Skip to main content
Wyoming State Archives
Pages and Files
Wyoming Quick Facts
How Wyoming Got its Shape
History of the Wyoming Blue Books
Wyoming State Government
Governors of Wyoming
Secretary of State
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Departments and Agencies
Wyoming Supreme Court
Caucuses & Conventions
Counties & Municipalities
Wind River Reservation
University of Wyoming
Table of Contents
Wyoming may not have been the first in nation in these cases, but they are the first of such occurrences in Wyoming.
1st American flag raised over Wyoming:
John C. Fremont raised a 26-star U.S. flag atop Mount Woodrow Wilson, Wind River Range, August 15, 1842. The flag, designed by Fremont’s wife, included more than the usual stars and stripes. Mrs. Fremont included an outline of an American eagle within the design.
1st Post Office:
Fort Laramie, Nebraska Territory, 1850. This was the first in what would become the state of Wyoming.
Fort Bridger and Fort Laramie.
1st Coal Mine:
Union Pacific coal mine at Carbon, 1860s. The abundance of coal in southwest Wyoming, along with the gentle grade and ease of crossing the Continental Divide near Rawlins, led Union Pacific surveyors to plan the route of the 1st transcontinental railroad through the area.
, is published briefly by Hiram Brundage at Fort Bridger.
1st State (Territorial) Statue Relating to Drug Control:
Restricting sale and use of opiates, 1886.
1st Legal Execution:
1st High School:
Cheyenne 1875, followed by Buffalo in 1881 and Newcastle 1889.
1st Telephone Call:
Between Cheyenne and Laramie, demonstration using Bell equipment, 1878.
1st African-American Legislator:
William Jefferson Hardin, 1879.
1st Telephone Exchange:
Cheyenne, 1881. The early telephone listing was printed on yellow paper, leading many to believe this to be the first instance of the "yellow pages."
1st Oil Well:
1st Female Newspaper Editor:
Platte Valley Lyre
, 1890. Gertrude and her sister Laura also became the first women to own a newspaper in Wyoming when they purchased the Lyre in 1890. Other early female editors were Edith Chappell of the
in 1897 and Mary Parmelee at the same weekly in 1899; and Cora Preston of the
Wind River Mountaineer
1st Woman Elected to a State-wide Office:
Superintendent of Public Instruction
in 1894. She was the second individual to hold the position. Evidence suggests that she was not the first woman in the nation. That honor belongs to _ of who was elected Superintendent of Public Instruction in .
Cheyenne Frontier Days
1st Rhodes Scholar:
Harold G. Merriam, 1904.
1st Auto Accident on Record:
1st Female Legislator:
Mary Godat Bellamy
1st Female Mayor:
Susan Wissler, Dayton, elected 1911.
1st License Plates:
were added in 1930 and the iconic
in 1936. Jacob M. Schwob, known as the father of Wyoming's "good roads" and the license plate law, was given plate number 1 in perpetuity by the state Legislature in 1913. When the county numbers were added in 1930, the statute was amended so that
was required to mail plate 1-1 to
for Schwob's use. After his death, Schwob's widow used
plate 1-1 until her remarriage in the mid-1930s, at which point the legislators from Natrona County insisted that plate 1-1 be returned to their county and the statute was again changed.
1st Town Governed by Women:
Dubbed the "petticoat government" by the press, the town of Jackson elected 3 councilwomen, a female town marshal and a female mayor in 1920. Several of the women were reelected during the next election.
1st Radio Station:
KDFN, Casper began broadcasting on February 19, 1930.
1st Woman Elected to the
Eastern Shoshone Tribal Business Council
Irene Kinnear Meade, 1930.
1st Female State Senator:
Dora McGrath of
Hot Springs County
1st Woman Elected to the
Northern Arapaho Tribal Business Council
Nellie Scott, 1937.
1st State of the State Address Broadcast by Radio:
, January 17, 1941.
1st Mixed Jury:
Sweetwater County, May 8, 1950. According to Cora Beach’s
Women of Wyoming, Volume I
, just after the selection of the 1st female jurors in 1870, the lawyers and pundits began to push for a literal reading of the law describing jury qualifications. It had been passed prior to the act granting women’s suffrage and thus specified that the jurors be male. As no one pushed to change the law, the supreme court did not provide a definitive decision nor was the law changed by the legislature until 1949. The first mixed jury in Wyoming, and thus the 1st female jurors in 80 years, sat the next year, on May 8, 1950.
1st Female State Treasurer:
, appointed to fill the unexpired term of her husband,
1st Television Station:
KFBC, Cheyenne began broadcasting on March 21, 1954.
1st Woman Appointed to Staff of Attorney General:
Ellen Crowley, 1958.
