Powell, Wyoming was initially home to the Crow, Blackfeet, and Shoshone Indians before the arrival of the white man in the early 1800’s. Camp Colter was set up near the present site of Powell in the early 1900’s to explore the possibility of using irrigation to grow crops in the arid lands in the area. Early settlers transformed the land from an arid sagebrush flat into fields of crops in those early years of development.
Powell is named after Major John Wesley Powell who was an explorer and conservationist as well as the head of the Reclamation/Geodetic Service which made it possible to irrigate the lands and make them able to farmed.
The town was incorporated into Big Horn County in 1910. In 1911, it became park of nearby Park County. It is home to about 5,300 residents.
Northwest College is a two year institution that was begun in 1946 with 100 students and 3 instructors. Initially, they borrowed rooms in the public school for classes. It was known first as the University of Wyoming Northwest Center. In 1953, it was changed from a university into a community college and the name was changed to Northwest Community College. In 1989 it was shortened to just Northwest College.
In 1966 and 1967 Bridger Hall and Lewis and Clark Hall were opened. Colter Hall is another residence Hall on the Northwest College Campus. Bridger Hall burned down in 2004 when a second floor residential room caught fire. The fire department determined that the cause of the fire was an electrical device malfunction in one of the student’s rooms. All of the students at Bridger Hall were safely evacuated. No one was injured or killed in the fire.
The Nelson Performing Arts Center was named after R. A. Nelson, a Powell banker who founded the Northwest College Foundation in 1966. The Performing Arts Building was known as the Liberal Arts Building until 1994 when the name was changed. The R. A. Nelson Auditorium is located inside the Nelson Performing Arts Building.
231 West 6th Street Powell WY Wyoming United States