150 years ago today, on Dec. 14, 1867, the first town charter was ratified by the Dakota Territorial Legislature and the city of Cheyenne was officially incorporated.

Shortly after the Union Pacific Railroad arrived, a local government was formed, a mayor was elected and a city charter had been written. By the time the charter was approved five months later, the "Magic City of the Plains" had swelled to a population of 4,000, with a school and hundreds of thriving businesses.

Although the Territorial Legislature granted the city power to impose and enforce laws, the bustling outpost was soon overrun by gamblers and gunslingers and earned the nickname "Hell On Wheels". As a result, city leaders relied on vigilante posses instead of the court to drive unsavory settlers out of town.

The following year, Cheyenne became the capital for the newly formed Wyoming Territory, which was created with land allocated from the Dakota, Idaho and Utah Territories. It continued as the territorial capital until Wyoming was granted statehood in 1890.


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