. A July fire blackened 850 acres on Casper Mountain while another 6,500- acre fire spread over the Rattlesnake Hills in Natrona County. Other fires burned land in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the Big Horn, Bridger-Teton, Black Hills and Medicine Bow national forests.
  • Years of low premiums and low interest rates left insurance companies reeling and brought major increases in premiums. Other insurance companies simply cancelled policies creating problems for Wyoming doctors, lawyers, school districts, and government.
  • The state's major air carrier, Frontier Commuter Airlines, terminated service to Wyoming communities and public officials scrambled to find transportation alternatives.
  • The Bureau of Reclamation drained Fontenelle Reservoir when instruments indicated a growing likelihood that the dam could fail. Efforts to repair the dam began.
  • Construction of a giant natural gas treatment plant near LaBarge was underway. Employment on the project provided 5,000 jobs.

  • An armed man and woman took over a Cokeville elementary school in May and held more than 150 children and teachers as hostages while demanding a ransom of $300 million. The siege came to an end when one of the couple's gasoline bombs detonated prematurely. The man, David Young, then killed his wife Doris before committing suicide. More than 75 people, most of them children, were injured by the bomb blast. Diaries written by Young were later recovered and they suggested that the former Cokeville town marshal planned to kill the children and himself as a mass sacrifice on a voyage into a world reached only by reincarnation.
  • Falling commodity prices put tremendous pressure on farmers and ranchers struggling to meet their debts. And oil exploration nearly came to a halt as a worldwide glut of oil supplies pushed prices as low as $9 per barrel. The over-supply was a result of the inability of oil producing nations in the Middle East to agree on production quotas.
  • The drop in oil prices also cut state revenues and that caused Governor Herschler to order a $77.7 million cut in the budgets of state agencies and educational institutions.
  • Following three-term governor Ed Herschler's decision not to seek another term, Casper lawyer Mike Sullivan defeated Republican Pete Simpson in the November gubernatorial election and assured continued Democratic control of the office that would span 16 years.
  • Wyoming's economic woes led to the failure of 10 banks in the state during the year.

  • The statewide reappraisal of property hit a major snag. In January state officials declared a default by Professional Appraisal Com­pany, the company hired to do the job. PAC's bonding company turned the project over to the Ebert Corporation but controver­sies over inaccuracies and valuations continued throughout the year.
  • Potentially toxic and explosive gasses were detected in the Rawhide Village housing project north of Gillette. Tests showed the gases were coming from a coal seam located just beneath the subdivision's surface. Residents were evacuated and appeals for help went to state and federal officials for help. An emergency declaration by President Ronald Reagan finally provided home owners with the means to get out of their mortgages.
  • A strike by members of the United Mine Workers Union against the Decker Coal Company in southern Montana idled hundreds of workers in Sheridan. Wages and a company proposal to subcontract certain jobs at the mines were at issue. Numerous incidents of vandalism and threatened violence strained community relationships in the Sheridan area.
  • The Wyoming Legislature refused for the second time to approve a change that would have raised the minimum legal drinking age from 19 to 21. The impetus for change came from the federal government which had threatened to withhold federal highway funds to states which do not comply with a 21-year-old minimum drinking age.

  • Forest fires raged through Yellowstone National Park and surrounding forest lands throughout the summer and early fall blackening hundreds of thousands of acres and creating smoke clouds that spread out over the entire region. The fires kindled sharp disagreements over National Park Service policies which allowed natural fires to burn unchecked for a portion of the summer. Later, as the scope of the fires increased, more than 25,000 firefighters from all over the nation, including more than 5,000
  • U.S. Army and Marine troops, were brought to the area for a fire containment effort that cost at least $115 million.
  • Wyoming lawmakers reluctantly approved legislation that raised the legal drinking age from 19 to 21. The change came in the face of the likelihood that Wyoming would lose millions of dollars in highway funds unless it complied with the federal mandate.
  • State voters gave overwhelming approval to an amendment to the state constitution which created a tier system of taxation. The amendment arose from a Supreme Court ruling that the existing system of taxing industrial property at one rate while taxing other property at another rate was not in accordance with the state's constitutional mandate of fair and equal taxation. The Wyoming Legislature resolved the problem by creating an amendment that legalized a tier system under which industrial property would be assessed at a rate of 11.5 percent while homes, agricultural prop­erty and small businesses would be taxed at a rate of 9.5 percent.
  • It was another dry year in Wyoming with precipitation levels 40-70 percent below normal.
  • Two women employees of the Wyoming State Penitentiary were held hostage for 11 hours by two inmates hoping to gain a meeting with news reporters. Eventually the two women were released unharmed.

  • Wyoming's congressional representative Dick Cheney was named Secretary of Defense by President George Bush. Teton County's state senator John Turner was named to head the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • International attention was focused on Jackson Hole as U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze held pre-summit meetings in Grand Teton National Park.
  • Casper Republican Craig Thomas defeated Hudson Democrat John Vinich in a special election to select a replacement for Dick Cheney's Senate seat.
  • The Wyoming legislature took the first steps toward a reorganiza­tion of state government.
  • Large numbers of tourists streamed into northwest Wyoming as curiosity about the effects of the 1988 forest fires helped produce a solid tourist season.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Wyoming Supreme Court's award of priority water rights to 500,000 acre feet of water each year to the tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The decree capped a 12-year, multi-million dollar legal battle and raised concern among non-Indian irrigators along the Wind and Big Horn rivers.
  • Soda ash production from mines west of Green River reached record levels for the second year in a row.

  • The University of Wyoming began a massive review of all programs and operations that officials said could lead to a complete re­structuring of the university.
  • Former Governor Ed Herschler died of cancer.
  • Below average stream flows were predicted when the state experi­enced the fourth consecutive year with minimal fall and winter precipitation.
  • Conflict between the tribal officials on the Wind River Indian Reser­vation and state water management authorities flared as the Indi­ans implemented plans to utilize tribal water rights for in-stream flows in the Big Wind River. State officials and non-Indian irriga­tors expressed fears that such actions would produce negligible biological or economic benefits and would harm farmers who needed the water for their crops. The state engineer said he would not enforce protection of in-stream flows by closing headgates if the actions would harm non-Indian irrigators. Tribal officials asked the Bureau of lndian Affairs to enforce tribal rights.
  • Kern River Gas Transmission Company announced plans to begin construction of a major new pipeline from southwestern Wyoming to California. The line was expected to carry significant quantities of Wyoming natural gas to rapidly expanding markets on the west coast.
  • Construction of expanded facilities for the production of soda ash at Tenneco's Green River plant began after a major new joint venture was announced involving Tenneco and Asahi Glass Com­pany, Japan's largest glass manufacturer.
  • The Wyoming Legislature established a new state holiday and named it the Martin Luther King, Jr. Wyoming Equality Day. Additional steps in the reorganization of state government which began in 1989 were approved.
  • The 1990 census was conducted amid predictions that the state's population would be pegged at about 475,000. That figure was similar to the count in 1980, but far below the 516,000 figure which was estimated for Wyoming at the peak of the energy boom in 1983.

