Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Wyoming

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WYOMING, a State in the western divisions of the North American Union; bounded by Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, and Idaho; admitted July 10, 1890; capital Cheyenne; counties 14; area, 97,914 square miles; pop. (1890) 60,705; (1900) 92,531; (1910) 145,965; (1920) 194,402.

Topography.—The surface of the State is very rugged, being diversified by mountains, valleys, plains, and plateaus, the latter covered with grasses of great nutrition and furnishing admirable pasture for live stock. The main range of the Rocky Mountains enters the State from the S. terminating in the Wind River Mountains, with an altitude of from 10,000 to 14,000 feet, and snow-capped the entire year. The Shoshone Mountains extend N. of the Wind River range. Running S. from the N. boundary to the center of the State are the Big Horn Mountains. Other notable ranges are the Sweetwater, Rattlesnake, Medicine Bow, and Sierra Madre. The highest peak is Fremont's Peak, in the Wind River range, 13,790 feet. Other high points are Grand Teton Peak, 13,690 feet; Mount Sheridan, 13,691 feet, and Atlantic Peak, 12,700 feet. The principal rivers, are the North Platte, entering the State from Colorado; Green river flowing S. E. into Utah; Snake or Shoshone river, rising in Yellowstone Park, flows into Idaho; the Yellowstone; Big Horn; Cheyenne; Belle Fourche; and Powder. None of these streams are navigable in a commercial sense, but they furnish water for the irrigation and development of the surrounding country, and in some instances are used for the transportation of timber. There are several important lakes, including Yellowstone Lake in Yellowstone Park, the N. W. corner of the State; Jackson's; Shoshone; Lewis; Madison; Fremont; Boulder, and Uradisa.

Geology and Mineralogy.—The geological formations of Wyoming cover nearly every age, and though not thoroughly explored are known to contain at least the Tertiary, Carboniferous, Cretaceous, Eozoic, Silurian, Triassic, Jurassic, Devonian, and Volcanic. The mineral productions are quite extensive, including copper, gold and silver, coal, iron, oil, soda, and building stones. The oil belt extends entirely across the State from S. W. to N. E.

Mineral Production.—The coal production in 1919 was 7,100,000 tons, a decrease over the production of 1917 of over 2,000,000 tons. The production of petroleum in 1918 was 12,596,287 barrels, valued at $18,159,778. Iron ore is produced in considerable quantities. The production of natural gas in 1918 was 4,338,840 thousand cubic feet, valued at $156,171. A small amount of gold is produced, as well as stone and phosphate rock.

Agriculture.—The soil of the mountains and high plateaus is a light sandy loam; darker and richer in the valleys, slightly alkaline, but, under irrigation producing large crops. It is estimated that 10,000,000 acres of the State are suitable for agricultural purposes by irrigation. The acreage, production and value of the principal crops in 1919 was as follows: corn, 48,000 acres, production 768,000 bushels, value $1,267,000; oats, 315,000 acres, production 5,670,000 bushels, value $6,350,000; barley, 35,000 acres, production 525,000 bushels, value $919,000; wheat, 284,000 acres, production 4,008,000 bushels, value $8,497,000; hay, 605,000 acres, production 853,000 tons, value $19,619,000; potatoes, 33,000 acres, production 2,640,000 bushels, value $5,016,000.

Manufactures.—There were in 1914 337 manufacturing establishments, employing 2,989 wage earners. The capital invested was $29,270,000; the amount paid in wages $2,312,000; the value of materials used $5,560,000; and the value of the finished product $11,224,000. The chief manufactures included railroad cars and railroad supplies, lumber and timber products, saddlery and harness, tobacco, boots and shoes, millinery, brooms, flour and grist, lime and cement, and malt.

Banking.—On Oct. 31, 1919, there were reported 43 National banks in operation, having $2,350,000 in capital, $1,855,000 in outstanding circulation; and $6,827,000 in United States bonds. There were also 101 State banks, having $2,390,000 capital, and $868,000 surplus.

Education.—There were in 1918 48,429 children of school age in the State. The enrollment in the public schools was 38,271, with an average daily attendance of 27,960. The teachers numbered 1,965. There is a normal school, which is connected with the University of Wyoming, at Laramie. The University also includes an Agricultural College, School of Mines, College of Mechanical Engineering, School of Music, and a Department of Home Economics.

Churches.—The strongest denominations in the State are the Roman Catholic; Methodist Episcopal; Lutheran, General Council; Protestant Episcopal; Presbyterian; Congregational; Regular Baptist; and Mormon.

Finances.—The receipts for the fiscal year 1917-1918 were $3,041,549, and the disbursements $2,404,903. There was a balance on hand of $2,058,894 at the end of the year. The bonded debt amounts to about $100,000, and the assessed valuation of real estate is about $300,000,000.

Charities and Corrections.—The institutions under State control include hospitals at Evanston, Rock Springs, and Sheridan; the penitentiary at Rawlins; Soldiers' and Sailors' Home at Buffalo; School for Defectives at Lander; Big Horn Hot Springs Reserve at Thermopolis, and an industrial institute at Worland.

Railroads.—The railway mileage in the State is about 2,000. The Union Pacific, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and the Chicago and Northwestern railroads have the longest mileage.

State Government.—The State officers are elected for a term of four years. The legislative sessions are held biennially in odd years, beginning on the second Tuesday in January, and are limited in length to 40 days each. The Legislature has 27 members in the Senate and 57 in the House, each of whom receives $5 per day and mileage. There is one Representative in Congress.

History.—The greater part of the area of Wyoming was included in that of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, though the W. section formed part of the Oregon settlement. It was organized as a Territory July 25, 1868, from what was then the S. W. portion of Dakota, the N. E. part of Utah, and from the E. part of Idaho, to which the name of Wyoming was given. This territory was admitted to the Union as a State July 10, 1890. The oldest white settlement within its confines was Fort Laramie, on Platte river, which was made a fur trading post in 1834, rebuilt by the American Fur Company in 1836, sold by them to the United States and garrisoned as a fort in 1849. It was long an important base of operations against the Indians, though it is now abandoned. Settlement took place very slowly till recently, the Indians occupying the more fertile districts. As the latter were removed, settlement became more rapid. The N. W. corner of the State, remarkable for its natural beauties and wonders, has been set aside as the Yellowstone National Park.


Collier's 1921 Wyoming.jpg
Copyright, L. L. Poates Eng. Co., 1921