Located near the center of Wyoming in Natrona County, the city of Casper sits at the crossroads of a number of historic byways, including the Oregon Trail, the Pony Express route and the Bozeman Trail. In recent years, the city's proximity to several major expressways has proven vital to its economy. The population of Casper stands at approximately 52,000 people.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Casper comprises several distinct neighborhoods, each with its own architectural style and character:
- Downtown Casper includes some of Casper's oldest homes, as well as a vibrant commercial center filled with locally owned businesses. Most of this area's homes were built around the turn of the 20th century and showcase a variety of architectural styles including Grand Federal, Georgian, Baroque and Craftsman.
- The Old Yellowstone District just west of downtown is undergoing a revitalization project. Once an economic hot spot with retail businesses lining Yellowstone Highway in the West Central Corridor, this district is now filled with commercial and industrial warehouses and vacant buildings. Soon, the city hopes to convert these structures into a mixed-use business, residential and entertainment center.
- The Eastside first developed in the early 1980s, spurred by construction of the Eastridge Mall in 1984. The remaining original buildings are mostly two-story, four-story and bi-level homes.
- North Casper is one of the more affordable neighborhoods, consisting primarily of manufactured and older homes. Located just north of the Burlington Northern Railroad and Interstate 25, North Casper mainly attracts families and seniors.
- Midtown Casper is located between downtown and the Eastside. This neighborhood mixes new developments with older homes, all within a close proximity to retail centers. Many Midtown homes were constructed during the 1970s.
- Paradise Valley offers some of the most affordable newly constructed homes in Casper. This neighborhood began as a golf course subdivision in the 1960s. Paradise Valley has redeveloped and expanded over the years, becoming a popular family-friendly neighborhood with nearby access to the North Platte River and views of Casper Mountain.
- The Westside includes the Valley Hills and Sunrise Hills developments, which are family-friendly and close to Casper Mountain. Further west are several new developments, containing mixed-use residential and commercial properties.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The discovery of oil in Casper at the end of the 19th century launched the city's role as an important petroleum center in the western United States. Since then, Casper has always had at least one oil refinery in operation. Its oil industry has also opened the door for coal and uranium exploration, which has contributed to Casper's reputation as an important center for energy production.
Other major industries in Casper include commerce and banking, with growing opportunities in real estate, health care, manufacturing, transportation, and retail. Top employers in Natrona County include the following:
- Natrona County School District
- Wyoming Medical Center
- City of Casper
- Office Max
- Key Energy Services
The county's low unemployment rate might have to do with some of the many employment agencies in the area that help residents find jobs. Those agencies include Manpower, SOS Staffing, Adecco, Trademark Personnel, and the Department of Workforce Services.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Casper residents seeking entertainment or a bit of culture can choose from many options:
- City Band Concerts: Residents can enjoy live music from local bands in Washington Park every Thursday.
- Nicolaysen Art Museum and Discovery Center: This downtown museum features contemporary art that commemorates the area's history.
- Casper Artists Guild: Professional artists teach classes in various media and forms of artistic creation, with workshops culminating in student art shows. The shows include works in watercolor, acrylic, oil paint, woodcarving and ceramics.
- Casper Children's Theatre: This group trains young actors and actresses, with the aim of preparing them for performing in front of live audiences.
- Tate Geological Museum: Ancient fossils abound at this informative museum.
- Fort Caspar Museum: This former military post, built in 1865, contains prehistoric exhibits, ancient ranching tools and exhibits illustrating how the local energy industry helped shape Casper into the city it is today.
- Werner Wildlife Museum: Visitors can learn about wildlife both within the Casper city limits and across the surrounding regions.
- Cruzin with the Oldies: The Oil Capitol Auto Club puts on this annual, Memorial Day weekend event. It features a parade of classic cars, along with food vendors, contests and more.
- Beartrap Summer Festival: Live music fills the air at this giant citywide party on Casper Mountain. The annual festival is held during the third weekend of July.
- Citywide Fireworks Festival: This Fourth of July celebration is known for its live music, beer garden, various food offerings and fireworks display.
- Mid-Summer's Eve Celebration: Every summer, Casper residents hike to Crimson Dawn Park on Casper Mountain, where they build bonfires and celebrate the area's rich cultural heritage.
- Shrine Circus: The usual circus antics are the highlight of this show, which includes trapeze artists, trained animals, clowns, and stuntmen.
- Lee McCune Braille Trail: This unique hiking area provides trail access for the visually handicapped.
- Spirit Rider Wagon Train Adventures: Visitors are able to improve their teamwork skills, both with horses and other riders, as they explore the wide-open expanses of Wyoming in a wagon train.
- Golf: Casper is home to several golf courses. Salt Creek Country Club and Golf Course is a nine-hole course that is situated near surrounding wilderness area, enabling golfers to view antelope, deer, and other wildlife. Casper Country Club features an 18-hole course, along with a restaurant, a pool and tennis courts. Casper Municipal Golf Course boasts 27 holes divided among three courses, each with unique challenges.
- Hogadon Ski Area: With all of Wyoming's mountains, there are more than a few quality ski locales. One of these areas is Hogadon, on Casper Mountain. The mountain caters to a range of levels and abilities, allowing skiers and snowboarders to enjoy a range of easy and not-so-easy trails.
Casper sports fans have two local teams to root for:
- Baseball: Casper Ghosts, a minor-league team affiliated with the Colorado Rockies.
- Football: Wyoming Cavalry, an American Indoor Football Association team.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Past and present Casper residents include former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife Lynne, and former professional baseball player Mike Devereaux, who played with the Atlanta Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers.
- Casper's two newspapers are the Casper Star-Tribune and Casper Journal Publications.
- Casper is only 267 miles away from Yellowstone National Park.