The capital of Wyoming, Cheyenne is also the oldest and largest city in the state. Like many other cities in the region, Cheyenne sprang up as a result of railroad expansion in the 1860s; within four months of its founding in 1867, the city had swelled to more than 4,000 residents. Cheyenne's exceptionally rapid growth gave it the nickname the "Magic City of the Plains." Given Cheyenne's railroad history, it is certainly appropriate that the city remains home to one of the most massive steam locomotives ever built, the Old Number 4004. Today, Cheyenne has a population of more than 53,000.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Cheyenne's downtown area is the city's cultural center, providing residence to over 500 businesses and organization. Though recently revitalized, the area has kept its historic feel and is considered a national historic district. Businesses in the downtown area include specialty and antique shops, numerous restaurants and bars, museums and art galleries, and several hotels.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Cheyenne originated as a railroad town, and eventually grew into an important military presence in the American West. That heritage shows today, as many modern residents remain involved in these industries. At the same time, the city has also diversified into other areas. Like any capital city, Cheyenne is where many local, state, and federal government branches make their decisions. Other major Cheyenne employers include the following companies:
- F.E. Warren Air Force Base
- Laramie County School District Number 1
- United Medical Center
- Union Pacific Railroad
Many residents are also employed by oil refineries, banks, telecommunications companies, retail businesses, and the hospitality industry.
- Frontier Days: This annual July festival features live country music, historical recreations, and other frontier-influenced events. The Frontier Days rodeo is among the largest of its kind anywhere, attracting tens of thousands people per year.
- Bit-O-Wyo Ranch Horse Barn Dinner Show: Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, this western-themed show entertains residents and tourists alike with western music, a cowboy comedy show, and a country-style dinner.
- Cheyenne Farmers Market: Each fall, this market is held on Saturdays in the Depot Plaza, featuring fresh fruits, vegetables, other local products.
- Oktoberfest: This October festival gives residents a chance to gather and try out several beers while celebrating with their neighbors and listening to live music.
- Parks: The area has several parks, including Brimmer Park, Cahill Soccer Park, Jaycee Park, Leo A. Pando Park, Pioneer Park, and Mylar Park, to name a few. Such parks typically offer playgrounds, ball fields, hiking and biking paths, tennis courts, and more.
- Golf: Golfers are in luck in Cheyenne; both public and private courses abound. The private Cheyenne Country Club offers 18 holes of golf, tennis courts, a pool, and a restaurant. Other courses include the public Prairie View Golf Course and Little America Golf Course, each with 9 holes, and the 18-hole Airport Golf Club.
- Frontier Park Tennis Club: This club, which offers lessons, camps, and competitions, is appropriate for both beginners and advanced players.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
- Cheyenne Artists Guild: This group puts on several art shows every year in the Cheyenne area. The Guild is located in the Van Tassell Carriage Barn, which is on the National Historic Registry.
- Cheyenne Little Theatre: Based out of Cheyenne, this traveling theater group performs about nine shows per year in Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado.
- Old Fashioned Melodrama: This building was also built in 1887; over the years it has served as a candy shop, a movie theater, and a vaudeville stage. It is now the home of the Cheyenne Little Theater Players. The building has been updated, but it still retains its historic feel.
- Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra: This group brings music to the Cheyenne area with its concerts at the Cheyenne Civic Center.
- Messenger Museum: This museum features plenty of historic artifacts, including early-19th-century pistols and a carriage that once belonged to Buffalo Bill Cody.
- Big Boy Steam Engine: Old Number 4004, the largest steam locomotive ever built, is on display at Holliday Park so residents and visitors can get a look at some real Cheyenne history.
- Wyoming State Capitol Building: The state capitol, built in 1887, is visible on the Cheyenne skyline.
- Highway: Visitors can get to the Cheyenne area from the west or east by taking Interstate 80, and they can arrive in this city from the north or south by using Interstate 25. Those coming from both the southeast and northeast can take Highway 85 into Cheyenne.
- Air Travel: Cheyenne Regional Airport serves this city, taking passengers to the nearby Denver International Airport daily via Great Lake Airlines.
- Public Transit: Cheyenne Transit is the main bus system used by residents to get around the city, though Black Hills Stage Lines and Americoach of Cheyenne also provide bus service.
Cheyenne sports fans can root for their two local sports teams:
- Football: Cheyenne Wranglers, a semi-professional football team
- Baseball: Cheyenne Grizzlies, a Mountain Collegiate Baseball League team
DID YOU KNOW?
- The chance of a tornado striking Cheyenne is higher than anywhere else in the state of Wyoming, although the odds remain lower than the U.S. average.
- Cheyenne was ranked as the number one western town in 2008 by True West Magazine.
- Cheyenne is mentioned in the movie Red Dawn, Philip K. Dick's book The Man in the High Castle, and Garth Brooks' song Beaches of Cheyenne.