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Home | Wyoming | Above Average Costs | February 24, 2018

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Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!

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Reader Requested Short Review of Buffalo, Wyoming

Contrary to popular belief, more than a handful of people live in Wyoming. In fact, 4,700 people live in just Buffalo alone.  This quaint, high-altitude community is often called the "Mayberry of the West" and is tucked along Clear Creek at the foot of the rugged Big Horn Mountains in the northcentral section of the state.  It is also not far from the "Hole in the Wall" where outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid from law enforcement.

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The cost of living is 4% above the national average, and the median home price is $199,000. Buffalo has grown by 40% within the last 10 to 20 years, and 48% of residents are age 45 or better. The crime rate is below the national average. Racial diversity is minimal, and when it comes to politics, attitudes lean very much to the right.

Buffalo is along Interstate 25, and tourists wander in on their way to Yellowstone National Park, which is 135 miles to the west. Overall, though, this is a quiet place where not much happens after sunset. Neighbors know each other. Cars stop for jaywalking pedestrians. Men wear cowboy hats. Vehicles are mostly pick ups and SUVs. People are friendly, but they have a strong streak of individualism. Many folks live outside of town limits.

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The attractive downtown is about four blocks long and dotted with locally owned restaurants, banks, art galleries, a pharmacy, a sporting goods store and more. Many of Main Street's merchants are housed in awning-draped 19th century buildings. For items and services not found in town, residents travel to Sheridan, population 16,000, about 35 miles to the northwest.

Buffalo's greatest claim to fame is the historic Occidental Hotel, named by National Geographic as one of the top 129 hotels in North America. Built in the late-1800s, the Occidental is not only a hotel but a mini museum, a saloon and a fine dining establishment. It has hosted such notables as President Herbert Hoover, Calamity Jane and Buffalo Bill Cody. The creaking wooden floors, mounted dead animal heads and antique furniture are right out of a Hollywood movie. Locals say that sometimes late at night, when the air is still and the moon is full, old tyme player piano music wafts from an unknown room upstairs.

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The Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum is housed in a building built with money donated by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It boasts 10,000 Western and Native American artifacts and is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. Buffalo plays up its Western heritage for summer tourists by sponsoring Main Street parades, cookouts, carriage rides and Western re-enactments.

Residents spend a lot of time outdoors, fishing, snowmobiling and camping in the spectacular scenery of the Big Horns where wildlife is abundant. In town, the Clear Creek Centennial Trail is a groomed walking path along the river, and the Buffalo Golf Club has been named by Golf Digest as one of the best courses in the state.

The lovely Buffalo Senior Center has congregate meals, home-delivered meals, health care clinics, fitness classes, scheduled transportation, activity classes (bridge, ceramics, etc.), senior companion programs and more. The YMCA offers a number of fitness classes, too.

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The Johnson County Library has adult education classes, a good genealogy department and downloadable books (as well as old fashioned paper books).

Johnson County Healthcare Center is a 25-bed acute care facility with an ICU, surgical care, 24-hour emergency care, cancer care, home health care, hospice care and more. Medicare patients are accepted. Although it is not accredited by the Joint Commission, it has been named by the National Rural Hospital Association as one of the top 100 critical access hospitals in the country. The closest accredited hospital is Sheridan Memorial Hospital in Sheridan, 35 miles away.

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The Buffalo Area Public Transit System provides public transportation within town and also has a bus that runs to Sheridan.

Wyoming's climate is very dry, and Buffalo is no exception. On average, the area receives 13 inches of rain and 33 inches of snow each year. Summer temperatures are usually in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the teens, 20s and 30s. The sky, often a pale blue, stretches forever. The wind blows but is not as omnipresent as in other parts of Wyoming because Buffalo is tucked against the mountains. The air is crisp and clean, if a little thin, at 4,650 feet above sea level.

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Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, but... |   Is Wyoming Tax-Friendly for Retirement? Yes

People in search of a quiet, scenic and authentic Western destination may want to consider Buffalo as a retirement spot. On the other hand, limited shopping and dining, few cultural amenities, a remote (but accessible) location and an unaccredited hospital should be considered before relocating here.

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Wyoming

Wyoming's territorial legislature granted women the right to vote in 1869. It was the first government entity in the world to recognize "female sufferage." The Equality State entered the Union about 21 years later on July 10, 1890.

The 10th largest state by area, Wyoming is one of the country's smallest by population. The mean elevation is 6,700 feet above above sea level. The state can be divided by three distinct land areas. The Great Plains to the east are characterized by short grass, cottonwoods, and shrubs. Devils Tower National Monument rises out of this prairie. Ranges within Wyomings include the Big Horns and the Tetons. Ranges are separated by high plateaus known as the Intermontane Basins.

Depending on elevation, Wyoming can have cold winters and warm summers. Rain is rare. Snowfall in some mountain areas piles up to 200 inches or more per year. The southeastern portion of the state sees late spring thunderstorms and early summer tornados.

Tourism, energy, and agriculture contribute to the state's coffers. More than six million people visit Wyoming's national parks and monuments per year. Half of those visitors come to see stunning Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park.

An important part of Wyoming's cowboy culture, farms and ranches are leading producers of beef, hay, sugar beets, and wool. A major source of coal, coalbed methane, and crude oil, the state also has rich reserves of trona and natural gas.

Nellie Tayloe Ross became the country's first female governor in 1925. No other woman has served as Wyoming governor since.

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Stats:

Population - 585,501 

Persons 65 years old and over - 15%

High school graduates, persons age 25+ - 92% 

Bachelor's degree or higher, persons age 25+ - 26% 

Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin - 10% 

White persons, not Hispanic - 86% 

Median household income - $59,113 

Median home value - $199,900 

Social Security taxed? No

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

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