Grand Teton
Historic Resource Study
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Tourists (continued)

In Wyoming, the 1920s were bad years economically. Hard times hit the livestock business and coal and oil industry, three mainstays in the state's economy. Tourism boomed in these years, and some Wyoming citizens saw it as the state's salvation. Municipal campgrounds and cottage camps sprang up in communities throughout the state. In spite of tough financial times, Wyoming raised money to match federal giants and, by 1939, most important roads had been graveled and oiled. [14]

After the First World War, roads improved rapidly in Jackson Hole. The Forest Service, Park Service, and state rebuilt and upgraded access highways into Jackson Hole. The Forest Service constructed a major road through the Hoback between 1918 and 1922. In 1918, the Bureau of Public Roads completed a new road over Teton Pass. The National Park Service contributed in part to the upgrading of the old military road over Togwotee Pass, completed in 1922. In the 1920s, the Bureau of Public Roads built a highway from Jackson to Menor's Ferry and erected a steel truss bridge across the Snake River at the ferry. Even before the bridge, autos crossing on the ferry had become routine.

Along the road to Jenny Lake, businesses blossomed to cater to the automobile traffic. Maud Noble opened a tea room in her cabin at Menors Ferry. Tea rooms became common sites along American highways in the 1920s. Because of its location along the highway, a cluster of tourist facilities emerged at Moose. After the Snake River Land Company bought out Maud Noble and other land owners in the area, the Teton Investment Company leased a small store and gas station to various individuals, who also operated the Moose Post Office. When the highway was realigned in 1957, the National Park Service removed the store. On the east side of the Snake River, Evelyn Dornan and her son Jack Dornan developed tourist facilities on a small 20-acre homestead, which continues to be operated by the family as a private inholding today. [15]

Near the confluence of Taggart and Cottonwood Creeks, Chester Goss of California bought 115 acres from Jimmy Manges in 1926. With partners J. M. Goss and James Scott, Goss built a tourist facility called the Elbo Ranch. They built guest cabins for long-term dudes that included indoor plumbing; they also constructed a store and gas station to cater to the auto traffic along the scenic road. Near the ranch, Goss constructed rodeo grounds, an unsightly development that consisted of grandstands, a one-half mile racetrack, a parking lot, and concession stands. Most important, they built a collection of cottage cabins for overnight traffic. Goss put up the first billboard along the road, but dismantled it at Horace Albright's request. The Snake River Land Company bought the property in 1929. [16]

Jimmy Manges retired from homesteading in 1926. After selling out to Goss and selling 40 acres to Joe Clark and Frank Williams of the Double Diamond, Manges moved to a small 4.96-acre parcel at the north end of his homestead and built a cabin for residential use. He worked as a laborer and, in the fall, hired out as a cook for hunting guides. His X Quarter Circle X became a guest camp, more by accident than design. First, he allowed a family who had been camped on the sagebrush flats to build a small cabin on the premises. As tourism increased in the 1930s, he allowed auto campers and mountaineers to camp on the premises. Eventually he built a tent camp and, later, crude cabins. Some long-term guests built their own cabins. About 1933 or 1934, several foremen for the Civilian Conservation Corps sought housing for their families. They built cabins and turned them over to Manges at the end of their tour in exchange for a site. Originally Manges took overnight traffic. As time passed, some guests returned each year, staying for several weeks or the summer. Manges's nephew Irwin Lesher and Lesher's wife, Marvel, began helping with the operation in the 1940s, which had expanded to more than 20 small cabins. Marvel Lesher recalled persuading Manges to raise his prices, which were absurdly low, and provide amenities such as clean linen. The Leshers managed the camp while Jimmy Manges retired to spend his days fishing. After his death in 1960, the Leshers continued the operation until 1980 when Marvel Lesher sold to the United States.

