Backstory: Color photo of Casper's first McDonald's brings 1960s back to life - Casper, WY Oil City News
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Backstory: Color photo of Casper’s first McDonald’s brings 1960s back to life

The original Casper McDonald’s was open around 1960 at 2877 East Second Street. This image appears to have been made around 1965, judging by the cars in the parking lot. (Chamber of Commerce Collection, Western History Center at Casper College)

CASPER, Wyo. – A color photo of the Golden Arches in Casper captures a moment when the town was growing east during its post-war boom.

The photo, shot on color slide film, is now in the Chamber of Commerce Collection at the Casper College Western History Center, which recently posted it on their Facebook page.

It shows the dynamic midcentury design featuring what would become known as the “golden arches” and one of the most recognizable brands in the world.

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The restaurant was originally founded by the McDonalds brothers in the late-1940s, who pioneered “fast food” using assembly line techniques. The business was soon turned into a franchise model, which was also novel at the time.

The striking, small hamburger shops started popping up all over the country. Casper’s version opened around 1960, with a number of big newspaper ads encouraging Casperites to “Come and get ’em!”

Ads also touted the “All American Meal” of a burger, fries and shake for just 45 cents, which works out to a still-thrifty $3.95 today adjusted for inflation.

The restaurant was located at 2877 East Second Street, near a new Safeway and close to the newly-developed Hiltop Shopping Center. The area was rapidly growing with shopping and housing while Casper experienced an economic boom that helped fuel America’s post-war growth years.

Today Casper has three modern McDonald’s restaurants. The original Second Street building was heavily modified or demolished over the years, and has been used as a Godfather’s Pizza and a soda and smoke shop at various times. A Hobby Lobby and the Rescued Treasures thrift store occupy the buildings in back.

The last remaining original McDonald’s is in Downey, California.

The location of Casper’s first McDonald’s has been used as a Godfather’s Pizza and a Soda Central. (Google Maps)
An ad in the Casper Tribune-Harold from July 28, 1960 announces the opening of Casper’s first McDonald’s fast food restaurant.
A McDonald’s newspaper ad from 1961.