  • Top Wyoming News Stories, 1990*
  1. Execution date set for Mark Hopkinson
  2. Death of former Gov. Ed Herschler (Feb. 5)
  3. Sullivan, Simpson, Karpan win in 1990 Elections
  4. Thousands celebrate Wyoming Centennial
  5. Laramie woman charged with child abuse for drinking alcohol while pregnant
  6. Wyoming reservists called to service in “Operation Desert Shield”
  7. State’s economy shows mixed condition
  8. Legislature designates Martin Luther King, Jr.-Wyoming Equality Day
  9. Mother, three children murdered in Thermopolis; juvenile taken into custody
  10. Crook County rancher John Dorrance fights with Game and Fish over exotic game ranch

  • *As selected by Associated Press member papers and broadcast outlets. Panel was selected by Associated Press writer Robert W. Black. Members included Dr. David Kathka, Dr. Bob Righter, Mark Junge, John Albanese, Don Hodgson, Patty Myers, Dr. Michael Cassity, Loren Jost, Mike Massie, Dr. Roy Jordan, and Dr. Phil Roberts.


Top Wyoming News Stories, 1991*
  1. Reapportionment plan overturned by federal court
  2. Budget crisis strikes state government
  3. Sen. Al Simpson’s comments on Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings
  4. Guilty plea of Thermopolis youth in murder of mother and three brothers
  5. Continued federal efforts to plan for wolf return to Yellowstone
  6. Congress rejects attempt to raise grazing fees
  7. Wyoming soldiers fight in Persian Gulf War
  8. Amtrak returns passenger service to Wyoming
  9. Kern River Gas Transmission Co., builds natural gas pipeline to California
  10. Crook County rancher John Dorrance tries to legalize exotic game farming

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1992*
  1. Mark Hopkinson executed (December); 1st execution in Wyoming since 1965
  2. Legislature reapportions itself into districts
  3. Some Fremont County residents try for a monitored retrievable storage site for nuclear waste in Fremont County
  4. Legislators debate funding shortfalls in budget session
  5. Large and small school districts battle over education financing system
  6. Congress debates grazing fee increases
  7. Demonstrations favor a stalking bill in Wyoming
  8. Justice Walter Urbigkit ousted from Supreme Court in retention election
  9. Federal officials investigate shooting of “wolf-like” animal in Yellowstone
  10. Voters approve term limitation initiative

  • October, Lusk becomes the first town in the United States with a community-wide fiber optic telephone system.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1993*
  1. Four schoolchildren injured in Sheridan by gunman, shooting randomly. Gunman shot self. Sept. 17, 1993.
  2. District judge decided school funding was unsound. Judge Nick Kalokathis, after one-month trial of lawsuit by Green River, Rock Springs, Evanston and Campbell County schools against state. Schools alleged more state money per student went to small schools than to large. Ruling November, 1993, the judge said the state constitution did not guarantee equal funding for all districts.
  3. Interior Department failed in an attempt for grazing reforms. The agency proposed raise of $1.86 per animal unit month to $4 per anum, but Congress did not agree.
  4. In September, Malcolm Wallop announces retirement from U.S. Senate.
  5. Gunman-neighbor shoots two in Goshen County March 21; he is later shot by his sister-in-law. Gunman Ray Esquibel lived, sentenced to life in prison.
  6. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released report on wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone.
  7. 4-month strike by 480 workers at General Chemical’s trona plant near Green River. Picket line violence July 31. Mediated agreement reached in November.
  8. Torrington police officer Lt. Harley Mark killed in car accident in Sept. while searching for jail escapee.
  9. Dick Cheney announced he would not be a candidate for the Senate (Dec.)
  10. AP investigates Wind River Bureau of Indian Affairs police brutality.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1994*
  1. Republican Party sweep of the 1994 elections in Wyoming. The governor and the four other top offices were won by Republicans and Republicans Craig Thomas and Barbara Cubin won their respective races for the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.
  2. Voters reject legalized gambling and also reject a proposed ban on most abortions.
  3. Deaths of five Douglas teenagers, killed by a train at a local crossing in August. Noah Stavnes, Jeremy Stavnes, Ryan Willson, Tiffany Rabun and Jennifer Coziahr were riding in a car hit by the train at an unrestricted crossing.
  4. Continuing debate over rangeland reform and grazing fees.
  5. Efforts to return wolves to Yellowstone National Park.
  6. The growing concern over the rise in the number of children bringing firearms to school.
  7. State Board of Land Commissioners impose two-year moratorium on sales of state lands.
  8. Senator Malcolm Wallop retired from the Senate after 18 years of service.
  9. The continuing debate over the constitutionality of school finance.
  10. University of Wyoming student John Candelaria shot and killed in May on the corner of 15th and Ivinson on the Laramie campus by Robert Lovato, the first murder ever committed on theUniversity of Wyoming