The X Quarter Circle X is difficult to classify. It was not a dude ranch. It resembled a cottage court more than any other type of tourist accommodation, yet guests returned year after year while overnight guests declined. It was not a resort, the accommodations being "rustic," to use a polite term. Location explains the appeal of Manges's camp. Situated at the base of the Grand Teton, the X Quarter Circle X offered a convenient base camp for mountaineers and unrivaled scenery for those who did not mind primitive conditions. [17]

East of the Manges property is a group of cabins known as the Highlands. Hairy F. Sensenbach homesteaded the tract in December 1914. Aided by his wife and two sons, he attempted to raise barley and oats, but it became clear that this was not a suitable area for farming. In addition to heavy snows, drought wiped out his crop three years in a row. Improvements consisted of a four-room log house (25 x 25 feet), barn, chicken house, and storeroom. Sometime in the 1920s, Dad and Ma Sensenbach converted their house to a restaurant and added a few rental cabins. They may also have sold bootleg liquor and beer. In 1927, they sold all but 45 acres to Elena Gibo. After prohibition ended in 1933, the Sensenbachs' place became a well-known beer parlor and eating establishment. They sold out in 1944 to Maxine Heffner who, in turn, sold to Charles Byron Jenkins in 1946. Jenkins formed the Highlands Corporation, doubling the number of cabins on the property and adding on to the main lodge. In 1972, he sold out to the United States. The National Park Service converted the buildings to seasonal park housing. [18]

Jenny Lake Store
The old Jenny Lake Store was one of many tourist businesses that once lined the Teton Park Road from Moose to Jenny Lake. The sight of burgeoning and unsightly developments prompted John D. Rockefeller Jr. to initiate his program of land acquisition that eventually led to the expanded Grand Teton National Park. Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum

A number of developments centered around the south end of Jenny Lake. As early as 1924, Charles Wort rented boats on Jenny Lake through a permit with the Forest Service. In the same year, Homer Richards filed a stock-raising entry east of South Jenny Lake junction. According to his final proof papers, Richards had constructed a small frame house, a partially complete log residence (37 x 20 feet), and seven cabins. To comply with the law, he grazed 18 horses on the property. Richards, a barber by trade, ran a barbershop, a gas station, and rented cabins to tourists. He and his family lived in town during the winters and resided at Jenny Lake in the summer. In 1929, Richards sold to the Snake River Land Company for $25,000. He used the stake to build one of the earliest cabin courts in Jackson, the Ideal Motel. [19]

The Jenny Lake Post Office opened on Richards's property in August 1926. Mrs. A. W. Gabbey was the first postmaster. By 1926, Jenny Lake had a dance hall, operated by Mr. and Mrs. Cliff Ward. Set alongside the road, it was an unsightly building. After the Snake River Land Company purchased the site, the dance hall was dismantled and rebuilt north of Jackson. The company also removed Richards's cabins. [20]

Rockefeller's agents bought all of the properties at the south end of Jenny Lake, except for one, a ten-acre parcel west of the road near Lupine Meadows. J. D. and Lura Kimmel bought ten acres from Sam Smith in 1929. Kimmel built two cabins west of Cottonwood Creek and spent his summers on the property. In 1937, he built a large two-story store for a couple named Novotny, who had bought out the Gabbey's store and gas station. In the same year, he began constructing an auto court, completed in 1938. G. M. and Ann Novotny along with Nell Roach, leased the development, known as the Jenny Lake Store and "Kimmel Kabins." The store also housed the post office. In 1944, the Kimmels sold their important holdings to Rockefeller in exchange for a life estate and the right to lease the property. After Lura Kimmel died in 1962, the development reverted to the United States. The park removed the large store and buildings next to the road and converted the cabin court to seasonal quarters. [21]

The building known as the Jenny Lake Visitor Center today was the Harrison Crandall Studio. Crandall, a professional photographer, became one of the park's and valley's most important publicists, selling thousands of post cards and photographs. His camera captured the scenery, people at play, and rustic dude ranch settings. His photographs are often idealistic depictions, but nonetheless comprise a remarkable photographic record.

