Did you know that the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County have never known a day without the Military?
It is true. Fort D. Russel, today known as F.E. Warren Air Force Base, was founded 150 years ago, alongside the City of Cheyenne and Laramie County. They made the area a community because the population was growing rapidly. The reason for growth was the military installation, which was placed in the area after President Lincoln and Congress found it imperative to protect the Union Pacific Railroad.
Military life was much different and served a much different purpose in 1867 than it does today. Detachments of the 30th Cavalry were the first to arrive and form a garrison. They were under the command of Col. John D. Stevenson. At first the troops lived in tents. They soon built wood-frame quarters in time for the winter cold and winds. Troops stationed here lived through the challenging winter weather without the luxuries we have today. I often think of how those early settlers and military men stayed warm. They were tough people inside and out!
Cheyenne was initially a part of the Dakota Territory, which later became the “Wyoming Territory.” The community was plotted by General Grenville Dodge in 1867 because of the Union Pacific Railroad crossing the Crow Creek. Therefore, the area was a great place for additional protection for the advancing transportation infrastructure. As a result, other community stakeholders were formed like the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, which is also celebrating their 150th Anniversary. In the beginning the military and the community worked together to protect a growing economy. They together have built Wyoming’s State Capitol City and it is stronger than ever!