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1995*
  1. The Wyoming Supreme Court rules that the state’s education funding system is unconstitutional and orders that the state comply with the Constitution by July 1, 1977.
  2. U.S. Senator Al Simpson announces his retirement from the Senate at the end of his third term in 1996, setting off a flurry of activity among candidates.
  3. Fourteen Canadian wolves are released into Yellowstone National Park to become acclimated to their new home
  4. Two men are trapped hundreds of feet underground when a trona mine collapses in Sweetwater County; one rescued, the other dies.
  5. Two convicted murderers, including a man convicted of killing his stepmother and three brothers, escape from the Wyoming State Penitentiary.
  6. A Fremont County sheriff’s deputy is shot to death as he returns a Boy’s School escapee to the institution in Worland.
  7. Gov. Jim Geringer produces his first budget, compiled through his “strategic planning” process.
  8. Wyoming officials continue concern over planned gold mine in Montana near Yellowstone National Park.
  9. President Clinton golfs, floats and shops his way through Jackson, bringing with him hordes of reporters and sightseers.
  10. Mae Wardell, 83, survives for eight days after her car slides off a highway and gets stuck in mud.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1996*
  1. State Sen. Mike Enzi defeats former Secretary of State Kathy Karpan for U.S. Senate seat vacated by Sen. Al Simpson.
  2. Jessica Dubroff, a seven-year-old seeking to become the youngest pilot to fly across the United States, is killed in a single-engine Cessna crash shortly after taking off in Cheyenne. The crash also killed her father and flight instructor.
  3. President Bill Clinton announces a deal to halt building of a gold mine near Yellowstone National Park.
  4. Levi Todd Collen is sentenced to three life terms in prison for raping and killing Berry Bryant of Riverton. Both had been students at Northwest College, Powell, at the time of the murder.
  5. Widespread late-season forest and range fires cause damage statewide.
  6. The legislature struggles with the impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling on education finance.
  7. The State Land Board renews a moratorium on the sale of state lands.
  8. University of Wyoming head football coach Joe Tiller leaves to accept the head coaching job at Purdue University.
  9. Nine people are killed when a C-130 transport plane crashes near Jackson. The plane was carrying vehicles used by President Clinton’s entourage during his vacation in the Jackson Hole area.
  10. State and county officials struggle with the question of whether to allow access to public lands to build the Express oil pipeline.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1997*
  1. Legislature agrees on plan for education finance reform, only to have it challenged immediately by 31 school districts and the Wyoming Education Association. A state district judge approved part of the plan and rejects the remainder.
  2. Several wolves shot as the population of predators in Yellowstone National Park continues to grow faster than expected. A federal judge declares the reintroduction program illegal and orders the wolves removed, but puts the order on hold pending an expected appeal.
  3. Amy Wroe Bechtel disappears near Lander while jogging.
  4. Lawsuit over the winter use of Yellowstone National Park results in agreement to study closing segment of snowmobile trail for three years.
  5. Correctional officer Wayne Martinez killed by three inmates in an unsuccessful escape attempt.
  6. Joint public-private task force recommends elimination of Department of Commerce and relocation of economic development activities into a new quasi-government agency.
  7. Marty Olsen, found guilty of murdering three people in a Worland bar, becomes first person in Wyoming in ten years to be sentenced to death.
  8. Truck driver Keith Jesperson, convicted serial killer, returned to Wyoming to face murder charge two years after admitting to a murder in the state.
  9. Mesa Airlines announces halt to service to five Wyoming towns in attempt to gain federal subsidies for continuing service to those communities.
  10. U.S. Department of Agriculture panel recommends that cattle in six Wyoming counties be tested for brucellosis before sale.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1998*
  1. University of Wyoming freshman Matthew Shepard lured from a Laramie bar, kidnapped, tied to a fence east of Laramie, and savagely beaten. He dies in a Fort Collins hospital five days later. Police arrest two Laramie men for the murder. The case brings national attention as a “hate crime,” committed because Shepard was gay.
  2. Christen Lamb, an 8-year-old Laramie girl, is kidnapped and murdered while visiting her grandparents’ home at Powell. A man living across the street from her grandparents is arrested, tried, convicted of the murder and given a life sentence.
  3. Legislature fine-tunes the education funding formula in an effort to comply with a 1995 Wyoming Supreme Court ruling that lawmakers provide equal educational opportunities to Wyoming students. More than half of the state’s school districts continue litigation over the matter.
  4. Two penitentiary prisoners convicted of the murder of Wayne Martinez, a correctional officer, during an escape attempt. One is sentenced to life; the other is given the death penalty, but appeals the case.
  5. An outbreak of E. coli sickens residents and visitors in western Wyoming. Outbreak is traced to the water supply in Alpine.
  6. Gillette math teacher Cheryl Trover shoots and stabs her husband then lies to officials that an intruder committed the crime and kidnapped her. When police doubt her story, she commits suicide.
  7. Wyoming Business Council is created to stimulate state’s stagnant economy.
  8. Two Green River teenagers push a third teen off a cliff, then take their own lives. The two are apparently motivated by the despair of one over his breakup with a girl.
  9. National Park Service decides against closing a 14-mile snowmobile trail in Yellowstone National Park as part of a winter use study.

  • Foote Creek Rim, Wyoming's first wind farm is completed. At the time, it produced 85MW.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 1999*
  1. Conclusion of the murder case that focused national debate on violence against homosexuals and the effectiveness of bias crime laws. Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were tried separately for the murder of 21-year-old University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard.
  2. Year-long struggle by state officials to address the budget shortfall, estimated at one time to be as much as $127 million.
  3. First statewide standardized testing of 20,000 school students in Wyoming. The tests, criticized for errors, showed that two-thirds of students performed poorly in mathematics and from 40-60 percent, depending on grade level, failed to measure up in reading and writing.
  4. Park Service proposal to ban snowmobiles on a road to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park.
  5. Legislature’s responses to the school funding formula.
  6. (tie) Threats received by several Wyoming schools in the wake of the Columbine High School shootings
  7. (tie) Investigations of the Wyoming National Guard involving improper loans of equipment and a false promotion.
  8. Lawsuit over the funding formula for Wyoming’s community colleges.
  9. Former Casper youth soccer coach charged with ten counts of child pornography.
  10. State’s continuing problems with methamphetamines with 20 labs found making the illegal substance, up from 12 in 1998.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2000*
  1. Wyomingite Dick Cheney elected vice president of the United States
  2. Wildfires rage from June to October
  3. Snowmobiles banned in Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Parks
  4. Coalbed methane industry continues boom
  5. Oil industry rebounds
  6. Wyoming Business Council troubles lead to resignation of CEO
  7. Ban proposed on new roads in national forest roadless areas
  8. Marilyn Kite becomes first woman appointed to Wyoming Supreme Court
  9. Legislature considers variety of new taxes
  10. Education officials express dismay with drop in Wyoming Comprehensive Assessment System (WyCAS) test scores for most school grade levels

*As selected by Associated Press member papers and broadcast outlets.
**Panel was selected by Associated Press writer Robert W. Black. Members included Dr. David Kathka, Dr. Bob Righter, Mark Junge, John Albanese, Don Hodgson, Patty Myers, Dr. Michael Cassity, Loren Jost, Mike Massie, Dr. Roy Jordan, and Dr. Phil Roberts.


