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Kemmerer is the largest city in and the county seat of Lincoln County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 2,656 at the 2010 census. As the county seat of Lincoln County, Kemmerer is the location of the Lincoln County Courthouse.
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.
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 with an annual output of about 5 million tons.
Quealy sold lots in the townsite rather than lease them, which permitted the establishment of independent businesses. The company's subsidiary, Frontier Supply Company, provided electricity by utilizing a used $1,150 generator acquired in Utah. Quealy immigrated from Ireland. In Wyoming, he and his wife became active in Democratic Party politics and in St. Patrick's Church, for which the company donated land.
Quealy was the founding president of the First National Bank, established in 1900. Kemmerer Savings Bank was founded in 1909. Its president Asbury D. Hoskins was manager of the Blyth-Fargo-Hoskins Company, and was elected Wyoming state treasurer in 1919.
The J. C. Penney company store was founded in Kemmerer in 1902.
Kemmerer is located at 41°47′22″N 110°32′47″W (41.789391, −110.546299). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.81 square miles (20.23 km2), of which, 7.80 square miles (20.20 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.
Surrounded by high desert and the Rocky Mountains, Kemmerer experiences a continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with long, cold winters, short, warm summers and low precipitation year-round.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,656 people, 1,078 households, and 704 families residing in the city. The population density was 340.5 inhabitants per square mile (131.5/km2). There were 1,265 housing units at an average density of 162.2 per square mile (62.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.2% White, 0.2% African American, 1.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 3.9% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.8% of the population.
There were 1,078 households of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.7% were married couples living together, 4.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.7% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.03.
The median age in the city was 38.2 years. 24.5% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26% were from 25 to 44; 30.4% were from 45 to 64; and 11.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 52.2% male and 47.8% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,651 people, 1,034 households, and 695 families residing in the city. The population density was 359.7 people per square mile (138.9/km2). There were 1,208 housing units at an average density of 163.9 per square mile (63.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.72% White, 0.11% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.17% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.36% of the population.
There were 1,034 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.3% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.13.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.4% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 28.0% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 103.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 102.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,353, and the median income for a family was $55,529. Males had a median income of $45,921 versus $23,382 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,478. About 5.1% of families and 6.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.1% of those under the age of 18 and 5.7% of those 65 and older.
Kemmerer is the location of the first J. C. Penney mother store. The Fossil Butte National Monument is located 15 miles west of Kemmerer, Wyoming on U.S. Highway 30.
Kemmerer is located within Lincoln County School District #1, which includes Kemmerer Elementary School, Kemmerer Middle School, Kemmerer Alternative School and Kemmerer High School. Teresa Chaulk is the Superintendent of Schools.
Kemmerer, referred to as "Old Town," serves as the setting for Philip K. Dick's 1959 science fiction novel Time Out of Joint.
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