On August 8, 1867, the first charter for the government of the City of Cheyenne was established after a group of citizens had met the day before at a mass meeting. On August 10, 1867, Hiram M. Hook, a livery stable owner, was elected Cheyenne’s first-ever Mayor. At the time, Cheyenne was situated in the Dakota Territory and had a population of approximately 600 people.
For most of the 19th century, Cheyenne’s top elected official served a one-year term. During the early 20th century a Mayor's term was extended to two years. It wasn’t until the mid 20th century that a four-year term became customary.
Mayor was the title initially given to Cheyenne’s top elected official and was used from 1867 to 1869. However, from 1870 to 1877 the title of President was used. During that time, the City Council was referred to as the Board of Trustees. Since 1878, each elected official has been given the title of Mayor.
Joseph M. Carey and Francis E. Warren served as Cheyenne’s 15th and 16th Mayor, respectively. Their time at City Hall was a precursor for other political offices. Both Carey and Warren were later elected to serve as Wyoming’s Governor and in the U.S. Senate. Carey also served in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The legacy of former Mayors can be seen throughout the City. Various streets, parks, buildings, and amenities throughout Cheyenne bare the namesake of a former Mayor. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Sloan Lake
- Carey Avenue
- Judge Joseph M. Carey Cheyenne City Center
- Warren Avenue
- F.E. Warren Air Force Base
- Allison Hall at First United Methodist Church
- Keefe Row
- Holliday Park
- Christensen Road
- George Cox Parking Facility
- Leo Pando Park
- Jack R. Spiker Parking Facility
Six individuals have served non-consecutive terms, with L.R. Bresnahan being elected five different times. The last Mayor to serve non-consecutive terms was Bill Nation (1962-66 and 1973-77).
Francis E. Warren (Jan. 1885 to March 1885) holds the distinction of shortest Mayoral term while the longest belongs to Don Erickson (1977-1989).
During Cheyenne's sesquicentennial celebration in 2017, a Mayors' Roundtable was held at the historic Atlas Theatre. The event featured Mayors Bill Nation, Don Erickson, Gary Schaeffer, Leo A. Pando, Jack R. Spiker, Richard L. Kaysen, and Marian Orr. Video of the Mayors' Roundtable can be found here.
Presently, the Mayor is elected at-large every four years.