The second-largest city in Wyoming, Casper has a population of about 54,000. Casper is located in east-central Wyoming at the foot of Casper Mountain. Those moving to Casper will discover long, cold winters with quite a lot of snowfall, averaging 71 inches. Casper prides itself on being a larger Wyoming city but one with a small town feel and charm.
The median income in Casper is higher than the state average. The cost of living is well below the national average. Unemployment is lower than elsewhere in the state at only 6.3 percent. Casper was voted on of the ‘top 25 best places for small businesses' by Forbes Magazine in 2004. The ranching industry is at the top of the list for the local economy, but there is business and industry as well. There is a Dept. of Veterans Affairs Clinic located there. There is oil and gas exploration there as well.
The area was home to Indians as far back as 12,000 years ago. The North Platte River runs near Caspar, and it made it an ideal place. In 1812, fur trappers came to the area. As people immigrated west, the area became a trail that led to Utah and California. When Brigham Young and his group arrived, Young arranged for a ferry to be built to help people cross the River, and the ferry became known as the Mormon Ferry. As Europeans increased, so did the conflicts between them and the native Indians. Lt. Casper Collins was killed in one of the first conflicts between the Indians and the Army, and the town was later named for him. The local trading post was remade as a fort. Oil was struck nearby in 1889, and a refinery was built in 1895. During the 20th century, Caspar had its economic ups and downs, but has emerged as a prosperous area, utilizing not only its oil but expanding its business base as well.
There are two rodeos in Casper every year, The College National Finals Rodeo in June and the Central Wyoming Rodeo and Fair in July. There are many historical museums there, including the National Historic Trails Interpretive center with award-winning audiovisual exhibits. The Fort Casper Museum has been completely reconstructed and exhibits include the Mormon Ferry. The Mormon Handcart Center recreates the hardships of traveling west. The Arts for the Streets program has 31 sculptures around the city, and the Painted Past tour through downtown shows highlights of the cities ‘checkered' past. The Tate Geological Museum has over 3,000 rock and mineral specimens on display. The Salt Creek Museum shows 100 years of oil field activity. In February, there is the Cowboy State Games featuring Olympic-style events. The Beartrap Music Festival is at the end of July. There are golf courses, and many outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, fishing and hunting.