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Wyoming (Wy): State Guide and Fun Facts

When did Wyoming become a state?
July 10, 1890

Who was the first European explorer in Wyoming?
Francois and Louis Verendrye; in 1743

First Native American settlers:
Shoshone, Arapaho, Cheyenne and Crow Native American tribes

Square Miles:

US Rank:

State Flower:
Indian Paint Brush

State Bird:
Western Meadowlark

State Motto:
“Equal Rights”

Capital City

Cheyenne – Wyoming’s capital city was first settled in 1867 because surveyors decided that the area was to be the location of the Union Pacific Railroad. Within a year of the railroad’s construction through the area, the settlement has grown to a few thousand residents. It was the first area settled in the Wyoming territory, and when Wyoming became a state in 1890, it was the natural choice to locate the seat of state government there. As of the 2010 census, Cheyenne Wyoming is home to 57.618 residents; it remains a small town. Most residents have jobs with the F.E. Warren Air Force Base, the Wyoming National Guard and the Union Pacific and Northern Santa Fe Railroads.

What is Wyoming famous for?

1. Jackson Hole – Today, Jackson Hole is known as one of the best ski areas in the United Sates. Its history can be traced back to 1806, when John Colter discovered the area. French-Canadian fur trappers traveled through the area, naming the three largest peaks “Let Trois Tetons”. Over the next 100 years, the Jackson Hole area (as it came to be known) hosted a large fur trapping and trading industry, and many explorers made their way through the area, marveling at its beauty.

It wasn’t until 1925 that a skier by the name of Mike O’Niel began to ski the area. He was using a technique that used two ski poles instead of one, the first time this had been attempted. By the 1930s, a ski circus was being performed by the Bowlsby and Hicks brothers, who called themselves the Hoback Boys. The Teton Ski Club decided it was time to expand the ability to ski on the three Teton mountains, and so they built rope tows on Signal Mountain, Leek’s Canyon, Two Ocean Mountain, Angle Mountain and Huckelburry Ridge. Over the next 80 years, the town and ski area experienced enormous growth, and skiers began to travel from all around the country to see what the skiing at Jackson Hole was about. Today, Jackson Hole’s reputation ranks high among the greatest ski and snowboard areas in the world.

2. Yellowstone National Park – Perhaps one of America’s most famous national parks, Yellowstone is an enormous protected area that measures 3,742 square miles and covers three states, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The park attracts over 3 million visitors annually, who comes to see the wildlife, geysers and unique natural wonders.

3. Devil’s Tower – The Devil’s Tower, as it was named by Richard Irving Dodge, is a large volcanic igneous buildup that has created a large monolith in an area that is otherwise relatively flat. The rockattracts half a million visitors annually, thousands of whom are experienced rock climbers who wish to conquer the sheer cliffs formed by volcanic lava millions of years ago.

What is Wyoming’s economy?

1. Agriculture – The largest income generating categories of Wyoming’s agricultural industry are livestock and hay. Livestock along contributes to about 86% of total agricultural income. Behind livestock and hay, other cash creating crops and animals include hogs, sheet, dairy products, honey, wool, chicken eggs, sugar beets, barley, beans, wheat, corn, nursery products and sunflowers.

2. Mining – Mining is an extremely important industry in Wyoming. The state is the leading producer of coal as well as the production of petroleum, natural gas, bentonite and clays.

3. Services – The service industry in Wyoming is centered primarily around governmental jobs and services. This includes public schools, hospitals and military bases. Additionally, the state economy depends on the transportation, communication and utility industries.

Wyoming Historical Landmarks

1. Old Faithful Inn – Built in 1903, Old Faithful Inn is a breathtaking landmark in itself. It was designed by Robert Reamer, who worked as an architect for the Great Northern Railway, and true to the National Park Service tradition, he built the hotel in the NPS Rustic style. The hotels most striking interior feature is its soaring timber framed lobby, complete with 85 foot stone fireplace. The hotel, which remains in operation, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1987.

2. Bighorn Medicine Wheel – Located in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming at an elevation of 10,000 feet, lies a circle of stones with a diameter of 75 feet. The medicine wheel was likely used by ancient cultures in order to determine solstices, equinoxes and astronomical alignments.

3. Murie Ranch Historic District – The Murie Ranch is located in Grand Teton National Park, near the border of Idaho. The ranch and surrounding area was an ideal place for Margaret Murie, a scientist and her husband Olaus Murie, a conservationist, to carry out their studies on wildlife and the ecosystems that they inhabit. They were both strong advocates for the preservation of wilderness, and they themselves treaded lightly on the land that they occupied. In 1990, the Murie Residence was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2006, the area was designated a National Historic Landmark.