In 1921, Harrison Crandall quit his job with the Biological Survey bought a Model T and drove to Jackson Hole from Idaho. He returned with his bride Hildegarde and an Eastman Kodak 3A in 1922. At the suggestion of storekeeper Charlie Fesler, they wintered at Moran in 1922-1923. The young couple decided to homestead in the flats east of String Lake in 1924. In June they built a tent house at their homestead. Since the land was uncultivable, they leased the range for 40 head of horses and filed a stock-raising entry. They built a residence the first year and began selling pictures. Hildegarde Crandall recalled that they washed prints in glass frames at String Lake. In his final proof papers, Crandall wrote, "I make and sell pictures" in response to the question about using the property for a trade.

They experienced lean years at first. To make it at their remote tract, the Crandalls built a dance hall, which doubled as a studio. The String Lakes Pavillion was 70-feet-long with a plank floor, walls four-feet-high, and canvas sides. During the week, Hildegarde baked pies and other foods for a midnight supper, charging 50 cents per plate. The dance hall was a success, for the Courier reported that 250 people from all over the valley attended the first Saturday night dance. The Crandall orchestra provided music. Another dance was attended by an estimated 150 couples. Around 1926, Crandall tore down the pavillion and used the logs to build the studio. By 1927, Crandall opened it for business. Set in a grove of pines, the log studio with its distinctive cupola was one of the finest rustic buildings in the valley according to the Courier.

In 1929, the Crandalls sold out to the Snake River Land Company. Harrison Crandall secured one of the first concession permits in Grand Teton National Park and relocated the studio to its present site. Here, Crandall became the early park's greatest publicist; he was to the Teton Range and Jackson Hole what the Hayneses were to Yellowstone. He also painted in later years, and a number of his paintings survive in the valley. He retired in 1959 and turned his studio over to the park. [22]

Not far from the first site of the Crandall Studio is the Jenny Lake Lodge. Originally a small dude ranch owned by Tony Grace, the buildings were not in good condition when the Snake River Land Company purchased them. Harold Fabian felt that Grace's Danny Ranch and the Triangle X were ideal locations for dude ranches, but Grace declined to continue his outfit or join John S. Turner of the Triangle X, and the buildings deteriorated. Around 1933, the Teton Investment Company began upgrading the property. A fire destroyed most of the main lodge in 1935. Nevertheless, by the late 1930s, the company operated the Jenny Lake Lodge as a dude ranch. The lodge was described as follows:

Central lodge and dining room with a number of one and two-room rustic log cabins, well furnished and thoroughly comfortable, accommodate 65 persons. All cabins have hot and cold running water and some have bath and toilet. Central bath facilities available without charge to those in cabins without bath. Excellent food is served in the central dining room overlooking the Teton mountains. Individual service featured.

The lodge continues to operate today as an exclusive resort. [23]

East of the Jenny Lake Lodge, A. W. and Lida Gabbey homesteaded in 1927. They rented housekeeping cabins at the Square G by 1931, but most developments occurred in the 1930s and 1940s. Although the Square G has been called a dude ranch, it seems to have been more akin to the Elbo. The cabins were housekeeping units, for guests cared for themselves. And for three years the ranch had no water; it was hauled in from String Lake. Gabbey contracted with a wrangler from Thermopolis who brought in saddle horses. In 1951, the Jackson Hole Preserve bought the property. The cabins were removed in 1956, with several relocated to Colter Bay. [24]

Signal Mountain Lodge is located on the eastern shore of Jackson Lake about one mile south of the Jackson Lake Dam. The resort began as a fishing camp started by Ole Warner in the 1920s through a Forest Service permit. Warner built 11 cabins and several outbuildings. (These were razed by 1963). According to one source, Charles Wort later secured a permit to the camp from the Department of the Interior. This is curious, because the Forest Service administered the land, except for the Bureau of Reclamation withdrawal area. In 1931, John A. Warner and Maggie Warner made a trust agreement with Charles Wort. In a complicated transaction, Wort took over the buildings and permit. In exchange, he paid off the Warners' $6,240.65 debt, and they agreed to manage Warners' Camp. Wort died in 1933 and his estate assigned the lodge to Clarence W. Harris in 1940.

