Wyoming is relishing mysteries like the Medicine Wheel, a prehistoric relic, and among the state’s gorgeous scenic attractions is Yellowstone, America’s first national park, Devils Tower, the first U.S. national monument, as well as Shoshone, the first U.S. national forest.
Wyoming’s land is over 80% used for cattle grazing, and numerous oil wells are dotted across its prairies. The state is proud of its Western heritage and each year this is celebrated at the Frontier Days Festival in Cheyenne, one of the best in the nation.
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Wyoming pioneer Howard Stansbury wrote on September 20th, 1852:
… Now we have reached the height that is dividing the waters of the Atlantic in the east and the Pacific in the west. One universal shout arose at announcing that fact and all visions of home and its joys were floating before our imagination in the most vivid brightness…
Then on September 23rd:
… The beautiful scenery from the ‘height divide’ was standing in gorgeous contrast with that of the land we have left behind us. Grassy and broad valleys were now spreading out before us, surrounded by rounded hills that were covered with verdure. Great bands of buffalo all around us, while flocks of antelope surrounded us all across this magnificent land. The bottom end of the Medicine Bow where we had set up camp was richly covered with the best grass, and the water stream had an extensive fringe of rose-bushes and willows, and there also were scattered groves of aspens and cottonwood…
Quick Facts about Wyoming
– Wyoming boasts the world’s largest elk herd (wapiti, at Jackson Elk Refuge).
– The state has the largest coal reserves in America.
– Eaton Brothers Ranch, near Dayton, was the first “dude ranch”.
Wyoming brief history
ohn Colter was the first white recorded explorer of present-day Wyoming, and he discovered Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. In 1811, the party of Wilson Price Hunt was crossing the area and in 1822, William Ashley, a general, founded the first trading post on the Yellowstone River.
The first substantial trading center in Wyoming was established in 1828 by Antonio Mateo, the ‘Powder River forks’ trading post.
the groundbreaking expedition of Captain de Bonneville of 1832 explored large parts of the region and established tracks of the Oregon Trail, and from 1834 through the 1840s, General Ashley organized annual meetings at several locations.
These meetings attracted a curious and varied, and sometimes loud group of traders, trappers, and Indian families who were all engaged in trading furs. In 1834, Laramie had started to become the first permanent and European-styled settlement in Wyoming.
The California gold rush caused tens of thousands of people from all across America to cross the Wyoming area, and the period from 1862 through 1868 is characterized by Indian troubles culminating in 1865 which was the bloodiest year on the state’s plains.
In the year 1867, Cheyenne saw the arrival of the Transcontinental Railroad which was completed a few years later, and all along the track cities were springing up almost overnight. The first American scientific expedition had reached Yellowstone by the early 1870s and on March 1st, 1872, the Yellowstone area was the first American area to become a national park.
At the end of the 19th century, Wyoming had a population of only 62,500 which was not enough to qualify for an independent state, but nevertheless, it became one on July 10th, 1890. America’s first national monument, Devils Tower, is also found in Wyoming and was established in 1906. Some 11,400 Wyoming residents served during World War I which was representing seven percent of the state’s total population,