Yearly Archives: 2012

LANDER TRAIL – NEW FORK RIVER PARK DEVELOPMENT CONTINUES

Lander Trail/ New Fork River Historical Park Development on the New Fork Historical Park continued in 2012 thanks to many, many organizations, individuals and volunteers.Through a private donation by an Anonymous Donor, another 22 acres that was connected and parallel to the property, was acquired, making the area a full 104-acre park.

The Sublette County Road and Bridge, through the generosity of the SC Commissioners, donated time and equipment, relocated the main entrance, built a parking lot and the footprint of an ADA walking path, which will be completed this spring.The National Park Service continued site and interpretative signs planning, as well as a second field season of archaeology work by Cannon USU Archaeological Services. This was due in part by a generous grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund. Forty 40 volunteers, donating over 500 hours of service, completing many tasks during a week-long session in late September. Ena Olsen and family allowed the crews to cross her private ground and river to the east side of the old island where more surveys took place. Bill Wadsworth and Sam Drucker helped clear out several hazardous trees to develop trail pathways.

 

MUSEUM RECEIVES COWBOY BRONZE IN MEMORY OF TOM MOLLRING

The Sublette County Historical Society/ Museum of the Mountain Man was the recipient of a beautiful bronze statue this past August entitled, “Wyoming Outfitter” in memory of local, long-time cowboy and outfitter Tom Jesse Mollring.

Tom was born in Pinedale on December 17, 1929 and attended Pinedale schools and the University of Wyoming. After a stint in the Air Force, Tom returned to Pinedale and became a big game outfitter in the Hoback Basin as well as working local ranches in the Pinedale and Jackson Hole area. Tom was an avid fly fisherman, loved the outdoors and formed many lasting friendships throughout his life.

The three and a-half foot bronze was created by Bill Nebeker, a prestigious member of the Cowboy Artists of America, and traveled here from Prescott, Arizona. Bill’s intricate detail and three-dimensional work in ‘Wyoming Outfitter’ captures an authentic portrayal of the working cowboy of the American West.

The Nebeker bronze was graciously donated by Erivan and Helga Haub, long-time supporters of the Museum. The Haubs, avid art collectors and close friend of Tom, wanted a beautiful, long lasting legacy to honor their friend as well as an exceptional piece of art to be enjoyed by the public.

‘Wyoming Outfitter’ will be displayed in the upper gallery of the Museum of the Mountain Man.

Beautiful wreaths on display at Museum’s annual Wreath Auction

The Museum of the Mountain Man held their 2012 Wreath & Chocolate Auction on Friday, December 7th at Rendezvous Pointe in Pinedale. A good crowd turned out to see and bid on all the beautiful and unique hand-made creations More than 50 wreaths and holiday decorations were entered this year. The event included a Silent Auction for chocolate delights and gift baskets. New this year was a raffle for several items. The annual Wreath & Chocolate Auction is the main fundraiser for the Museum of the Mountain Man and their programs and projects for the upcoming year. Jay Fear served as auctioneer again this year. The food was generously sponsored by First Bank. The beverages were provided by Wind River Brewing. This was the 19th year for this annual event to support the Museum.

Big Piney 4th Graders visit the Sommers Ranch Homestead 9/20/12

Learning by doing at a homestead living-history site in Sublette County
by Pinedale Online!
September 20, 2012

4th Graders from Big Piney Elementary School visited the Sommers Ranch Homestead on Monday, September 17th as part of their Wyoming History classes. The students got to help churn butter, learn about spinning, practice roping, collect chicken eggs, do hand laundry, and visit a nearby Native American archaeological site.

The new homestead living history site is a joint project of the Sublette County Historical Society, Green River Valley Museum, and siblings Jonita and Albert Sommers. It opened to the public in the summer of 2012 after two years of preparation work on the site. The intent is to create a hands-on living history site where visitors can touch, explore, and learn about the homestead era of the early 1900s in the Upper Green River Valley.

Photos by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!

Volunteers needed for New Fork Lander Trail park archaeology-9/19/12

Second season of archaeological surveys at the new park site
September 19, 2012

The Sublette County Historical Society is inviting interested persons to come help with archaeology at the new Lander Trail New Fork River Crossing Historical Park the week of September 22 through 28th. The new 82-acre park is still under development and is not yet open to the public.

Archaeologists Ken & Molly Cannon (USU Archaeological Services, from Logan, Utah) will be back leading archaeology work on this latest round of archaeology on the site. Volunteers are welcome Saturday-Friday (September 22-28) to help with metal detecting in new areas, and excavating squares where anomalies were found with geophysical tests last year. Based on what was found last year, we should find some pretty cool emigrant artifacts.