Top Wyoming News Stories, 2001
  1. National terrorist attacks brought concern to entire state, particularly with respect to airport security.
  2. Eight UW runners died in crash with drunken driver, south of Laramie on Highway 287 on Sept. 16. They were riding in a Jeep Wagoneer that collided head-on with a large pickup truck. Killed were Joshua Jones, Kevin Slaverson, Nicholas Schabron, lSlhane Shatto, Morgan McLeland, Kyle Johnson, Justin Lambert-Belanger, and Cody Brown. Driver of the other vehicle, Clint Haskins, convicted and sentenced to prison for driving drunk and causing the accident.
  3. Wyoming Supreme Court ordered changes to K-12 funding formula. On Feb. 23, the court ordered the legislature to devise a better system for paying for new school buildings and to come up with a statewide tax or similar method to fund $563 million in repairs. On Oct. 2, the court backed away from the earlier ruling by saying that the legislature remained in charge of funding school building construction to standards it deemed fit.
  4. Dick Cheney, former U.S. Representative from Wyoming, is sworn in as vice president
  5. Army Ranger Spec. John J. Edmunds, 20, killed in helicopter crash in Pakistan. He grew up in Cheyenne.
  6. Wyoming’s energy industry continued to bolster the state’s economy with natural gas, oil and coal prices rising. The legislature had a $695 million surplus, making it possible to put away $200 million in the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund and provide $47 million to school districts to fund teachers’ wage increases.
  7. Drought continued through much of Wyoming. Most places in the state received below-average precipation and experienced warmer temperatures than normal for the second year in a row. Crop losses from drought were estimated at $6 million for the year. Many ranchers sold cattle early as stock ponds dried up.
  8. Snowmobiles remained an issue. On June 29, the NPS set aside a Clinton administration ban on snowmobiles in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks to settle a lawsuit brought by snowmobile groups. The settlement required the NPS to conduct a new study of the impact of the vehicles on the parks.
  9. Coal bed methane boom in Wyoming continues. Methane trapped in coal seams in the Powder River Basin continued to be exploited during the year. Almost 230 billion cubic feet were produced, a 54 percent increase over 2000. Lack of pipelines continued to cause concerns, however.
  10. Hot dry weather ushered in another summer of fire in Wyoming. A lightning-caused fire on July 29 closed the east entrance of Yellowstone for 11 days. Some 150 mountain homes near Jackson had to be evacuated the previous week due to fire southwest of town. Near Alpine, 40 homes were evacuated due to another fire. Several structures burned in separate fires in the Black Hills in the northeast.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2002
  1. Dave Freudenthal is elected governor, defeating Eli Bebout by 3,762 votes. A former aide to long-time governor Ed Herschler and U. S. Attorney in the Clinton administration, he was the only Democrat to win statewide office in the November election.
  2. West Nile Virus, a disease spread by mosquitoes, strikes in Wyoming
  3. Drought continues throughout the state. In the northwest part of the state, light mountain snowpack led to spring and summer drought.
  4. Kaycee flooded, many homes and businesses destroyed. FEMA refuses support, claiming the number of damaged homes and buildings did not meet its criteria for a disaster.
  5. Clint Haskins, driver of a large pickup that struck a van in which eight University of Wyoming runners were riding, killing all eight of them, is sentenced to prison for vehicular homicide. Authorities proved Haskins was drunk at the time of the accident, south of Laramie on Highway 287 in September 2001.
  6. Legislature passes a law that reduces blood-alcohol limit
  7. A man is convicted in the Lisa Kimmell case. The young woman was killed in 1988 and the case finally was solved using DNA evidence gathered from a car buried on the property of the convicted man near Moneta.
  8. University of Wyoming changed football coaches. Vic Koenning is fired and Joe Glenn, a very successful coach at Northern Colorado and the University of Montana, is named to succeed him.
  9. Crime news was the next biggest story with such incidents as a serial rapist in central Wyoming.
  10. Snowmobiles and whether they should be allowed in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks again brought controversy in Wyoming during the year.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2003
  1. Death of Wyoming soldiers in Iraq (five killed during 2003)
  2. Man charged in murder of Lisa Kimmell, 15 years after her body found in Platte River
  3. Prosecutor prosecuted: Kevin Meenan, Natrona County District Attoirney for 17 years, resigned in December after pleading guilty to forgery and theft from step-children.
  4. (tie) Brucellosis found in Sublette County cattle herd in Dec. 2003.
  5. (tie) Legislators and game officials crafted wolf management plan
  6. State projects as much as $1 billion surplus for following year due to energy price rises
  7. Snowmobile ban in Yellowstone approved by court; state appealed
  8. 9 die, 393 sick from West Nile virus outbreak in state
  9. Martin’s Cove leased to Latter Day Saints church
  10. State in 4th straight year of drought
  11. (tie) Newcastle firefighter killed; Anndee Huber killed when truck overturned en route to fire.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2004
  1. Fiery pileup on I-80 near Buford kills seven and injures 29 others. Thirty-six vehicles were involved in the chain reaction collision in heavy fog on August 19.
  2. Voters defeated a proposed constitutional amendment that would have let the legislature consider limits on awards in malpractice cases, such as for pain and suffering. The amendment, crafted during a special session of the legislature, was designed to reduce doctors’ liability insurance and keep doctors in the state.
  3. An outbreak of brucellosis meant livestock producers would continue to face stringent testing requirements for the following year.
  4. A resurging mineral industry was largely responsible for a record $1.22 billion state budget surplus. The bulk of it, $462 million, was spent on a backlog of school and prison construction needs. About $252 million or 20 percent, was put in permanent or short-term savings.
  5. Wyoming sued the federal government on April 22 over rejection of the state’s wolf-management plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Wyoming’s plan would have allowed too much uncontrolled killing of wolves, but state officials thought such a move was necessary to control the growing wolf population.
  6. On May 4, the Wyoming Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for voters to impose term limits on state lawmakers through a 1992 ballot initiative. Seven incumbents freed to run again were returned to office, while four others retired even though the limit no longer was operative.
  7. On Oct. 15, U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer struck down a Clinton administration phase-out on snowmobile use in Yellowstone that had been invoked by another judge in an earlier case.
  8. A case that had baffled investigators for more than a decade was solved with Dale W. Eaton sentenced to death for the rape and murder of 18-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell who disappeared in 1988 near Casper. Her body was later found in the North Platte River. Eaton’s car was unearthed near Moneta and DNA from Kimmell was found in the vehicle.
  9. A fire gutted Northwest College’s Bridger Hall on March 30. The incident raised the issue of whether the state ought to help fund sprinkler systems in college structures. The governor included $3 million in the budget for assisting with such modifications.
  10. Marine Lance Corporal Kyle Burns of Laramie, Army PFC Collier Barcus, who spent time on a Wyoming youth ranch, Marine PFC Chance Phelps, who grew up in Dubois, and Army Spec. Billy Watts of Cody were all killed in Iraq during the year.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2005
  1. On the afternoon of August 12, a tornado with winds estimated at from 113-130 mph struck the sourthern Campbell County town of Wright, killing two people and destroying 60 homes. Killed were Etienne Iriberry, Sr., 53, and Connie L. Allen, 97. Almost 60 other homes were damaged in the storm.
  2. Trent Blankenship, elected State Superintendent of Public Instruction in 2002, resigned in June to accept the position of superintendent of the North Slope Burrough School District in northern Alaska.
  3. The Wyoming state legislature created the Hathaway scholarships, a $400 million trust fund to pay for scholarships for Wyoming high school graduates who attend Wyoming community colleges or the University of Wyoming. A special task force developed rules for implementing the program during the summer and fall.
  4. Lawmakers approved construction of a new medium-security prison at Torrington. Rawlins and Riverton both objected, claiming that most of the economic benefits would accrue to neighboring towns in Nebraska.
  5. The 2005 state legisalutre had an estimated $1.2 billion surplus to work with during the session. It was estimated that the amount would be $1.8 billion by the end of the year.
  6. Stan Hathaway, former governor, died at his home in Cheyenne on Oct. 4 after a long illness. He was 81. Hathaway served two terms from 1967-1975.
  7. Laramie County District Judge E. James Burke ruled on Jan. 5 that electronic bingo machines were illegal gambling devices. Within days, bingo parlors were closed down throughout the state. Legislative attempts to revive electronic bingo failed and the House passed a bill banning the use of electronic bingo devices.
  8. In July, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a previous ruling that the state of Wyoming had negotiated in bad faith when it refused to allow for a casino on the Wind River reservation. The ruling allowed the Arapaho tribe to continue with plans for a Las Vegas-style casino on the reservation.
  9. Country music star and world champion bareback rider Chris LeDoux died March 9 of complications from liver cancer. He was 56. The 1976 PRCA bareback champion earned a loyal following by passing out tapes of his music at rodeos. He lived in Kaycee.
  10. Just days after State Superintendent of Public Instruction Trent Blankenship resigned, an audit of his department revealed possible nepotism, poorly documented budgets, apparent circumvention of state purchasing rules and improper reimbursements for training. Blankenship dismissed the audit findings, claiming their were politically motivated.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2006
  1. Barbara Cubin won a seventh term as U.S. Representative by a razor-thin margin over Democrat Gary Trauner of Wilson. Cubin gained 93,336 votes to Trauner’s 92,324. Libertaraian Thomas Rankin got 7,481. Cubin had 48.3 percent; Trauner, 47.8 percent; and Rankin, 3.8 percent of the vote.
  2. Both houses of the legislature approved measures in March to repeal the sales tax on food for the coming two years. Rep. Ann Robinson (D-Natrona) introduced the bill. Local governments would be reimbursed by the state for losses in tax revenues. $50 million was set aside for such payments.
  3. The legislature approved initial funding for the Hathaway scholarship program and the rules that allowed the 2006 graduating class of high school seniors to receive the monies. The governor signed the bill.
  4. The Jackson Canyon fire was started Aug. 14 by lightning and burned more than 10,000 acres on Casper Mountain. It burned several structures and forced evacuation of hundreds of homes.
  5. Gov. Dave Freudenthal, running for a second term, gained 70 percent of the vote to defeat Ray Hunkins, Wheatland lawyer and rancher.
  6. Two final candidates withdrew from the hiring process in March and the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees voted to add Tom Buchanan, interim president, to the list of finalists for the position of university president.
  7. In April, a federal appeals court upheld dismissal of Wyoming’s lawsuit against the federal government over how wolves should be managed in the state after their removal from the Endangered Species Act protection. The state then filed another similar lawsuit that was pending at the end of 2006.
  8. Police said Justin Geiger, a University of Wyoming student, killed two other students before killing himself in July. The incident happened off campus.
  9. The Wyoming Republican Party ran a series of radio advertisements in August trying to make it sound as though Gov. Freudenthal was spending state money to outfit a state airplane with luxury features. The ad seemed to backfire on the GOP when Freudenthal made it clear that he had never flown in the plane, which is used for aerial photography and mapping.
  10. Wyoming’s energy boom prompted some counties to recruit workers from Michigan. At least 800 people looking for jobs attended Wyoming presentations at job fairs held in Michigan early in the year after automakers in that state announced plans to lay off tens of thousands of workers.