1st Female Commissioned Officer in the Wyoming National Guard:
Wanda Batna, 1973.
1st African American Miss Wyoming:
Cheryl Johnson of Cheyenne, 1974.
1st Execution by Lethal Injection:
Mark Hopkinson, January 22, 1991.
1st Wind Farm:
Foote Creek Rim near Arlington, completed in 1999.
1st Community wide Smoking Ban Ordinance:
Laramie, 2005. This included all restaurants and bars.
1st Judicial District Judged Entirely by Women:
Laramie County Circuit Court
, 2009. Hon. Denise Nau, Hon. Roberta Coates, Hon. Catherine R. Rogers.
1st Community to Pass a Non-Descrimination ordinance:
Laramie, May 2015
University of Wyoming
Laurie Nichols, 2015
Wyoming has led the nation in many areas, sometimes setting a precedent that is far ahead of the nation, as with universal suffrage and national parks.
1st Trading Post West of the Missouri River:
Fort William was erected as a trading post by William Sublette and Robert Campbell at the confluence of the Laramie and North Platte Rivers. Fort William was later renamed Fort Laramie. This may also have been the first business west of the Missouri River.
1st State to Grant Women's Suffrage:
In 1869, the first
Wyoming Territorial Assembly
passed the Women's Suffrage Act granting women the right to vote and hold public office in the state. When Wyoming became a state in 1890, this right was written into Article 8 of the new constitution ensuring universal suffrage.
1st Female Justice of the Peace:
Esther Hobart Morris, appointed February 17, 1870 in South Pass City. Her first act after taking office was charge her predecessor for failing to hand over the court's records to her. She dropped the charges due to her conflict of interest as both plaintiff and judge but kept her own docket book during her term.
1st All-female Jury:
Laramie, sworn in on March 7, 1870.
1st Female Bailiff:
Martha Symons Boies Atkinson appointed to see to the needs of the first all-female jury, 1870 in Laramie.
1st National Park:
Yellowstone National Park, March 1, 1872.
1st County Library System:
, organized August 1886.
1st (and only) US Military Fort Named for a Native American:
Fort Washakie, named for Chief Washakie of the
1st Ranger Station:
Wapiti Range Station in Shoshone National Forest, 1891.
1st National Forest:
Shoshone National Forest, 1891.
1st Female Delegate to Presidential Convention:
Theresa Jenkins, Republican National Convention, 1892.
1st National Monument:
Devil's Tower National Monument, 1903
1st Female Governor:
Nellie Tayloe Ross
on November 5, 1924. Although she and Ma Ferguson of Texas were elected on the same day, Ross was inaugurated two weeks before Ferguson, on January 5, 1925, and thus holds the title. Ross' husband, Governor
William B. Ross
, had passed away suddenly almost exactly one month before she was elected.
She did not campaign for herself
leading up to the election as she was still in mourning and wore black for much of her term. She ran for re-election in 1926, but narrowly lost to
1st Artificially Lit Evening Prep Football Game:
High school game Natrona County High School at Midwest High School, November 19, 1925.
1st Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) base in the world:
Warren Air Force Base, 1958.
1st State to Use Yellow Paint on Highway Stripes:
1959. 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 and use yellow paint or lose federal aid. (Session Laws
, ch. 30 and 179)
1st African-American Chief of Police:
James W. Byrd, Cheyenne, 1966.
Federally Protected Wildlife Corridor
Path of the Pronghorns, 2008. Each year, 500-600 pronghorn antelope travel along the 150 mile route between their summer range in Grand Teton National Park to their winter range in the Green River Valley in the longest land mammal migration in the lower 48 states. The wildlife corridor was established to help ensure that the route remains open and viable for the herd, especially in some of the narrow "pinch points" that are threatened by mineral development and suburban expansion.
1st female US Army Infantry NCO:
Wyoming National Guard Sgt. Shelby Atkins, 2016.
"Cowboy State is Known Far and Wide for 'Firsts'"
Pine Bluffs Post
, 5-7-2015, accessed online May 2015
"The "Lyre Girls": First Women Newspaper Owners in Wyoming,"
by Lori Van Pelt, WyoHistory.org. (accessed July 2015)
"Circuit Court Judged Entirely By Women"
by Michael Van Cassell,
Wyoming Tribune Eagle
, September 26, 2009. (accessed September 2015)
"Let There Be Light!: 1st Prep Football Night Game,"
, Wyoming State Archives, November 19, 2015. (accessed November 2015)
"This Sergeant at Arms is the Army's First Enlisted Infantry Soldier,"
by Michelle Tan, Army Times, May 27, 2016. (accessed March 2017)
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"