Casper, Wyoming, is my birthplace. I was pained that American Heritage spells it Caspar in April’s article on the Powder River Country, although the accompanying map spells it correctly.
Perhaps Oakley Hall, the writer, spelled it Caspar because that is what it should be—but isn’t. The town is named for Lt. Caspar Collins of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry. He was killed in a skirmish with Indians on July 26, 1865. The military post was renamed Fort Caspar. It was rebuilt in 1936 on the original site. It exists today as Fort Caspar, west of the town.
The town was incorporated in 1889, when it had a population of a few hundred and had eight saloons on five-hundred-foot-long Main Street. Town fathers at their first meeting outlawed the discharge of firearms, but the mayor himself won a pistol duel on Main Street within the following year. Maybe relaxed attitudes had something to do with it, but the town became Casper early in its colorful history, and it remains Casper today.