Top Wyoming News Stories, 2007*
  1. Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., the state’s senior senator, dies in June at the age of 74 after a fight with leukemia. Born in Cody, Thomas entered Congress in a special election in 1989 to replace Dick Cheney after he was named defense secretary by the first President Bush. Gov. Dave Freudenthal chose John Barrasso, a Casper surgeon and state senator, to succeed Thomas from a list of three finalists selected by the Wyoming Republican Party. The state party had winnowed the list down from more than 30 people who had expressed interest in the Senate seat.
  2. Progress continues toward removing wolves from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pushes to remove wolves from protection in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The federal agency this year said it could accept a Wyoming plan for how to manage wolves in the state once federal protection is lifted, possibly as soon as 2008.
  3. U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin’s announces in November that she would not seek re-election in 2008. Cubin, 59, is serving her seventh term in Congress. She has missed more than half of her votes in Congress this year. She has spent much of her time in Wyoming tending to her husband, who has been ill for many years with an immune disorder.
  4. There was a three-way tie for the fourth-place story of the year -- the decision by Wyoming Republicans to move up their presidential delegate selection process to Jan 5, 2008, to be among the first in the nation; the death of Robin Munis, 40, who was shot by her husband, an Army-trained sniper, as she sang on stage at a Cheyenne bar; and the Wyoming Cowgirls winning the WNIT Championship.

*Panel was selected by Associated Press writer Robert W. Black. Members included Dr. David Kathka, Dr. Bob Righter, Mark Junge, John Albanese, Don Hodgson, Patty Myers, Dr. Michael Cassity, Loren Jost, Mike Massie, Dr. Roy Jordan, and Dr. Phil Roberts.<

As selected by Associated Press member papers and broadcast outlets.

