Gillette, Wyoming

Gillette is a city in and the county seat of Campbell County, Wyoming, United States.[8] The population was estimated at 30,560 as of July 1, 2017.[9] Gillette is centrally located in an area involved with the development of vast quantities of American coal, oil, and coalbed methane gas. The city calls itself the "Energy Capital of the Nation," noting that the state of Wyoming provides nearly 35% of the nation's coal.[10] Over the last decade, Gillette had a population increase of 48% from the 2000 census of 19,646 residents.[11] [12]

Gillette, Wyoming
Gillette seen from Overlook Park
Location of Gillette in Campbell County, Wyoming.
Coordinates: 44°16′58″N 105°30′19″W
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Campbell
  BodyGillette City Council
  MayorLouise Carter-King [2]
  Total23.02 sq mi (59.63 km2)
  Land22.99 sq mi (59.53 km2)
  Water0.04 sq mi (0.10 km2)
4,554 ft (1,388 m)
  Density1,329.50/sq mi (513.33/km2)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)307, exchanges 670, 682, 685-688
FIPS code56-31855[6]
GNIS feature ID1609094[7]


Before its founding, Gillette started as Donkey Town, named after Donkey Creek, and then was moved and called Rocky Pile after Rocky Draw.[13]

Gillette was founded in 1891 with the coming of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad and incorporated on January 6, 1892, less than two years after Wyoming became a state. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad changed the name to Gillette for Edward Gillette, who worked as a surveyor for the company.[14]

In November 1895, a fire destroyed most of Gillette. Only two saloons, two stores, and a restaurant survived. [15]

In 1974, U.S. psychologist ElDean Kohrs used the town as the basic example of what he called the Gillette syndrome, the social disruption that can occur in a community due to rapid population growth. During the 1960s, Gillette doubled its population from 3,580 to 7,194 residents.[16] Kohrs proposed that this fast increase of population caused the phenomenon known as Gillette syndrome, resulting in increased crime, high costs of living, and weakened social and community bonds. Some of Kohrs' claims about the energy industry's influence have later been disputed, since similar increases in divorce rates, welfare usage, and crime were also seen in other rapidly growing areas of the country.[17]

The census-designated place Antelope Valley-Crestview was annexed by the city on January 1, 2018.[18] The population of Antelope Valley-Crestview was 1,658 at the 2010 census and it has a total area of 4.9 mi2 (12.7 km²2).


Gillette is located at 44°16′58″N 105°30′19″W (44.282660, 105.505256).[19] It is situated between the Bighorn Mountains to the west and the Black Hills to the east, in the Powder River Basin.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.00 square miles (49.21 km2), of which 18.97 square miles (49.13 km2) are land and 0.03 square miles (0.08 km2) is covered by water.[20]

Few trees were in Gillette when it was founded. The native trees were box elder and cottonwood and were found along creeks. The oldest surviving non-native trees were planted in the 1940s. The earliest planted trees were almost exclusively elm, cottonwood, white poplar, green ash, Colorado blue spruce, and Ponderosa pine. In the 1960s, crab apples, honey locust, catalpa, European mountain-ash, and other evergreen trees were planted. Nurseries started to sell trees in the 1970s, which further increased tree diversity. [21]


Gillette seen from Overlook Park showing much of the city north of Interstate 90
View from Mount Pisgah Cemetery showing the city south of Interstate 90


Gillette has a semiarid climate (Köppen climate classification BSk) and is situated in USDA plant hardiness zone 4b. [22]

Climate data for Gillette, Wyoming
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67.0
Average high °F (°C) 37.2
Daily mean °F (°C) 25.9
Average low °F (°C) 14.5
Record low °F (°C) −36
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.39
Source #1: NOAA (normals, 1981–2010)[23]
Source #2: The Weather Channel (Records)[24]


Historical population
Est. 201831,903[5]9.7%

As of 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $69,581, and for a family was $78,377. Males had a median income of $41,131 versus $22,717 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,749. About 5.7% of families and 7.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.2% of those under age 18 and 14.1% of those age 65 or over.

