Casper, city (1990 pop. 46,742), alt. 5,123 ft (1,561 m), seat of Natrona co., E central Wyo., on the North Platte River; inc. 1889. It is a rail, distribution, processing, and trade center in a farming, ranching, and mineral-rich area. An oil boomtown since the first well was tapped in 1890, it has many oil-affiliated industries. There is open-pit uranium mining nearby, and gas and coal production. The city has wool and livestock markets, meatpacking plants, varied manufacturing, and a growing tourist industry. At this fording place on the Oregon Trail the Mormons in 1847 established a ferry, which was in the 1850s superseded by Platte Bridge. The city was founded (1888) with the coming of the railroad and expanded with the discovery of oil at Salt Creek, followed by the Teapot Dome and Big Muddy finds. In 1948 wells in the Lost Soldier field of Sweetwater co. brought another boom. Nearby are the Central Wyoming Fairgrounds; the restored Old Fort Caspar Museum (a clerk's error accounts for the later spelling of the name); and Casper Mt. (c.8,000 ft/2,440 m high). Tourist attractions in the surrounding area include Hell's Half Acre, a spectacular eroded area; Independence Rock; and a petrified forest.
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