Wyoming July 24, 2018
Most People Don’t Know The Meaning Behind These 9 Wyoming Town Names
If you’ve ever been driving down a highway in Wyoming and spotted a strange town name, you’re one of thousands of others who’ve wondered just what these names mean. From Ten Sleep to Lander, there’s got to be a story behind these odd names! While many towns in Wyoming are named after pioneers or Wild West heroes, there are a few with odd etymologies of their own. Read below to learn more!
Afton is a small Star Valley town that's mostly known for having an enormous elk antler arch spanning the town's main street. It's also home to Wyoming's intermittent spring. It's worth stopping to explore any time you're in the area, and it was named after the River Afton in Scotland.
Lander is a sweet, charming town that's one of Wyoming's best destinations. The name seems a little strange at first glace, though. Turns out, Lander is named after Frederick T. Lander, an intercontiental explorer who went on t serve as a Union General in the Civil War. In Wyoming, he was known for helping to survey the path of the railway to the Pacific.
3. Ten Sleep
Ten Sleep is a weird name for a town, but luckily its etymology is well known! The town was named because it was exactly "ten sleeps" from the Native American winter camps. Today, the town is known for its historic charm and stunning natural beauty.
Capser was the site of the former Fort Caspar. Fort Caspar was a stop along the Oregon Trail, where travelers could send telegrams, resupply, and use a ferry to cross the North Platte River (rather than caulking the wagons and floating, or trying to ford the river). So, why is the town spelled Casper and not Caspar? It was a typo, and nobody caught it until the town was registered.
5. Jay Em
You could probably go your whole life in Wyoming without even noticing the tiny town of Jay Em, but once you do, you've got to wonder about the name. It's not a long story, though... the original landowner down here was a man named James Moore. Yup... J. M.
Chugwater, Wyoming, has kind of a creepy past that led to its name. Legend says that this was the site of a Buffalo hunt. When the hunters chased the buffalo off a nearby cliff, they landed in a river, making a water-chugging sound. Huh.
Crowheart sounds like such a beautiful, peaceful name... until you hear the story of how it was named. Chief Washakie of the Shoshone and Chief Big Robber of the Crow fought over the rights to the Wind River hunting grounds. The Shoshone won, and Chief Washakie won. Instead of scalping his opponent, he cut his heart out and placed it on the end of a lance.
Meeteetse is a town in Park County that's a little hard to pronounce, but easy to fall in love with! The name was dervied from a Native American term meaning "meeting place", and it's still a great place to meet up for a meal with friends.
You would think with a name like Story that there'd be a story behind this town. There's really not... jsut the fact that Charles Story established the first building in the area. It was a post office, and he named the town after himself.
Despite their odd names, these towns are all worth visiting for their charm and culture! What’s your favorite small town in Wyoming? If you’re always on the lookout for more to explore, read
15 Small Towns In Rural Wyoming That Are Downright Delightful.