Ever wonder why there are the little county numbers on the Wyoming license plates, or why Teton County is number 22, while the uber-scenic and desirable Natrona County is number 1? Well I did, and I came across some interesting information the other day that I think you might find interesting.
What would the county numbers be now?
The first thing I learned was that there are counties in Wyoming, like Niobrara County, I have never even heard of and am not totally sure how to pronounce. The other thing I learned was that the numbers that are located on the license plates indicating the 23 different counties were added in 1930 and were assigned to each county based on the assessed value of the land with each county’s boarders. On that basis, Natrona and Laramie Counties, which were thought to hold large amounts of mineral resources, were given the distinction of being number 1 and 2, while the believed to be mineral resource poor Teton and Sublette Counties were at the very bottom…being numbers 22 and 23.
License plate numbers associated with each county.
Now, the numbers haven’t changed since 1930 and there has been no effort by the state to go about and re-number the counties based on current property values. I’m not saying they should, but if they did…I’m pretty sure things would be quite different. For one, Sublette County would most likely go from being last on the list to the very top…and become number 1. With the vast amounts of natural gas known to be located in it and now being recovered by the Pinedale Anticline, Sublette County has the top oil producing field in the state and it’s land is worth an unimaginable amount of money.
1930 Wyoming license plates…when county numbers started being included on the plates.
And where would Teton County be on the list now you ask? Well I’m not totally sure, but now-a-days, Teton County is thought to be the richest county in the country (in our face Fairfield) and property values run as high as $2 million for a single acre of land…and that’s before you build your mc-mansion on it. If they based the valuation on gear wealth as opposed to mineral deposits, it would no doubt be number one.
Anyway, just a little factoid I though you might mull over while the summer sun melts what little snow is left in the mountains.
I heard that the numbers were assigned some time ago based on the population of each county seat. Never heard about the land value assignments before.
andy…i don’t think that is correct.
excerpt taken from here:
The county numbers to the left of the bucking horse on Wyoming license plates indicate the assessed valuations of the counties as of 1928. Natrona County, rich in oil properties, was granted #1; Laramie County, #2. The order was never changed after the initial designation. If it had, the current holder of #1 likely would be Sublette County, rich in natural gas, or Campbell County, the leading coal producing county in the state. (Sublette is #23 of the 23 counties, based on 1928 assessments; Campbell, #17).
also check out this, which directly states it wasn’t based on population:
Another important change occurred in 1930 when each county as given the responsibility for license plate issuance. Numbers were assigned to each county, not on the basis of their populations at the time, but according to the assessed valuation of property within their borders. These designations are retained without change to this day with Natrona County designated “1” and Sublette County designated “23.”
you need that vanity plate! go big.
You guys are funny. School kids across the state have to memorize these numbers in Wyoming history.