Work will start at 8 am each morning, but volunteers are welcome whenever they can come. Free lunch and water will be provided each day, but volunteers should bring their own lunch and snacks if they have special dietary needs or tastes.

The New Fork Park is located at 1371 Paradise Road about 1 mile north of Hwy 351 on Paradise Road.

Directions from Pinedale: Take US 191 south to Hwy 351, turn onto Hwy 351 at Sand Draw and drive west until you cross the New Fork River, about 11 miles. Take the next right, Paradise Road, and go about 1 mile. Turn right at the first green gate marked 1371. Follow the dirt road across the canal and down to the small cabin, or park above the canal, cross the footbridge and walk down to the cabin. Most of the archeology will be on the old island a couple hundred yards south of the cabin. If you get lost or need better directions, call 307-360-7689.

Directions from Big Piney: From US 189, turn east on Hwy 351 at the Sublette County Fairgrounds. Drive approximately 11 miles until you get to Paradise Road. If you cross over the New Fork River bridge, you’ve gone too far and need to turn around and cross back over the New Fork River about ½ mile and take Paradise road on your right. Turn north on Paradise Road and go about 1 mile. Turn right at the first green gate marked 1371. Follow the dirt road across the canal and down to the small cabin, or park above the canal, cross the footbridge and walk down to the cabin. Most of the archeology will be on the old island a couple hundred yards south of the cabin. If you get lost or need better directions, call 307-360-7689.

This archaeological survey project is being sponsored by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.

The Historical Society hopes to have the park ready to open to the public in 2013. They are currently continuing site archaeological surveys, working with the National Park Service on trail location and interpretive signs, upgrading the site facilities for public use and access, and fundraising. Interested volunteers are welcome and encouraged.

For more information, contact the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, 307-367-4101, Clint Gilchrist/Sublette County Historical Society, 307-367-6763 (Office Outlet, ask for Clint), or Dawn Ballou, Upper Green River Basin Chapter Wyoming Archaeological Society, 307-360-7689, or emaildawn@pinedaleonline.com.

LaBarge Elementary School students learn about homesteading history-9/12/12

by Pinedale Online!
September 19, 2012

Sixty-three students, all of LaBarge Elementary School 1st through 5th graders, visited the Sommers Ranch Homestead on Wednesday, September 12th. The students got to help churn butter, ate home-made bread with homemade jam, collected and cleaned chicken eggs, helped spin on a spinning wheel, helped do hand laundry, pumped water from a water well, learned how to throw a cowboy rope, visited a nearby Native American archaeological site, and played on the homestead playground.

Volunteers helping out with living history demonstration stations were Jamie Brewer (home-made bread and churning butter), Jonita Sommers (explaining eggs and the kitchen and made gooseberry jelly), Caroline Brazzell (spinning), Dave Vlcek and Sam Drucker (archaeology), Clint Gilchrist (homestead history), Ty Hunt (roping), and Dawn Ballou (laundry).

The Sommers Ranch Homestead is a living history project being done jointly by the Sublette County Historical Society, the Green River Valley Museum, and siblings Jonita and Albert Sommers. It opened to the public in the summer of 2012 and had its Grand Opening on September 1st 2012. Buildings on the 1.5 acre site are still in the process of being restored and interpreted. The intent is to make it a hands-on learning experience about the early 1900s homestead era in the Upper Green River Valley. Much of the staffing and tour leading is being done by volunteers. Initial funding has been through the generous support of the Sommers family and through donations. The Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office helped fund the restoration of the garage and cellar this past year. Additional buildings still to be restored include the old bunk house, ice house, and a barn soon to be moved onto the property. Future projects include rebuilding the wind mill electricity generator, the water wheel in the ditch, replanting the garden, and making the old telephone system functional again. Interested volunteers always welcome. For more information, contact the Sublette County Historical Society at the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, 307-367-4101.

Photos by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online!

THE NATIONAL FUR TRADE SYMPOSIUM

The Sublette County Historical Society/ Museum of the Mountain Man was proud to host the National Fur Trade (NFT) Symposium for the United States and Canada this past September 5 – 8th, 2012. “The 200th Anniversary of Robert Stuart and the Astorians, 1811 – 1812” was the theme of the conference which took place right here in Sublette County and Wyoming over two centuries ago. The Green River Valley is considered the crossroads of the Astorians during the 19th century fur trade.

The four-day conference was an overwhelming success and our Wind River Mountains and Museum of the Mountain Man provided an excellent backdrop for the historical lectures, educational sessions and tours that presented a visual and interpretive experience into the fur trade of our area.