  • Wind River Casino and Hotel, run by the Northern Arapaho Tribe, opens on the Wind River Reservation
  • In March, the Clintons and Obama "visited the Cowboy State...It was the first time presidential candidates had truly courted Wyoming voters [Wyoming Democrats] say since 1960." Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2008)
  • "In April...[Cheyenne Frontier Days] officials decided to outlaw the use of handheld electric shock devices at the rodeo except in emergency situations in order to prevent injuries." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2008)
  • "The University of Wyoming women's basketball team played in its first-ever NCAA Tournament" (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2008)
  • A strip club opens in Caspar in mid-November (Caspar Journal Dec. 24-30, 2008)
  • "J.C. Penney celebrates 100 years in Sheridan...Jan. 19" (Sheridan Press Dec. 31, 2008)
  • "On Feb, 19, the Sheridan City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to allow potbellied pigs in city limits in response to Dickieson family efforts to keep their pet pig" (Sheridan Press Dec. 31, 2008
  • "Sam Mavrakis, legendary Sheridan ourdoorsman and Wyoming Hall of Fame inductee, dies March 6" (Sheridan Press Dec. 31, 2008)
  • "Sheridan High School is named by Newsweek Magazine May 18 as one of the top 1,300 schools in the nation based on the number of Advanced Placement tests for college taken by students in 2007. SHS was the only Wyoming school to make the list." (Sheridan Press Dec. 31, 2008)

  • "The Hitching Post Inn bankruptcy and subsequent closing for safety violations topped this years list of the 10 most important local stories, as voted by the newsroom staff at the Wyoming Tribune Eagle....In September the city forced the historic hotel to close." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2009)

  • In September, the "historic Hitching Post Inn burns, arson ruled as cause." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2010)
  • "Republican Matt Mead was declared the winner of the governor's race early in 2010..." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2010)
  • "The Wyoming Army National Guard's largest ever deployment ended without a single casualty in April....after a year of being deployed to Iraq and Kuwait." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2010)
  • In October, Sheridan was "named one of 'America's Best Adventure Towns' by National Geographic, which featured the city on its website." (Sheridan Press Dec. 30, 2010)
  • "The Census, which is mandated by the U.S. Constitution every 10 years, was conducted during the spring and summer months in 2010....Wyoming's total resident population at 563,626. This is a gain of 69,844 people over the decade, or a 14.1 percent increase since 2000." (Casper Journal Dec. 29, 2010-Jan. 4, 2011)


  • "...retired Sen. Al Simpson of Cody...warned that unless the national debt is brought under control..."America is not going to just collapse, but we won't be No. 1," Simpson said. "And our credit will be adjusted. We won't be the most reliable currency in the world because we have a dysfunctional government that won't address things." (Cody Enterprise Dec. 28, 2011)

  • ...In the general election, Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen won a second term, beating challenger John Palmer." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 30, 2012)
  • March 2012, US Ambassador to Tunisa Gordon Gray meets with Wyoming Adjutant General Major General Luke Reiner, Maj. Jim Cudney, the bilateral affairs officer in the U.S. Embassy in Tunis and Cheyenne Mayor Rick Kaysen. The meeting was to discuss the Wyoming National Guard's (WYNG) continued partnership with the Tunisian government and how the WYNG could continue to help the North African nation's transition following the upheaval of the Arab Spring. [32]
  • July 2012, Buffalo man & paleontologist Randy Moses unearths a skeleton in his front yard while installing a mailbox. After analysis, it is believed to be a man in his 40s whose coffin was unintentionally left when the early cemetery was moved from the site. [33]
  • December 1, Casper College professor James Krumm is killed on campus by his son, Christopher Krumm, with a bow and arrow. Christopher had killed his father's live-in girlfriend before shooting his father and taking his own life.

  • "For the first time in 17 years, the federal government was shut down earlier this year as a result of congressional intransigence over the funding and implementation of the federal health-care reform law, among other things....The shutdown also caused headaches for state tourism officials, who had to deal with fallout from the closure of Wyoming’s national parks, some of the state’s biggest tourism draws." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2013)
  • "...the Legislature’s passage of a bill that would allow Wyoming to join the 43 other states that offer multi-state lotteries. Mead signed the bill into law on March 13, paving the way for the Cowboy State to set up a lottery corporation, which aims to get a lottery framework up and running sometime in the coming year." (Wyoming Tribune Eagle Dec. 31, 2013)
  • February, Legislature passes SF104, effectively stripping the Superintendent of Public Instruction's office of many of its administrative duties and transferring control to the Wyoming Department of Education to a director appointed by Governor Matt Mead. The bill become known as the "Hill Bill" and touched off a string of lawsuits filed by then Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill.
  • August, the remains of Ronald Holtz are discovered in an abandoned mine shaft on the Remount Ranch. His wife, Alice Unden, now 75, was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for the 1974-1975 murder. In a strange twist, Unden's 4th and then current husband, Gerald Unden, was arrested in November on unrelated homicide charges in Fremont County and confessed to the September 1980 murders of his wife and her two children.
  • EPA's Clean Air Act redraws boundary lines for the Wind River Reservation to include Riverton. Governor Matt Mead appeals the decision and files a lawsuit on behalf of the state.

  • In January, the first Tesla supercharger station for electric vehicles opens in Lusk. The four unit station is located in the courtyard of the Covered Wagon Motel, the first of several planned in Wyoming by the company to provide cross-country travelers with power for their cars.[34]
  • January, the Wyoming Supreme Court rules the "Hill Bill" unconstitutional in a 3-2 vote and restores control of the Department of Education to the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • In September, firearms accessory manufacturer Magpul announces plans to move its manufacturing operations to Cheyenne from Erie, Colorado, citing Colorado's new gun-control legislation limiting high-capacity magazines. The new factory was up and running by February 2015.
  • April 22, alleged animal hoarder Kimi Peck is cited with 55 counts of not having current rabies vaccines after Cheyenne Animal Control searched her RV in the Walmart parking lot. “We were aware of the history of Peck from an email we received stating she had animals with her that were near death, but that was not the case when our officer inspected them Tuesday,” Bob Fecht, director of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter said, “All 55 of the dogs were well-fed, well-watered, not in distress, and not one piece of feces could be found.” [35]
  • October 21, same-sex marriage legalized in Wyoming after U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl overturned Wyoming's 100-year-old ban on gay marriage.
  • December 30, a fire on Dubois' main street destroys 8 businesses and three historic buildings. Extreme low temperatures make fighting the fire difficult. The fire is ruled accidental.