Racial makeupEst. 2018 [9]2010 [26]2000 [27]
Black or African American0.4%0.4%0.2%
American Indian and Alaska Native0.8%1.2%1.0%
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander0.0%0.0%0.1%
Other race-3.2%1.3%
Two or more races3.3%2.2%1.5%
Hispanic or Latino of any race10.2%9.5%3.9%
White, not Hispanic or Latino85.4%--

2010 census

As of the census[4] of 2010, 29,087 people, 10,975 households, and 7,299 families resided in the city. The population density was 1,533.3 inhabitants per square mile (592.0/km2). The 12,153 housing units averaged640.6 per square mile (247.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.2% White, 0.4% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 3.2% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 9.5% of the population.

Of the 10,975 households, 38.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.2% were married couples living together, 10.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 7.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.5% were not families. About 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 4.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the city was 30.6 years. 28% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.9% were 18 to 24; 30.6% were 25 to 44; 24.8% were 45 to 64; and 5.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 52.3% male and 47.7% female.

Arts and culture

The volunteer board called the Mayor's Art Council runs the Avenues of Art program in Gillette. The program pays artists to display sculptures while it remains for sale. Each year newly selected works are shown at the Donkey Creek Festival where visitors can meet the artists.[28] 113 sculptures are currently on display through the Avenues of Art program and 289 have been shown since 2004.[29] Participating artists have included Jane DeDecker, Gary Lee Price, and Benjamin Victor.[30]

A second program called Sculpture Walk is operated by the Sculpture Committee. First started in 2018 the program works similar to the Avenues of Art with artists paid to display their sculptures for sale at Mount Pisgah Cemetery.[31]

The Wyoming Center at the CAM-PLEX, a 9,000-seat arena located at the CAM-PLEX Multi-Event Facilities just east of the city, was completed in 2008. The center hosts events ranging from concerts and balls to sporting events.

Annual cultural events

The free multi-day event, Donkey Creek Festival is held in every June at the Gillette College. It include the Avenues of Arts reception, concert, car and motorcycle show, disc golf tournament, and 5K run and walk. While the festival is free there are art and food vendors and alcohol is available at a beer garden. The Donkey Creek Festival has grown significantly since it started in 2006.[32]

The Gillette chapter of PFLAG hosts an annual pride event to support the local LGBTQ community. Previous years have included a pot luck, picnic, and bowling.[33][34] In 2019, PFLAG held the Pride Drag Show at AVA Community Art Center as part of their pride event.[35]


In 2018, 8,515 people visited the Gillette Convention and Visitors Bureau which is in the parking lot of Pilot Flying J. While hunters always use the center most visitors asked about coal mine tours and museum information. Of the 569 visitors who identified where they were from 473 were from 46 states in the United States and 96 were from 23 other countries.[36]


The Wyoming Center at the CAM-PLEX hosts sporting events including the National High School Finals Rodeo and amateur wrestling.[38] The Spirit Hall Ice Arena is located in the east end of the Wyoming Center.[39]

The Campbell County Recreation Center is a 190,000-ft2 facility that was established April 2010. This facility includes a 42-ft climbing wall resembling the Devils Tower National Monument. Also, an 81,000-ft2 field house that contains basketball courts, a six-lane track, swimming and diving facilities, and five indoor tennis courts.[40]

The Campbell County Ice Arena contains an ice rink for ice hockey and ice skating plus an area for curling.[41]

The Energy Capital Sports Complex site has four fast-pitch softball fields that can be converted for Little League baseball. The fields use Slitfilm synthetic turf with sand-rubber infill. A 28,000-ft2 protected spectator viewing area has a grass play area. A 2.4-mi recreation trail runs around the complex. Since the grand opening in 2015, the complex has hosted many tournaments, including the Razor City Softball Tournament and the 2016 Wyoming ASA State Softball Tournament.[42]


Gillette is governed by an elected mayor and a city council with six members. Gillette is split into three wards, each represented by two council members. The mayor and council members serve four-year terms.[1]

Under the mayor and city council, the city government consists of the city attorney, municipal court, and city administration. The city administration consists of several departments and their divisions. Those departments are Human Resources, Finance, Police, Development Services, Public Works, and Utilities.[43]