Hunting allowed the tourist season to extend well into fall. This Ben Sheffield photo displays quite a collection of trophies for these men. Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum

Wort's lodge and fishing camp emerged as a major development between 1928 and 1940, a remarkable feat because it occurred during the Great Depression. By 1937, 32 structures had been built on the site, which consisted of a small log lodge, store and gas station, and numerous guest cabins. In 1940, Wort's Camp was renamed Signal Mountain Lodge. Between 1940 and 1962, 22 buildings were added. Since that time, the lodge and numerous buildings have been replaced with frame structures. Less than a quarter of the buildings predate 1940. Interestingly, neither Wort's Camp nor Signal Mountain Lodge appeared under the category of lodges in the dude ranch guides. Today the lodge is operated as a concession in the park. [25]

Sheffield's Moran was located at the outlet of Jackson Lake, and was an important stop for food and lodging. In 1916, Sheffield's lodge burned, a loss that included the post office. About 1922, he built a new lodge. By 1927, Moran was a lively community consisting of store, a garage, campgrounds, corrals, and rustic cabins set around a spacious main lodge. In 1928, Sheffield sold to the Snake River Land Company. Because of a shortage of accommodations in the area, but mostly to prevent new developments in the vicinity that might hinder the company's buy-out program, they formed a separate corporation to operate the tourist village. Except for the main lodge, built in 1922, many of the 40 buildings and sanitation systems required major repairs. The Snake River Land Company advanced the Teton Lodge Company $35,000 to upgrade and expand facilities at Moran. Under Sheffield, around 1927, the Teton Lodge could accommodate 125 guests. The Teton Lodge Company, later the Teton Investment Company, expanded the capacity to 200 guests. In 1935, disaster struck again, when fire destroyed the main lodge. The National Park Service and the Grand Teton Lodge Company removed the entire village of Moran around 1955, moving many of the cabins to Colter Bay. [26]

In 1924, Eugene Amoretti of Lander, Wyoming, conceived a grand plan to build two lodges and seven camps in the area, combinations of resorts and dude ranches. His Amoretti Hotel and Camp Company built the Jackson Lake Lodge around 1922. The first modern lodge in the valley, some cabins had hot and cold running water, baths, and toilets. The lodge also rented tent cabins during the summer. It could accommodate 125 guests. Saddle horses were available, and hunting trips could be arranged in the fall. Dude wranglers J. S. Simpson and Toots Kennedy conducted a summer camp for high school and college-age women around 1928. The Snake River Land Company bought the lodge in 1930, and the predecessors of the Grand Teton Lodge Company operated it until the 22 remaining cabins were removed after 1953 to make way for the new Jackson Lake Lodge. [27]

Leek's Lodge was located north of Colter Bay along the east shore of Jackson Lake. As noted in the previous chapter, the Forest Service issued Stephen Leek a special use permit to operate a hunting camp in 1925. A year later, he built several tent cabins on the site. In 1927, the Forest Service issued Leek a permit to establish "a resort for the accommodation of tourists including hotel accommodations, store, and gas station." By October 1927, Leek had built the main lodge. He operated the lodge as a hunting camp headquarters and boys' camp. In 1946, Dr. N. E. Morad bought the lease. By this time, a number of guest cabins had been built around the lodge. After 1950, the lodge became a concession in the park. After several owners, Signal Mountain Lodge acquired the permit in 1977. Most of the cabins were removed around 1972. The main lodge building was removed in 1998. [28]

Between 1910 and 1920, Ed Sheffield, the brother of Ben Sheffield, opened Flagg Ranch, a stopover for dudes traveling form Livingston, Montana, to Sheffield's Teton Lodge at Moran. In 1927, the Midwest Review described Flagg Ranch as "splendid accommodations for the tourist," consisting of a large main lodge surrounded by cabins and tent houses. In "Dude Ranches Out West " the entry for Flagg Ranch provided the following information:

