|Local History Books
published by the NCPL Foundation
The following books are available to purchase at the library's main checkout desk.
Call 577-READ for additional information.
All proceeds benefit the Natrona County Public Library Foundation,
supporting enhanced library services.
The Sand Bar
by Walter R. Jones
This is the story of a colorful and wild area of Casper, Wyoming, still known as the Sand Bar. This area of town was at one time a boomtown in itself; a district where men and women outside the law congregated to create a haven for criminals. In the late 1960s, however, the City of Casper chose to redirect the use of the Sand Bar so that it then became a respectable adjunct to the city’s legitimate business district. This book reflects the Sand Bar’s history from Casper’s beginnings to the end of urban renewal, as well as the more recent suggestion that the area become a site for a new public library facility.
About the Author: Walter R. Jones is a native of Casper, Wyoming, and has written several books and articles about his hometown. His first book, History of the Sand Bar: 1888-1977 is reprinted and updated here. He did the research for the book while working at the Natrona County Public Library as a reference librarian. The second book is A Window to the World: The First 100 Years of the Natrona County Public Library. One of his articles about Casper is “Casper’s Prohibition Years,” which appeared in the fall 1976 Annals of Wyoming. Jones has also written a book titled Derricks and Determination: Oil Exploration in a Portion of Southwestern Wyoming, 1847-1882. Jones is currently a resident of Salt Lake City, Utah, where he lives with his wife, Helen Walker Jones, and works as the University of Utah Library’s Assistant Head of Special Collections.
Natrona County: The Place We Call Home
Natrona County was established on April 8, 1890, but its history began long before. From mammoths and Indians, to homesteading, to oil exploration and production, to the present day, the book gives an overview of key elements of Natrona County’s history and its place within the wider world. Special sections pinpoint important topics such as dams on the North Platte River and famous buildings.
About the project: Students are to learn about their county’s history in the third grade according to Wyoming state curriculum. This book was designed as a comprehensive resource about local history, written for elementary students and teachers. As the project developed it became clear that families and other citizens would also be interested in the story of Natrona County told in a simple, yet thorough manner.
Editorial Committee Members:
Dana Van Burgh, Jr., Natrona County Historical Society
Rick Young and Erin Rose, Fort Caspar Museum
Teri Hedgpeth, Casper College Western History Center
Reid Miller, National Historic Trails Interpretive Center
Martha Karavitis, Natrona County School District #1
Guy Sallade, Woods Learning Center
Natrona County Public Library staff
Nettie Francis, writer
A Window to the World:
The First 100 Years of the Natrona County Public Library
by Walter R. Jones
On May 21, 1910, the Natrona County Public Library opened its doors for business. It was at first a small, one-person operation that housed a few hundred books and received less than $1,500 in annual funding from the county. Over the next one hundred years the library grew into the thriving institution we see today.
As county population and demand for library services grew, the library successfully expanded its facilities, undergoing construction projects in 1925, 1954, and 1970, and added branch libraries in Edgerton and Mills. The staff grew by approximately twoscore, collections increased to nearly 200,000 items, and budget allocations ultimately reached more than $2 million annually. Throughout its century of service, the library has been responsive to community needs in choosing books and other materials, while actively participating in numerous community outreach programs.
However, not all of the library’s history has been positive. It has suffered budget reductions during hard economic times, has sometimes faced the loss of significant portions of its collections through theft or mutilation, and has occasionally endured patrons behaving inappropriately within the library. Despite these challenges, the library and its staff have continued to serve the needs of Natrona County citizens, adapting to changes in technology, culture, and community expectations. Overall, the library’s history is one of sustained progress and continuing importance to the City of Casper and Natrona County.