Twelve academic professors and scholars presented a variety of research papers, historical insights and educational perspectives. Their presentations enhanced the knowledge and understanding of this significant part of Wyoming heritage and its place in the realm of national history that contributed to the economic, cultural and social development of the peoples and geographic area.

An all-day historical tour took place on Thursday, visiting fur trade and Astorian sites of the Green River Valley, with the lectures on Friday and Saturday. Evenings were reserved for “Socials” that were open and free to the public including the mountain man shrub bar. These special programs featured an 1811 living history camp, the Saga of Marie Dorion, a Crow Sun Dance Lodge presentation by Dr. Adrien Heidenreich and the Big Day Family of the Montana Crow Nation and a unique play on the Astorian Seven.

The NFT Symposium was very well-attended and represented by visitors from 22 different states around the country and 2 provinces of Canada. This was the third time MMM hosted the NFT Symposium in its 25- year history. It is held every three years at institutions throughout the United States and Canada. The 2015 Symposium will be hosted by Bent’s Fort, Colorado.

“Hosting the National Fur Trade Symposium was an honor for the Museum of the Mountain Man, Sublette County and the State of Wyoming,” says Director, Laurie Hartwig, “and the visiting conference-goers and academic community were very impressed with our epicenter of the fur trade.

 

Sommers Ranch Homestead Grand Opening-September 1, 2012

Sommers Ranch Homestead Grand Opening Sept. 1
Public invited to see the new additions to the historical site
August 29, 2012

Everyone is invited to come out to the Grand Opening of the Sommers Ranch Homestead living history site on Saturday, September 1st.

The Sommers Ranch Homestead is a new living history project that focuses on the homestead era of the Upper Green River Valley. It is a joint project of the Sublette County Historical Society, Green River Valley Museum, and Jonita and Albert Sommers.

It is a bit remote, located about 13 miles from Pinedale on the East Green River Road, but is well worth the drive and makes for a really fun family outing. If you didn’t get a chance to come out this summer and visit during the homestead open hours on Fridays and Saturdays, this will be your last chance to visit the Homestead for public hours this year.

If you came out last year for the Open House, there are lots more new things for you to see.

The public can walk through the restored, 100-year-old, 2-story log homestead house which is now furnished and has interpretation on many unique objects related to the homestead period. This year the interpretation features special exhibits from the Budd, Jensen and Sommers families, who were some of the early pioneer families in the Green River Valley.

The old garage has been restored and interpretation has been put in about ranching tools and implements. The underground cellar has been restored and accessible. Other new buildings on the site waiting to be restored are the old bunkhouse and an icehouse. The Historical Society plans to soon move a barn onto the property from a nearby ranch and restore that as well.

Kids will especially enjoy playing with the new working water well pump, ringing the old-style dinner bell, and playing on the wagon-wheel merry-go-round and teeter totter.

There will be lots of great food and many of the ranching families from around the valley will be there. The Grand Opening will be from 10 AM to 3 PM with a meal served over the lunch hour. No reservations are required.

To get there from Pinedale, go west on US 191 approximately 6 miles and turn south onto the East Green River Road at Trappers Point, just before the road construction for the new wildlife bridge. Stay on the main gravel road that follows the high bluffs and go south for 7.3 miles. The homestead is at the turnoff for the Sommers Fishing Access road (the second fishing access on that road).

A direction map is also available from the front desk of the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, which is open daily from 9AM to 5PM.

 

Historical Society receives“Preserve Wyoming Award

On May 18, 2012, Sublette County Historical Society was recognized at the Preserve Wyoming Conference in Pinedale for it’s outstanding achievements of historic preservation in Sublette County.Mary Hopkins of the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, Bobbie Brown Barrasso (wife of U.S. Senator John Barrasso) and Milward Simpson were the honorary presenters.Organized in 1935 as the state’s first historical society and parent organization for the Museum of the Mountain Man, the Sublette County Historical Society was recognized for their tremendous contributions in historic preservation, interpretation and education. The Society’s first project was hosting and commemorating the Green River Rendezvous of 1836, which has now grown into one of the largest pageants and events in the state. In 1965, after thirty years of activity, the Society started architectural plans for a museum building which was the goal and objective of the early leadership since its inception. Fund raising efforts continued, ground was broken on donated land in 1974 and the Museum of the Mountain Man opened to the public in 1990. Currently, the society is pursuing expansion, continuing its award-winning publications and is hosting the National Fur Trade Symposium this coming September 2012.Laurie Hartwig, Director of the SCHS/MMM accepted the award on behalf of the society. “It was an honor representing the Historical Society because it takes numerous people to achieve all that happened and is happening in our organization. This is a great recognition for them.”