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Tiny, Tranquil Thayne, Once Called "Little Switzerland," is on the Northern Edge of Wyoming's Scenic Star Valley
Thayne is a peaceful town at the northern edge of Wyoming's Star Valley, a pretty, high-altitude area adjacent to Idaho, about 35 miles from gorgeous Jackson Hole and within 100 miles of spectacular Yellowstone National Park. It was settled by Mormons and once nicknamed "Little Switzerland" thanks to the creameries that dotted the landscape.
One of several small Valley towns, Thayne has Route 89 running through it, and retailers, including a hardward store, an equipment rental store, a Family Dollar store, a bank, a market, a gas station, a feed store and the like, sit along this road and a few others. Eateries, which are mostly diners and fast food places, are scattered around town. Most of the Art Council's concerts, lectures and events are held 15 miles away in Afton, but a Montana Shakespeare troupe brings its summertime performances to Thayne. Cutter racing, similar to chariot racing, is popular in these parts and takes place in Afton every Saturday afternoon during the winter.
The Valley and town are surrounded by national forests, but the baby blue sky, often dappled with wispy clouds, looms large. Moose, elk, mountain lions, osprey, grouse, antelope and jackalope (!) are all close at hand. The nearby Palisades Reservoir is open for boating, water skiing, and fishing. Snowmobilers have access to miles of groomed trails and open bowls.
Homes in town are mostly ranch ramblers, but there are some town homes. Many residences have a large lot with outbuildings or livestock pens. Homes outside of town are primarily ranch ramblers, cabins and A-frames with acreage.
Population: 400 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 38%
Cost of Living: 13% above the national average
Median Home Price: $475,000
Climate: On average, the area receives 14 inches of rain and 85 inches of snow per year. Summer temperatures are in the 70s and 80s, and winter temperatures are in the single digits, teens and 20s. The elevation is 5,954 feet above sea level.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No
At Least One Hospital Accredited By Joint Commission? No. Afton has a 22-bed critical access hospital, Star Valley Health, but it is not accredited. It does, though, receive good patient reviews. The closest accredited hospital is 90 miles away in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Public Transit: No
Crime Rate: Meets the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Four or five Democrats live here.
College Educated: 15%
Is Wyoming Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? Yes
Cons: This region of the country has a lot of wind. Two lane Route 89 is the only way in and out of town. It is crowded in the summer and fall when tourists come up from the south to visit Jackson Hole, the Tetons and Yellowstone, which are to the north of Thayne.
Notes: Thayne has grown by 3% within the last decade. It has little racial diversity. Home prices have nearly doubled since last year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes, although the lack of an accredited hospital is a concern.
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 is divided into three distinct land areas. The Great Plains to the east are characterized by short grass, cottonwoods, and shrubs. The mountain ranges include the Big Horns and the Tetons, and they 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 every 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.
Farms and ranches are an important part of Wyoming's cowboy culture, and they 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 was elected Wyoming's governor in 1925 and was the country's first female governor. No other woman has served as Wyoming governor since.
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