FLAG [sic] RANCH is 23 miles from Moran on the Jackson Road, two and one-half miles south of Yellowstone's southern entrance, and a 50-mile stage ride from Ashton, Idaho, the nearest Union Pacific point. There is good trout fishing in the immediate neighborhood. Licenses, tackle, camping supplies, tobacco and incidentals may be procured at the ranch. Meals are $1 each; lodging, $1 per night. Accommodations and service are limited, but 25 persons can be reasonably provided for upon sufficiently advanced notice. The main log building has 15 rooms. On account of the ranch's isolation, it is best to inquire well in advance concerning rate and reservations. Address Flag [sic] Ranch, Moran, Wyoming. [29]

By 1939, the modern tourist industry, primed by the automobile, had altered Jackson Hole. In the town of Jackson, three cabin courts and three hotels catered to tourists, while lodges and camps were scattered throughout the valley. Gas stations dotted the landscape. In the 1950s, the National Park Service removed Moran and smaller properties such as the Square G, but replaced them with large-scale developments at Colter Bay and a new Jackson Lake Lodge. In 1945, Harold Fabian wrote, "Jackson is no longer the pioneer cow town where I first spent an October night in Mrs. Crabtree's Hotel. It has gone western in true Hollywood style." [30]

A trend related to dude ranching and tourism gathered momentum in the 1920s. In 1927, Struthers Burt warned Horace Albright that "each summer more and more rich easterners are buying places on this side of the river." The scenery and western character of the valley held a special appeal to those who had the leisure and could afford a 160-acre ranch. Tourists had started to become summer residents.

In 1926, W. Lewis Johnson purchased John Sargent's ranch, the only private land in the northern end of Jackson Hole. A retired executive for the Hoover Vacuum Company, Johnson visited the area in 1923 and left smitten with the rugged scenery. He bought Sargent's for a second home. In 1927, he had a large lodge constructed south of Sargent's old lodge. Constructed by local contractor Charlie Fox in 1930, the building was a two-story log residence with a breeze-way connecting it to the barn. Johnson died in 1931.

In 1936, Alfred C. and Madeleine Berolz-heimer bought the Johnson property. The family changed their name to Berol at a later date. Alfred was a member of the family who owned the Eagle Pencil Company. He worked his way up through the company ranks to the presidency before his death in 1974. In 1937, work began on a new lodge for the Berols, which was completed in 1938. Craftsmen built custom-made pine furnishings for the house. In addition to hunting and horseback riding, Berol had a passion for target shooting. Consequently, he built a rifle range, pistol range, and trap shoot. The ranch acquired its name, AMK, from the initials of Alfred, Madeleine, and their son, Kenneth. In 1976, Berol's heirs sold to the National Park Service for more than $3,000,000 and a life estate. Today, the buildings house the University of Wyoming Research Center. [31]

In 1927, Edward B. Mears sold the Bryant Mears homestead north of the Bill Menor homestead to William and Margaretta Frew, both Pennsylvania dudes. Naming the new ranch, the Four Lazy F (Four Lazy Frews) the family built a lodge and cabins patterned after a dude ranch both in spatial setting and building designs. In 1967, Emily F. Oliver sold the ranch to the National Park Service for monetary considerations and a life estate. [32]

Aside from John D. Rockefeller Jr., the largest private landowner in the area was Stanley Resor, the president of the advertising firm, J. Walter Thompson Company. Determined to become a gentleman rancher, he acquired large holdings west of the Snake River north and south of Wilson and went into the cattle business. [33]

Two other retreats are the Aspen Ridge Ranch and the Hunter Hereford Ranch, both located north of Ditch Creek in the east end of the park. In 1942, John C. and Eleanor K. Talbot bought the Stahn homestead and converted it to a summer home, which became known as the Aspen Ridge Ranch. They added two large log wings to the homestead residence, more than doubling the size of the building. Most of the buildings, the barn, garage, cabin, and irrigator's house were added between 1942 and 1956. They sold the property to the United States in 1956 in exchange for cash and a life estate. [34]

