Why Is Cheyenne The Capital Of Wyoming?

Why Is Cheyenne The Capital Of Wyoming?
Why Is Cheyenne The Capital Of Wyoming?


Are you considering a trip to Wyoming and interested in learning more about this amazing state? Have you always wondered about its capital city?

The capital of Wyoming is Cheyenne, and has been since 1869. This city is the largest in Wyoming, and it was named for the Cheyenne Indians, which were pushed out of the land by federal troops to make room for the railroad that arrived shortly after. Today, it enjoys trade traveling along the Rocky Mountains, and is home to a wide range of industries.

In this article, we’re going to find out more about the capital of Wyoming, and how it came into existence. We will cover some of the major historical talking points, examine how and why it became the capital, and talk about some of the best things to do when you’re in Cheyenne.

Where Is The Capital Of Wyoming Located? 

Where Is The Capital Of Wyoming Located
Where Is The Capital Of Wyoming Located

Cheyenne is in the southeastern corner of the state, situated at the edge of Crow Creek and Dry Creek. It is almost 50 miles east of Laramie city, and it’s one of the biggest urban areas, alongside Casper.

Wyoming itself is famous for flat, rolling plains, and indeed its name is derived from a Delaware word for “land of vast plains.” This is no surprise if you have ever visited the state, which is full of ranches and farms, with wide open spaces abound.

Brief History Of Cheyenne

Aerial View of Cheyenne, Wyoming's capitol
Aerial View of Cheyenne, Wyoming’s capitol

Cheyenne was founded in 1867, in the Dakota Territory, shortly before the Union Pacific Railroad was built. The site was selected to be the headquarters for the area, and then the town was incorporated and built. The first mayor was named H. M. Hook, and the first train ran through the town in November 1967. 

Cheyenne grew very fast after that, earning itself considerable fame, and it has remained the capital of Wyoming throughout its existence. The Territory of Wyoming was established in 1868, and Cheyenne was named the capital in 1869. It was initially only listed as the temporary capital, but it has never changed.

In 1875, gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and Cheyenne became an important base for miners. Thanks to the railroad, Cheyenne also became a center for the cattle industry and other livestock and it quickly grew and attracted wealthy individuals. It was soon seen as cultural, building an opera house, posh hotels, the Atlas Theater, and more.

Wyoming became a recognized state in 1890, and its capital has remained an important part of today’s world. Even after the importance of the railroad faded somewhat, Cheyenne continued to benefit from its location – because the Lincoln Highway was built, running from coast-to-coast, and providing a constant wave of through traffic.

When Did Cheyenne Become The Capital Of Wyoming?

Exterior of the Union Pacific Railroad Depot in Cheyenne.
Exterior of the Union Pacific Railroad Depot in Cheyenne.

Like many other state capitals, Cheyenne was the town of significance even before Wyoming became a state. It was built to be important, and was named the capital just 1 year after the Territory of Wyoming was recognized in 1868. Given that it was only built in 1867, becoming the capital by 1869 is an indication of just how key this area was.

Cheyenne remains the capital to this day, and with its massive population and its prosperity, it is highly unlikely that this will change anytime soon, especially since much of the rest of the state is sparsely populated.

Why Is Cheyenne The Capital Of Wyoming?

There are many reasons that Cheyenne became the capital of Wyoming, but the most important is undoubtedly the railroad. Without this, the town of Cheyenne might not even have existed; the founders of the Union Pacific Railroad needed a mountain base for their staff to coordinate their trains, and they created Cheyenne for this purpose.

Of course, many other things have helped to ensure that Cheyenne prospered. For example, the discovery of gold in the Black Mountains certainly drove a huge number of people to this area, bringing wealth and prestige to the town.

Its own geography was probably also a helpful feature, allowing space for wealthy individuals to build their homes and ensuring that their money stayed in the town. This, combined with later things like the highway and the emptiness of the rest of the area all meant that Cheyenne has been an obvious and uncontested choice for the capital pretty much since the day it was built.

Best Places To Visit In Cheyenne

There are a lot of great places that you will need to check out if you plan to visit Cheyenne. For example, the Wyoming State Museum is one of the first ports of call for many visitors, and it offers an enormous amount of information about the region and its history. You can see everything here, from dinosaur bones to pioneer wagons to Native American artifacts.

If possible, you should time your visit to take advantage of the Cheyenne Frontier Days, an annual festival that is dedicated to everything Wild West. It offers free food, rides, games, and a huge range of souvenirs, plus a saloon. With fancy dress and themed activities, this is a wonderful event to check out if you can.

The Botanical Gardens are also well worth a trip, bringing all the beauty of this rugged state into one place so you can enjoy it. The gardens are filled with flowers, trees, and even oranges. There are mazes, and a lovely fairy garden that will delight the kids. It’s a stunning place!

Alternatively, you might want to consider the Terry Bison Ranch, especially if you are an animal lover. This memorable tour involves boarding an old-fashioned train onto the ranch, where you will see a plethora of interesting animals, including llamas, camels, donkeys – and of course, bison.

You can ride the horses, feed the cattle, and even fish and have your catch cooked. This is an incredible family day out.


The capital of Wyoming is unique and extraordinary, and entirely based on the founding of the railroad. Without it, this glorious city would not have existed in its current form. Shaped by other events like the gold rush, Cheyenne is a must-visit location.

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!