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OVERVIEW OF NATRONA COUNTY, CITIES AND TOWNS:
Natrona County was created May 9, 1888 out of Carbon County. It was organized April 12, 1890. The origin of the name came from the Natron or soda deposits in the county -- deposits from which shipments have been made to Eastern markets for many years. Natrona County encompasses an area of 3,406,080 acres. Public Domain lands cover 950,688 acres, and there are 256,197 acres of state lands. The population of the county in 1990 was 61,226 down from 71,856 in 1980. Major industries are agriculture, oil, and refining oil. Natrona County also has an International Airport located west of the city of Casper. During World War II an Army Air Base was located at this airport. Casper Mountain, about five miles south of Casper, has a 500-acre county park, threaded with surfaced roads and is the location of Hogadon Ski area. The ski area has lifts, a snow machine, rental shop, and warming house. Alcova and Pathfinder reservoirs provide fishing, boating, and recreation.
Present day towns in Natrona County are given below and
those of old are identified as cites. Towns with a population of
less than 100 do not include 1990 population data.
Alcova (I6 on map) is located near the site of hot springs which flowed from solid rock walls in a canyon. An eastern group planned a health resort here in 1891, and named it Alcova because the springs were in a nest of coves. The project did not develop. Promoters decided Wyoming people took baths only on Saturday night! Alcova Dam was named for the town and was started in 1935 and completed in 1938. It is one of the largest dams in the Kendrick project on the North Platte, for water control and irrigation. Alcova power plant was built in 1955. A state park is also located there.
Arminto (D4 on map) was named for Manuel Armenta who owned the "Jack Pot" ranch near the railroad station. Postal officials changed the spelling of the name. It was the second incorporated town in Natrona County and had once hoped to be competition for Casper as a business center. Armenta was thought to be a horse thief but there are many stories of his kindness to people in trouble.
Edgerton (B8 on map, 247 pop.) is located near Midwest and is so named since it is on the edge of the famous Salt Creek oil fields.
Ervay (F3 on map), while not on the railroad, was a post office and stage line stop from Casper west to Lander. It was established in 1882 by Jake E. Ervay.
Evansville (G8 on map, 1,486 pop.) is located on the eastern edge of Casper. It was named for W.T. Evans, a blacksmith who homesteaded there. The Old Platte River Crossing nearby was used as early as 1834. Reshaw or Richard bridge was built near here in 1851-3.
Hiland (D3 on map) is a little spot in the road and was a post office called Wolton in early days. It was a large shipping station for wool. Jack Clark was station agent there in 1890, when it was known as Poison Creek Station. In 1895 the railroad built a reservoir on Poison Creek as a watering place for livestock. At one time Wolton had one of the largest machine-shearing plants for sheep in the west. The buildings were made of logs hauled from the Big Horn Mountains 40 miles away to the north. Wool was freighted to Casper on wagons. In 1906 the ranch was moved to the railroad and the name was changed to Walton for easier pronunciation. According to Betty Evenson, in 1927 the name was changed to Hiland as it is known today. All of the original buildings are gone.
Midwest (A8 on map, 495 pop.) was first called Shannon Camp when oil was hauled out with string teams to Casper in 1898. Salt Creek was crossed 17 times and it was very difficult. It took 16 horses to pull three tanks of crude oil. The round trip to Casper, in good weather, took a week. Midwest was the first place in the nation to have football games played at night under electric lights, in 1925.
Mills (F7 on map, 1,583 pop.) is a suburb of Casper and was named for James, William, and Thomas Mills, who plotted the Mill-Baker addition to Casper in 1919. James Mills was a railroad conductor.
Natrona (E6 on map) is a recent addition, being a shipping point for soda.
Powder River (E5 on map) was a railroad station named after the Powder River which runs north from that area. When the highway, seeking a direct route, failed to run through the village, they moved away from the railroad and became a wayside settlement leaving the station about 400 yards west.
Waltman (E4 on map) was once known as Keg Springs.
It was along the railroad and named by railroad officials for Waltman Walters,
son of early general manager of the Chicago and Northwestern.