East of the Aspen Ridge Ranch, William and Eileen Hunter retired from the automobile sales business and bought the Jim Williams homestead in 1944. They decided to raise cattle as a retirement activity, rather than for a living. Architect E. F. Piers of Ogden, Utah, designed new buildings for the ranch. The Hunters had a 2,700-square-foot log residence built on a hill above the ranch buildings. A housekeeper's cabin, guest cabin, and woodshed were constructed near the residence. Down the hill, workers constructed several new outbuildings around the homestead cabin, bunkhouse, and woodshed. New buildings included a large log barn with attached feeding shelter, a garage and shop, an equipment shed, a hay shed, horse barn, and chicken house. One curiosity is a log frame structure with a stone fireplace that was a prop for the movie Spencer's Mountain, made in 1962. The Nelson brothers, well-known log craftsmen, constructed the log residence in 1947 and probably the other buildings from that period. Bill Hunter died in 1951, and Eileen Hunter sold to the park in exchange for a life estate in 1957. [35]

The Forest Service made land available to individuals who wished to construct summer cabins for recreational use. Applicants usually sought lands along watercourses and lakes. Jackson Lake and the lakes along the base of the Teton Range were primary targets for such developments. Using the Executive Order of 1918 prohibiting any reservations on developments on the proposed 600,000-acre Yellowstone extension, the National Park Service used its review power to restrict residential leases, much to the anger of Forest Service officials. In the Senate hearings, the supervisor of Teton National Forest, A. C. McCain, introduced a development plan for the forest which proposed 3,000 summer home leases and resorts on national forest and adjacent lands. The Forest Service estimated the value of these developments to exceed $8,000,000. McCain testified that the park controversy held up 111 applications for special leases, many of them summer homes.

The Park Service agreed to leasing in some areas. Little is known about the Stevens cabin at Taggait Lake, but it may have been built through a Forest Service permit. Located within the boundaries of the 1929 park, it was removed around 1930. On the east shore of Spaulding Bay on Jackson Lake, the Forest Service issued six leases in the 1920s and 1930s. Among the lessees were Smalley, C. H. Brown, and Van Vleck. All associated buildings were removed by 1980, except for the Brown cabin. The Park Service bought the C. H. Brown place in 1975. Because of political pressure, the park issued a permit to Hairy and Robert Brown to continue use of the property. Both have since passed away, and the buildings were removed in the late 1980s. [36]

The most notable residence initially under a Forest Service lease is the Brinkerhoff, located on Jackson Lake near Catholic Bay. The Forest Service originally issued a lease for a summer residence to Ben Sheffield in 1930. After Sheffield's home burned in the 1940s, Zachery K. Brinkerhoff and Z. K. Brinkerhoff Jr., purchased the permit in 1947 from R. E. McConaughy. The Brinkerhoffs owned Brinkerhoff Drilling, an oil development company. Jan Wilking, a Casper architect, designed an elaborate log residence for the Brinkerhoffs, much grander than most summer cottages. Scotty Slotten and four log craftsmen of Swedish descent from the Wind River Valley constructed the building. Thomas Molesworth of Cody, Wyoming, made the lodge's rustic furnishings. The fireplace consists of rock collected in the Wind River Canyon. The Petter Iron and Ornamental Works of Dallas manufactured the fireplace screens and hardware. In 1955, the Brinkerhoffs sold the lodge and permit to the National Park Service. Today the lodge is used as a retreat for dignitaries. [37]

Tourism dominates the economy of Teton County today. The modern tourist industry began with the early hunting-guide business and dude ranching, best symbolized by the horse, but the automobile reshaped it, radically changing how Americans spend their leisure time. Thousands of vehicles pass through the town of Jackson today, a number that dwarfs the 5 to 15 cars per day rate in 1915.

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Last Updated: 24-Jul-2004