History of Cheyenne

Magic City of the Plains

The City of Cheyenne had its beginning in 1867, when the Union Pacific Railroad came through on its way to the west coast. The town site was first surveyed by General Grenville Dodge and was named for an Indian tribe that roamed the area (originally called ‘Shey’ an’ nah’, belonging to the tribe of Alogonquian, the largest family of Indians on the North American Continent). Settlement came so fast that the nickname "Magic City of the Plains" was adopted.

A City of the First Class

On August 8, 1867, the first charter for the government of the City of Cheyenne was established. On August 10, 1867, H. M. Hook was elected mayor. At the time, Cheyenne was situated in the Dakota Territory and had a population of approximately 600 people. The following December a permanent city charter was granted by the Dakota Territory legislature. On January 5, 1914, the commissioner form of government was formally adopted by the City of Cheyenne. Cheyenne was proclaimed to be "a City of the First Class" organized under the provisions of the State of Wyoming with all the powers and obligations thereto on July 9, 1945.

Mayor-Council Government

A special election was held on June 22, 1971, to determine if the commissioner form of government should be replaced with the mayor-council form. As a result of that election, in the fall of 1971, a mayor and nine councilmen were elected to take office on January 3, 1972, under the new form of government.

Presently, the Mayor is elected At-Large every four years. Three council members are elected from each of three wards on a staggered basis.