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Sometime, in the late 1800's, this house was built on a hill at the base of Casper Mountain, just 1.2 mi. driving distance to the center of what we now know as the City of Casper, Wyoming. In those days, the surrounding land was owned by the Carey Brothers Ranch, and Casper was only a settlement. Because of the central location in the State, with the North Platte River running through it, Casper became the ideal place to start a town. In 1889, when Casper was incorporated, it consisted of a dirt street and a few wood-framed buildings such as a dry goods store, a hotel, a few bars, and brothels, lots of brothels. The town's business catered mostly to the ranchers, settlers and those just passing through. It was a hard and lawless land and the real Wild West.

Over twenty years ago, I was visited by an elderly gentleman who asked if he could see the house. He told me he lived in this house with his family as a child, until he was about nine years old. We walked through the house as he recalled his memories, and when he told me that this house, including the outhouse, was the only building for "as far as the eye could see", I had to do the math, which led to research and the history of Casper. With this elderly gentleman's memories of years ago, with the evidence found during the reconstruction process, together with the recorded history at hand, I was able to fill in some pieces of information and surmise my own story of this old house.

Back in the late 1880s with pioneers settling in, Casper began, and with it came the "Sand Bar District", which has much colorful history. Still referred to as "The Sand Bar", where the many brothels or cribs were located, served the cowboys, outlaws, cattlemen, and later, the oilmen. Some of the well-to-do Madams would occasionally seek solace from their work at unidentified residential homes outlying the town.

Native Americans in downtown Casper

This photo was taken in the late 1880s, while Wyoming was only a territory. This shows natives dancing at what is now known as the corner of Center Street and Midwest Street, Casper, while citizens watched the show.

Early Center Street, Casper, Wyoming

This photo was taken in 1890; Center Street, Casper, Wyoming, one year before Casper was incorporated as a town in 1889, with a population of approximately 1,200. During its first years, Casper was a rough-and-tumble town. The west side of Center Street featured numerous saloons and the raucous culture that went with them. Early law enforcement tried to keep order among rowdy cowboys, celebrating sheepherders and ever-present prostitutes.

The Sand Bar District, Casper, Wyoming

THE SAND BAR DISTRICT in the 1890s was home to several brothels that served the wealthy ranchers and cowboys in the surrounding areas. When the oil industry exploded in 1906, all brothels that were located on Center Street were moved to the Sand Bar area, one block west of Center Street; population then was approximately 5,600.

The Wonder Bar, Casper, Wyoming

While the town's population more than quadrupled in size around 1900, many speakeasies popped up in the district, operating with the support of the local law enforcement, who were among their most loyal clients. A horse accompanying their cowboy in the bar was not a strange occurrence, and neither was a campfire built in the center of the floor of the bar during the coldest times of the winter.