Kemmerer, Wyoming

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Kemmerer is a city in Lincoln County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 2,651 at the 2000 census. It dubs itself the "The Fossil Fish Capital of the World" and the "Gateway to the West." As the county seat of Lincoln County,[3] Kemmerer is the location of the Lincoln County Courthouse.[4]


Geography and climate

Kemmerer is located at 41°47′22″N 110°32′47″W / 41.78944°N 110.54639°W / 41.78944; -110.54639 (41.789391, -110.546299)[5].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.4 square miles (19.1 km²), of which, 7.4 square miles (19.1 km²) of it is land and 0.14% is water.

Kemmerer is surrounded by high desert and the Rocky Mountains.


Explorer John C. Frémont discovered coal in the area during his second expedition in 1843. The Union Pacific Coal Company opened the first underground mine in 1881 after construction of the Oregon Short Line Railroad from Granger to Oregon.[7]

Patrick J. Quealy (1857–1930) founded Kemmerer as an "independent town" in 1897 when he was vice-president of the Kemmerer Coal Company, located 6 miles (9.7 km) south of the original townsite. He named the company and town after his financial backer, Pennsylvania coal magnate Mahlon S. Kemmerer (1843–1925). In 1950, the operation converted to strip mining and became the world's largest open pit coal mine. In 1980 the Kemmerer Coal Co. was sold to the Pittsburg & Midway Coal Company, now a subsidiary of the Chevron Corporation. The pit remains in operation today with an annual output of about 5 million tons.

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