The city council holds regular sessions on first and third Tuesday of every month in the Council Chambers at City Hall. In addition, the council also holds agenda review meetings and meetings before regular sessions. All meetings are open to the public except executive sessions. [44] Current council members are Shawn Neary, Bruce Brown, Tim Carsrud, Billy Montgomery, Nathan McLeland, and Shay Lundvall.[45]

The sale and production of liquor is regulated by the city.[46] The number of licenses is capped by population by state law and due to scarcity have been sold privately for as much as $300,000.[47]


Public education in the city of Gillette is provided by Campbell County School District #1. Gillette is home to Campbell County High School and Thunder Basin High School. Gillette College, a two-year college, is part of the Northern Wyoming Community College District.

Gillette has a public library, a branch of the Campbell County Public Library System.[48]


Gillette has one newspaper, the Gillette News-Record, published by Ann Kennedy Turner, The News-Record was originally two newspapers, the Gillette News and the Campbell County Record. The News-Record became a daily July 14, 1975.

Gillette receives a strong digital television signal from K09YI-D on channel 9, a moderate signal from KHSD-TV FOX on channel 5, and a weak signal from KQME ABC on channel 11 and KSGW-TV ABC on channel 12.[49]

Gillette Public Access Television is the only television station located in Gillette. It is a traditional PEG cable-access station operated by the City of Gillette. It can be viewed on Charter Communications Cable channels 189 (Education), 190 (Public Access) and 192 (Government).[50]


At Gillette, Wyoming, a LORAN-C transmitter is at 44°00'11" N and 105°37'24" W. Its antenna, a 700-ft-high (213.36 m) guyed radio mast.


Campbell County Memorial Hospital in Gillette is part of Campbell County Health. The hospital has 90 beds for acute care and is certified as an area trauma hospital.[51]


At Gillette is a Wyoming National Guard armory. The A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery of the Wyoming National Guard are based in Casper, Gillette, and Lander. Also, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System unit is based in Gillette. In recent years, soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 300th Field Artillery have been deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Freedom's Sentinel. [52]


Gillette–Campbell County Airport (GCC) is served by United Airlines operated by SkyWest Airlines. SkyWest currently operates six flights daily in and out of Gillette to Denver.[53]


Notable people

In David Breskin's bildungsroman The Real Life Diary of a Boomtown Girl [62], Randi Bruce Harper is raised by parents in the Wyoming "oil-field service business"; as an adult, she drives a Wabco haul truck "down in the pit" while living with her husband in Gillette. Randi is a member of the first all-female blasting team, the "Boom-Boom Girls".

The Manticore facility is set in Gillette in the cyberpunk TV show Dark Angel [63] and the books based on the show.[64] Several fan fiction stories were written with Gillette central to the story because of the reference.[65][66]

Marcus Sakey, in his Brilliance trilogy, lists Gillette as one of the three entrances (along with Rawlins and Shoshoni) to the New Canaan Holdfast, a large portion of Wyoming land owned by "abnorms".[67]

In an interview with HorrorHound magazine, actor and musician Bill Moseley of the band Cornbugs said he was the great-grandson of Edward Gillette and named their studio album Donkey Town in honor of Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad's decision to change the name of Donkey Town to Gillette as a reward for Edward Gillette's surveying work.[68]

On December 5, 1998, Cheryl Trover, a math teacher at Campbell County High School kidnapped and tied up her children, shot her husband John Trover with a .22-caliber pistol, and stabbed him to death with a hunting knife. She had stolen the gun from her lover of 4 years, John Riley, the principal at the same school. She then set fire to her pickup truck and lied to police about who committed her crimes. Once police suspected her, she killed herself with a .270 rifle at a friend's house.[69] The events were dramatized in the crime story TV shows Redrum and Murderous Affairs.[70][71]

Sister cities

After the mayor of Gillette visited a coal conference in China, a delegation from Yulin, Shaanxi, came to Gillette. These meetings eventually led both to become sister cities in 2012.[72][73]


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