  • February, the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints announces plans to build its first temple in Wyoming at Afton.
  • February, the WyoTech campus in Laramie is sold to Zenith Education Group following scandals that forced Corinthian Colleges to sell several of their campuses. In early May, Zenith laid off nearly one third of the WyoTech staff, citing low enrollment.
  • March 20, University of Wyoming men's basketball team looses first round to University of Northern Iowa in their first appearance in the NCAA Championship tournament since 2002. The team was ranked for the first time in 25 years.
  • April 10, the Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) permanently closes, making Wyoming the only state in the nation without an ACLU office.
  • April 13, UW President Dick McGinity announces his plans to step down when his contract expires in June 2016. By mid-May, the Board of Trustees announces their plans to keep the search for the next president open.
  • April 15, Wyoming Department of Health reports the worst flu season in at least 15 years.
  • Late April hard freezes and snows cause large crashes on I-80. The first crash on April 16, involved an estimated 45 vehicles near the Summit between Cheyenne and Laramie. The second crash on April 20, involved nearly 60 vehicles 18 miles west of Laramie and resulted in one death.
  • May 12, Laramie becomes the first town in Wyoming to pass an LGBT Non-Descrimination ordinance.
  • May, higher than average rainfall during the month causes flooding across the state.
  • In early May, Deseret Health Group announces they would be closing two nursing homes in Saratoga and Rock Spring. On May 8, for the first time in state history, the Wyoming Department of Health stepped in and took over operation of the facilities until new owners could be found. On May 13, it was announced that Washington-based EmpRes Healthcare Management would run the Rock Springs home. On May 20, it was announced that Montana based Health Management Services would be the new managing company for the Saratoga home.
  • May 11, Wyoming Department of Workforce Services announces plans to kick off their Wyoming Grown program intended to bring former residents back to the state to live and work.
  • May 18, Western Sugar Cooperative announces plans to close their Torrington factory possibly by the end of 2016 and laying off 70 workers. The factory first opened in 1926.
  • May 25, a month of excessive rain causes rock and mud slides takes out sections of railroad tracks and close US 20 through Wind River Canyon on Memorial Day. A WYDOT employee barely escapes the slide.
  • May, Downtown Rock Springs adopts a colorful mascot and asks locals to help name him. Boomer is chosen from suggestions using an online survey. [36]
  • June 6, the State of Wyoming hosts a welcome home day/reunion for Vietnam Veterans at the Casper Events Center. [37]
  • June, Harlem Globetrotters basketball team drafts University of Wyoming's Larry Nance, Jr.[38]
  • June 26, US Supreme Court announces a 5-4 decision that the US Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Governor Matt Mead releases a statement on Twitter saying, "Today the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling on same-sex marriage. Some will agree and some will disagree with the ruling. This is understandable as many have strong-held personal and religious beliefs about marriage. The ruling, in fact, is contrary to my personal beliefs. Wyoming fought and lost this case in the federal court system. However, whatever view one holds on the matter, we all must acknowledge the Court has spoken. Wyoming will continue on with respect for the law and respect for all our citizens."[39]
  • June 26, Governor Matt Mead is elected chairman of the Western Governor's Association. He announces that he will focus on the Endangered Species Act saying “Western states have shown leadership in species and habitat conservation and the bipartisan nature of WGA allows the Western Governors to be well-positioned to continue leading on the issue. This is a western issue and my focus as Chairman will center on habitat conservation, recovery of species and making the law better.”[40]
  • June 25, University of Wyoming's Larry Nance, Jr. is drafted by the the Los Angeles Lakers as their 1st round pick, 27th overall. Nance becomes the 28th Cowboy to be drafted in the program's history and the first since 1995. [41]
  • June 29, Governor Matt Mead announces that the State of Wyoming joins 11 other states in a lawsuit opposing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers Clean Water Act, published today in the Federal Register. “This rule expands the reach of federal agencies to lands and waters beyond the bounds set by Congress,” said Mead. “It is wrong for Wyoming, for every state and for the United States, and it is unlawful.” [42]
  • July 10, The state of Wyoming celebrates 125 years of statehood with a celebration in the Capitol Complex, Cheyenne, hosted by the State Park and Cultural Resources Department. The festivities included speakers on the Capitol steps, live music, children's games and activities, carriage rides, a special exhibit in the State Museum, and portions of the state constitution on display in the State Archives. The night was capped off by fireworks beside the Capitol Building.
  • July 18, a small plane crashes north of Buffalo Bill Reservoir, killing all four aboard. [43]
  • July 29, Gov. Mead announces the creation of the Governor’s Marijuana Impact Assessment Council (GMIAC) to collect, review and coordinate scientific data on the effects of legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use – focusing on the impacts to public health and safety. The Council will present their findings during the 2016 Legislative Session. [44]
  • August 19, Following a five year debate, the Casper City Council votes to allow residents to keep up to 6 chickens within city limits. This comes on the heels of a decision in July to allow bees within city limits. [45]
  • August 26, Five 55 gallon drums of honey fall off a flat bed trailer, creating a sticky mess in South Pass on Highway 28 near Lander. Initially reported as a hazardous material spill, Fremont County Fire Protection District is called out and attempts to wash the mess off the highway. [46]
  • September 30, US District Court Judge Scott Skavdahl grants Wyoming and Colorado’s request for a preliminary injunction on the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) hydraulic fracturing rule. The injunction prevents the BLM’s rule from taking effect until the states’ cases have been fully resolved. [47]
  • October 7, Wyoming's first ever confirmed human rabies victim dies in Utah. [48]
  • December 9, Capitol Building closes to the public for renovation work. [49]
  • December 9, Governor Mead receives the 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award from the American Recreation Coalition (ARC).[50]
  • December 18, Lauri Nichols is named president of the University of Wyoming. She becomes the first woman to hold the office. [51]

  • January, Big Horn High School (Big Horn, Wyoming) was recently named one of America’s top 500 schools by Newsweek magazine, in part because of the number of students earning a high school diploma. The district that it’s part of, Sheridan County School District No. 1, was recognized by as the state’s best. The website named Big Horn the best high school." [52]
  • January 30, Kenny Sailors, former University of Wyoming basketball player and inventor of the "jump shot" dies at age 95. [53]
  • March 4, Gov. Matt Mead announces his updated Energy Strategy. [54]
  • March 31, Arch Coal Inc. and Peabody Engergy, two of the largest coal mines in the Powder River Basin, announce massive layoffs. 465 miners are laid off between the two companies. [55] In response, Gov. Matt Mead opens temporary community resource centers in Casper, Gillette and Douglas. [56]
  • April 4, Former President Bill Clinton visits Cheyenne to campaign for his wife, Hillary, and urges Wyoming Democrats to caucus for her. [57]
  • April 5, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders visits Laramie to campaign ahead of the Wyoming Democratic county caucus on April 9.
  • April 25, the U.S. Postal Service unveils a new postage stamp featuring Yellowstone National as part of a 16 design set commemorating the National Park Service centennial. [58]
  • July 26, 35 black-footed ferrets are released onto the BV and Pitchfork Ranches near Meeteetse near the spot where the species was rediscovered in the 1981. Prior to that, they were thought to be extinct. [59]

