Star Valley Wyoming

Afton Wyoming

Star Valley Composite

Afton Wyoming lies at the south end of Star Valley between the Peaks of the Salt River Range in western Wyoming and the Webster Range of eastern Idaho. Afton is the largest town in Star Valley. Just a few miles east of Afton you will find the worlds largest intermittent spring one of nature's wonders, it is also called periodic spring. 955 (52.5%) Afton is the home of the Lincoln County Fair.

Salt River winter
Salt River Narrows not far from Afton

In 1857, Frederick W. Lander and his team of engineers surveyed the route of the Pacific Wagon Road, the official name for the Lander Cut-Off, which passed through Afton and Star Valley. The Cut-off built as an improvement and alternative to the Oregon Trail, it cut seven days off the journey and provided better water, wood and food for the Oregon emigrants. The following summer a crew of 115 men built the road, and between 1858 and 1912, tens of thousands of emigrants passed through Star Valley on their way to Oregon. Some of them stayed.

More than thirty years later, Mormon Pioneers began colonizing this area, which they named Star Valley. Afton was settled in 1885 and by 1900 there were over 2000 people living in the valley. Afton as a community had no name or identity until the fall of 1880. In 1879, the valley was dedicated as a home for LDS colonists. The authorities, after a survey, advised the people to move across the valley to the foot of the east mountains and make their home there, the present site of Afton. It lies at the mouth of Swift Creek Canyon, a beautiful incursion into the forested Salt River Mountains. William Budge suggested that the new town be called Afton, because the roaring, tumbling stream gushing out of the mountains was the very antithesis of the placid stream he remembered of Sweet Afton fame – a popular poem.

horseback Rider, Salt River Range
Horseback riding at crest of Salt River Range east of Afton

Star Valley is now a popular escape from civilization for many, with many summer homes and tourist accommodations. The valley is green with grass and farmland and the mountains are covered with evergreen trees and aspen when they aren’t covered in snow.

As of the census of 2000, there were 1,818 people, 651 households, and 475 families residing in the town. The population density was 530.8 people per square mile there were 769 housing units at an average density of 224.5/sq mi.

There were 651 households out of which 38.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.5% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.9% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.32.

In the town the population was spread out with 32.3% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 90.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.7 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $37,292, and the median income for a family was $43,400. Males had a median income of $33,472 versus $20,893 for females. The per capita income for the town was $16,177. About 5.5% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 5.2% of those age 65 or over.

Sweet Afton the Poem

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below, Where wild in the woodlands the primrose blow: There often, as mild evening weeps over the lea, The sweet scented birch trees shades my Mary and me

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among your green slopes!
Flow gently, I will sing you a song in your praise!
My Mary is asleep by the murmuring stream -
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream!

You stock dove whose echo resounds through the glen,
You wild whistling blackbirds in yonder thorny den
You green crested lapwing, your screaming forbear -
I charge you, disturb not my slumbering fair!

How lofty, sweet Afton, your neighboring hills,
Far marked with the courses of clear, winding rills!
There daily I wander, as noon rises high,
My flocks and my Mary's sweet cottage in my eye.

How pleasant thy banks and green valleys below,
Where wild in the woodlands the primrose blow:
There often, as mild evening weeps over the lea,
The sweet scented birch trees shades my Mary and me.

Your crystal stream, Afton, how lovely it glides,
And winds by the cottage where my Mary resides!
How sportive your waters her snowy feet wash,
As, gathering sweet flowerets, she stems thy clear wave!

Flow gently, sweet Afton, among your green slopes!
Flow gently, sweet river, the theme of my poem!
My Mary is asleep by your murmuring stream -
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream!

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