On July 4,1867 the first tents...
On July 4,1867 the first tents were pitched on the site now known as Cheyenne. Cheyenne means 'aliens', or 'people of foreign language'. The Sioux Indians gave this name to the Indian tribe 'Dzitsistes', who roamed the open plains. Their spelling was Shyenne.
The first settlers were men who moved west to work on the Union Pacific Railroad. The majority of settlers moved away when the railroad was completed in November of that same year. Those who stayed joined others who came to form the new western town.
By 1869 Cheyenne was home to a variety of residents, including railroad gangs, soldiers from Fort D.A. Russell (which is now F.E. Warren Air Force Base), and employees From Camp Carlin, a supply camp for all the northern posts on the Indian frontier. This mostly rough population gave entrance to the type of entertainment that became associated with the 'Wild West'.
Cheyenne was a lively place with five 'variety' theaters in operation simultaneously. Every other building was a saloon. The shows had regular stages and gave what was called 'burlesque' performances with plenty of female performers.
The Union Pacific Railroad, one of the most heavily traversed railroads in the country, passed through Cheyenne, bringing some of the best shows of the times. After the opera house was erected in 1882, performers such as Lily Langtry (immortalized by Judge Roy Bean) stopped in Cheyenne on their way, to San Francisco.