  1. ^ Territorial Session Laws 1890, p.24
  2. ^ House Resolution 982, as amended
  3. ^ The name Sitting Bull should not be confused with that of the Sioux Chief Sitting Bull, who was also a Ghost Dance leader.
  4. ^ See Helen Huntington Smith, The War on the Powder River, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1966. pp. 185-189 for a "Who's Who of the Invasion."
  5. ^ Congressional Record, 53 Congress, 2 session, pp. 842-23; 28 stat. 422.
  6. ^ Session Laws 1895, ch. 38, p.332.
  7. ^ By 1965, Natrona County alone had produced 500 million barrels of oil.
  8. ^ T.A. Larson, History of Wyoming
  9. ^ Session Laws 1899, ch. 19, sec. 1.
  10. ^ Session Laws 1899, sec. 14.
  11. ^ Revised Statues 1899, S 934, 947, 953.
  12. ^ Session Laws 1901, ch. 65.
  13. ^ For vivid accounts of the incident see the Carbon County Journal and the Laramie Boomerang of that date.
  14. ^ Session Laws 1905, ch.50.
  15. ^ Session Laws 1888, ch. 33, S. 2.
  16. ^ Session Laws 1907, ch. 99.
  17. ^ Session Laws 1907, ch. 75.
  18. ^ Session Laws 1909, ch. 44.
  19. ^ Session Laws 1909, ch. 59 and 163.
  20. ^ "Caverns Near Cody Offers Cautionary Tale of What Happens When Federal Lands Are Turned Over, Author Says," Casper Star Tribune, July 4, 2015. (accessed July 2015)
  21. ^ For an account of the silver service donated by the State of Wyoming, see 1946.
  22. ^ Session Laws 1915, ch. 74
  23. ^ Session Laws 1915, ch. 124
  24. ^ 39 stat. pt. 1, p.862
  25. ^ Session Laws 1917, ch. 87
  26. ^ Session Laws 1917, ch. 76
  27. ^ Session Laws 1919, ch. 7
  28. ^ Senate Joint Resolution 1, Session Laws 1920
  29. ^ Session Laws 1921, c. 83 s. 3
  30. ^ Special Session Laws 123, ch. 2
  31. ^ Wyoming Statutes 1922, 41-505; Session Laws 1925, ch. 82
  32. ^ "Wyoming Guard's partnership with Tunisia growing," US Army website, March 3, 2012. (accessed July 2015)
  33. ^ "Buffalo Man Has A Bone To Pick," Buffalo Bulletin July 23, 2014 (accessed June 2015)
  34. ^ "Tesla Supercharger Arrives in Lusk," by Mark Wilcox, Wyoming Business Report, January 3, 2014. (accessed June 2015)
  35. ^ "Alleged Animal Horder Cited" Wyoming Tribune Eagle, April 23, 2014. (accessed June 2015)
  36. ^ "Help Name the New Downtown Rock Springs Mascot," SweetwaterNOW, May 3, 2015. (accessed July 2015)
  37. ^ "Welcome Home Wyoming Vietnam Veterans!," Oil City, June 5, 2015. (accessed June 2015)
  38. ^ "Harlem Globetrotters Draft Wyoming's Larry Nance, Jr." County 10, June 23, 2015. (accessed June 2015)
  39. ^ 6 tweets, Governor Matt Mead Twitter Feed, June 26, 2015. (accessed June 2015)
  40. ^ "Governor Mead Named Chairman of Western Governors’ Association," Governor's Office press release, June 26, 2015.
  41. ^ "Former Wyoming star Larry Nance Jr. selected by Los Angeles Lakers with 27th pick of 2015 NBA Draft" Casper Star-Tribune, June 25, 2015. (accessed June 2015)
  42. ^ "Wyoming Files Lawsuit with Eleven Other States over Waters of the United States Rule," Governor's Office press release, June 29, 2015. (accessed June 2015)
  43. ^ "UPDATE: Small Plane Crash Saturday West of Cody Leaves No Survivors – Four Dead," Basin Reboot, July 20, 2014. (accessed July 2015)
  44. ^ "Governor’s Marijuana Impact Assessment Council Announces First Meeting," Governor's Office press release, July 28, 2015. (accessed July 2015)
  45. ^ "Coming soon to a neighborhood near you: Chickens." Casper Star Tribune, August 19, 2015. (accessed August 26, 2015)
  46. ^ "Five 55 gallon barrels of a liquid fell off of a truck on Wyoming 28 on Tuesday initially causing alarm." County 10, August 26, 2015. (accessed August 2015)
  47. ^ "Federal Judge Blocks BLM Rules for Fracking on Public Lands" by Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, September 30, 2015. (accessed October 2015)
  48. ^ "Lander Rabies victim has died in Utah; Health Department confirms the infection occurred inside a home", County 10, October 7, 2015. (accessed October 2015)
  49. ^ "Capitol to close for restoration efforts on December 9" (accessed December 2015)
  50. ^ "Governor Mead Receives 2015 Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award" (accessed December 2015)
  51. ^ "Laurie Nichols Named New UW President" Wyoming Public Media, December 18, 2015. (accessed December 2015)
  52. ^ "Small Wyoming High School Recieves National Recognition" Casper Star Tribune, January 17, 2016. (accessed January 2016)
  53. ^ "Wyoming’s Kenny Sailors Passed Away Saturday Morning", University of Wyoming Athletics Department, January 30, 2016. (accessed January 2016)
  54. ^ > "Governor Mead Announces Updated Energy Strategy", Governor's Office press release, March 14, 2016. (accessed March 2016)
  55. ^ "465 PBR Coal Miners Laid Off" Gillette News Record, March 31, 2016. (accessed April 2016)
  56. ^ "Governor Mead Opens Community Resource Centers to Help with Energy Related Layoffs" Governor's Office press release, April 1, 2016 (accessed April 2016)
  57. ^ "Bill Clinton Talks Energy in Cheyenne" by Trevor Brown, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, April 4, 2016. (accessed April 2016)
  58. ^ "Postal Service Previews Last of 16 Stamps Celebrating National Park Service’s Centennial", United States Postal Service press release, April 25, 2016. (accessed April 2016)
  59. ^ "Black-footed ferrets released back at spot where they were rediscovered 35 years ago" Wyoming Game and Fish press release, July 26, 2016. (accessed July 2016)