Kemmerer is located in Lincoln County, WY.
The city has a total area of 7.81 square miles. The world famous Fossil Butte National Monument is located 15 miles west of Kemmerer, Wyoming on U.S. Highway 30. Explorer John C. Frémont discovered coal in the area during his second expedition in 1843. The Union Pacific Coal Company opened the first underground mine in 1881 after construction of the Oregon Short Line Railroad from Granger to Oregon.
Patrick J. Quealy (1857–1930) founded Kemmerer as an "independent town" in 1897 when he was vice-president of the Kemmerer Coal Company. He named the company and town after his financial backer, Pennsylvania coal magnate Mahlon S. Kemmerer (1843 1925). In 1950, the operation converted to strip mining and became the world's largest open pit coal mine. Quealy sold lots at the future townsite rather than lease them, which permitted the establishment of independent businesses and the future town of Kemmerer.
The J. C. Penney company store was founded in Kemmerer in 1902. Mr. Penney operated his stores in Kemmerer building the store chain that eventually became the national retail store corporation.