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The construction of the Union Pacific Railroad brought hopes of prosperity to the region when it reached Cheyenne on November 13, 1867. The population at the time numbered over 4,000, and grew rapidly. This rapid growth earned the city the nickname "Magic City of the Plains".
The Wyoming State Capitol was constructed between 1886 and 1890, with further improvements being completed in 1917.
The Wyoming Stock Growers Association met at The Cheyenne Club, which allegedly acted as an interim government for the territory. Many of the WSGA's rules and regulations became state laws.
The Cheyenne Regional Airport was opened in 1920, initially serving as a stop for airmail. It soon developed into a civil-military airport, serving DC-3s and various military craft. During World War II, hundreds of B-17s, B-24s, and PBYs were outfitted and upgraded at the airfield. Today, it serves a number of military functions, as well as a high-altitude testbed for civilian craft.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.63 square miles (63.79 km2), of which 24.52 square miles (63.51 km2) is land and 0.11 square miles (0.28 km2) is water.
Cheyenne, like most of the rest of Wyoming, has a cool semi-arid climate (KöppenBSk), and is part of USDA Hardiness zone 5b, with the suburbs falling in zone 5a. Winters are cold and moderately long, but relatively dry, with December, the coldest month, having a normal mean temperature of 27.7 °F (-2.4 °C), highs that fail to breach freezing occur 35 days per year, and lows dip to the 0 °F (-18 °C) mark on 9.2 mornings. However, the cold is often interrupted, with chinook winds blowing downslope from the Rockies that can bring warm conditions, bringing the high above 50 °F (10 °C) on twenty days from December to February.
Snowfall is greatest in March and April, seasonally averaging 60 inches (1,500 mm), historically ranging from 13.1 inches (330 mm) between July 1965 and June 1966 up to 121.5 inches (3,090 mm) between July 1979 and June 1980, yet thick snow cover rarely stays. Summers are warm, with a high diurnal temperature range; July averages 69.4 °F (20.8 °C), and highs reach 90 °F (32 °C) on an average twelve afternoons annually. Spring and autumn are quick transitions, with the average window for freezing temperatures being September 29 thru May 14, allowing a growing season of 106 days. Official record temperatures range from -38 °F (-39 °C) on January 9, 1875, up to 100 °F (38 °C) on June 23, 1954, the last of four occurrences; the record cold daily maximum is -21 °F (-29 °C) on January 11, 1963, while, conversely, the record warm daily minimum is 68 °F (20 °C) on July 31, 1960. The annual precipitation of 15.9 inches (400 mm) tends to be concentrated from May to August and is low during fall and winter; it has historically ranged from 5.04 inches (128.0 mm) in 1876 to 23.69 inches (602 mm) in 1942.
The city averages below 60% daily relative humidity in each month and receives an average 2,980 hours (~67% of the possible total) of sunshine annually. On July 16, 1979 an F3tornado struck Cheyenne causing one death and 40 injuries. It was the most destructive tornado in Wyoming history.
At the 2005-2007 American Community Survey 3-Year Estimates, the city's population was 87.2% White or European American (79.3% non-Hispanic White alone), 12.7% Hispanic or Latino (of any race), 4.5% Black or African American, 2.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 2.1% Asian and 6.4% from some other race. 22.5% of the total population had a Bachelor's degree or higher.
As of the census of 2010, there were 59,467 people, 25,558 households, and 15,270 families living in the city. The population density was 2,425.2 inhabitants per square mile (936.4/km2). There were 27,284 housing units at an average density of 1,112.7 per square mile (429.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 77.44% European American, 2.88% African American, 0.96% Native American, 1.24% Asian, 0.20% Pacific Islander, 4.0% from other races, and 3.28% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 14.45% of the population.
There were 25,558 households of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.3% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.92.
The median age in the city was 36.5 years. Twenty-four percent of residents were under the age of 18; 9.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.9% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 49.3% male and 50.7% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 53,011 people, 22,324 households, 14,175 families living in the city, and 81,607 people living in the Metropolitan Statistical Area making it the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Wyoming. The population density was 2,511.4 inhabitants per square mile (969.6/km2). There were 23,782 housing units at an average density of 1,126.7 per square mile (435.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 78.1% White or European American, 2.8% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.4% from other races, and 2.7% from two or more races. 12.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 22,324 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 10.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.5% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.93.
The city has a wide range of age groups, with 24.9% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 22.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.8% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $38,856, and the median income for a family was $46,771. Males had a median income of $32,286 versus $24,529 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,809. About 6.3% of families and 8.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.1% of those under age 18 and 5.8% of those age 65 or over.
Cheyenne's government consists of a mayor and a city council, elected on a non-partisan basis. The mayor is elected in a citywide vote. The city council has nine members each of whom are elected from one of three wards. Each ward elects three members. The mayor's office is responsible for managing the various city departments which consist of Street/Alley, Police, Fire, Parks, Fleet Maintenance, Traffic, Sanitation, Downtown Historic District, Weed and Pest, Facilities Maintenance, and Cemetery. The Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities is owned by the city but is semi-autonomous.
The Cheyenne Warriors were founded as an American Professional Football League team in 2012. After playing a season in the APFL, they announced a move to the Indoor Football League. Shortly after the owner of the team died in December 2012, the Warriors announced that they were forming the new Developmental Football League. After playing several games in this new league, the team folded in May 2013.
Cheyenne's VFW post (1980) photographed by John Margolies, catalogues of roadside attractions
Cheyenne Frontier Days, which is held over ten days centered around the last full week in July, is the largest outdoor rodeo in the US. The events include professional bull riding, calf roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling, team roping, bronc riding, steer roping, bareback riding, and many others. During this week there are many parades and other events. Additionally there is a carnival with numerous rides, games, and shops.