The Baggs Public School complex
Baggs is located in the Little Snake River Valley of south-central Wyoming. The first Europeans to pass through this area were trappers with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1812. The next recorded group of Europeans in the Valley of the Little Snake were 3 men who came upon another white man (Joseph Walker, later an explorer in Nevada and California with John C. Fremont and Kit Carson) who was living in a 500-lodge village of Shoshone Indians. Kit Carson himself trapped in this area during the 1830's. John C. Fremont came through in one of his exploration expeditions in 1842 and remarked that he had never seen any place in the West that had as much wild game as he saw in the Little Snake River area. 1849 saw a band of Cherokees pass through the valley on their way to the California gold fields. 1850 saw the surveying of the Bridger Trail through the area, and by 1860, that trail had become a major route for westward bound emigrants.
The Baggs area was also a regular hideaway for Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch. In the center of town you'll find the Gaddis Mathews House, a favorite hangout of Butch and the boys. In those days, the log home served as a boarding house and Saturday night dance hall. Butch would show up on Saturday evenings with his harmonica (supposedly he was really good) and often entertain the guests. Some local residents still insist that Butch was in town on hunting trips with friends in 1929 and 1930, long after he was supposedly killed in Bolivia.
Another noteworthy place in Baggs is the Bank Club Bar. Originally built as a bank, the property became a bar that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Baggs is also known as the Gateway to the Red Desert, a land of wild horses, red-tailed hawks and large herds of pronghorns. The Red Desert is also the largest piece of unfenced land in the contiguous 48 states.
The town of Baggs is named in honor of George Baggs, a man who brought 2,000 head of cattle into the valley in 1873. Cattle were the economic mainstay of the valley until the fateful winter of 1886-7 when severe weather killed huge numbers of cattle all over Wyoming. After that, many cattle ranchers became sheep ranchers and the economics shifted a bit. Mining was a hit-and-miss proposition for many years with copper, gold, silver and uranium being the primary minerals mined. Then substantial oil reserves were found in 1954.
These days, the big mineral production effort is toward natural gas/coalbed methane extraction. This part of Carbon County is underlain with huge coal beds but they are down deep enough to not be economically feasible for mining at today's prices.
High School or Higher: 87.6%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 13.7%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 5.8%
2011 Cost of Living Index for Baggs: 79.5
Median Resident Age: 39.0 Years
Estimated Median Household Income: $30,390
Estimated Median Home Value: $115,400
Population Density: 696 People per Square Mile
Mining, Lodging & Food Services, Educational Services, Utilities, Agriculture, Transportation Services, Construction, Government
Unemployed (March 2011): 7.8%
Population Demographics: 2010
|Population by Age|
|18 & over||321|
|65 & over||46|
|Population by Ethnicity|
|Hispanic or Latino||50|
|Non Hispanic or Latino||390|
|Population by Race|
|Hawaiian or Pacific Islander||0|
|Two or more||2|
Rawlins - Riverside - Saratoga - Sinclair - Carbon County
Medicine Bow National Forest - Seminoe State Park - Snowy Range Scenic Byway
Pathfinder NWR - Seminoe to Alcova Back Country Byway
Encampment River Wilderness - North Platte River Wilderness
Huston Park Wilderness - Savage Run Wilderness