A Walking History of Colter Bay Village

 
A Colter Bay Cabin
A Colter Bay Cabin

An historic walk through Colter Bay Village with Grand Teton Lodge Company Historian Mary McKinney is a fascinating walk back through time.  Listen how the valley began to develop and dude ranches dotted the landscape.  Hear how John D. Rockefeller Jr’s vision and generosity assisted in preserving this wonderful landscape.  Compare the differences of how these early dude cabins were constructed and with what unusual materials.  Laugh at how our housekeeping cabins were once “Chic Sales”.      

Colter Bay Village actually represents an eclectic collection of cabins from various sites around Jackson Hole. The cabins at Colter Bay serve as a window into the past, giving guests the chance to experience a bit of history during their stay. Though the cabins have been modified to accommodate plumbing and electrical needs, they have been restored and maintained to reflect as close a representation of their original construction as is possible. Many of the cabins were constructed in the 1920’s and 1930’s, but some date back to the late 1800’s. 

As tourism in Jackson Hole began to flourish in the early 1900’s, accommodations began to sprout up all over the valley. The result of this influx of tourists was the beginning of dude ranches in Jackson Hole.   A typical dude ranch was composed of a central building surrounded by many smaller guest cabins.   The largest of these resorts was the Teton Lodges at Moran, located at the site of the old town of Moran below Jackson Lake Dam. 

As one of the driving forces behind conserving Jackson Hole, John D. Rockefeller Jr. had bought thousands of acres of property with the intent of donating it as part of a national park. When Grand Teton National Park was expanded in 1950 with Rockefeller’s donation of 34,000 acres, it became apparent that guest accommodations in the park were inadequate. With funding from Rockefeller, the park service began to develop new visitor facilities and remove older resorts as they wanted to restore much of the park to its natural state. After the completion of the new Jackson Lake Lodge in 1955, the Colter Bay visitor site went into development. Cabins were transplanted to Colter Bay from the Teton Lodges at Moran, the old Jackson Lake Lodge resort, and the Square G Ranch (located near Jenny Lake) among others. In 1957 the cabins at Colter Bay Village were opened to the public. Over the years many of the other dude ranches and resorts closed or were donated to the park, and Colter Bay Village grew with the addition of the cabins from these various sites. 

Craftmanship of a Unique Cabin
Craftmanship of a Unique Cabin

Today there is no trace to be found of many resort sites that now makeup Colter Bay Village. All the cabins from the old Jackson Lake Lodge that were not transplanted were destroyed. After picking up much of the town of Moran and transporting it to Colter Bay, the remaining structures were demolished in 1957. Only the post office still survives, transported to present-day Moran near the park’s east entrance.

Mary McKinney
Mary McKinney

Ms. McKinney’s interpretive historic walk is complementary and is scheduled each Tuesday and Friday afternoon at 5pm.  Meet Mary for a wonderfully delightful afternoon at the Colter Bay Village Cabins Guest Lounge.
 

 

From Don’s Corner -Adapted from “A Brief History of Colter Bay Village” by Mary McKinney (GTLC Historian)

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Kids Appreciate Grand Teton National Park

Each year the National Park Foundation sponsors the Junior Ranger Essay Contest.   The focus is to ask kids their ideas about how to protect and preserve the national parks. 

In 2009, the essay contest question was “Why are our national parks important to you and what is your best idea to protect our parks for the future?”

Grand Teton Lodge Company was please to learn that the 2nd place winner this year was an essay contributed by Jason Roy Maki of  Marysville, Wa.  Jason’s essay focused on treasured memories of time in Grand Teton National Park.  Below you will find the essay he contributed.

jason-maki_npfwinnerWay to go Jason!  We hope you continue to enjoy and promote our national parks…and return to Grand Teton National Park very soon.

“When I see or even think about a national park, it is like no other feeling I’ve ever had. A national park is like a special cabinet that contains memories that are filled with truly special natural treasures. When you see a picture of a national park on post card, on TV or in a movie, you will probably say, “Wow! That is beautiful!” But actually being at a national park and seeing it in person is even more wonderful and breathtaking. When you go to the zoo and see an animal up close it is very interesting. But imagine that same thrill in the wild – in an animal’s habitat. Habitat is the natural place where an animal lives — like the forest, the meadows, the lakes and ponds, the rivers, mountains, valleys and the prairie.

I love Grand Teton National Park the best. When I visit, I always see elk, deer, black bear, grizzlies, moose, bison, wolves, bald eagles, and more. I’ve seen an eagle and an osprey fighting over a fish. I’ve seen a little baby moose with its mother at the edge of the Snake River. I’ve seen a pair of grizzly cubs wandering out in the middle of a green meadow with their mother close by. And I’ve even seen a rare black wolf running across a snow field. But not all things are exactly what I’d call peaceful. I’ve watched a huge bison lit up against the night sky when lightning struck the mountains. I went swimming with my cousins and came out of a beautiful lake covered in leeches! Ahhhhh! I was even surprised by a black bear ten feet away when I walked around a pickup truck! Even though I’ve had a few scary experiences, it should never stop you from visiting a national park.

National parks are fun places to learn about things that you could never experience anywhere else. That’s why we have to take care of them. We have to follow all national park rules. They are more than just rules. They are choices we make to help our parks survive forever. Don’t litter a park. Don’t feed the animals because they forget how to feed naturally. Make sure campfires are dead out with water. Forest fires are caused every year by careless campers who do not put their fires out. I would like to propose a contest where school kids everywhere come up with a few things to protect and preserve our national parks. We could have a reading program where school kids read about a neat national park. Then they could maybe visit one for themselves some day. I know they will enjoy every moment. That I can promise.

We the people own the national parks. They are ours. That is why we need to protect our parks and preserve them forever.”

Source:  National Park Foundation website

Mormon Row Historic District: A Once Vibrant Community

“A ranch to the Moulton’s is more that just lands and buildings; it’s the husband, wife, and family all getting together in the field helping each other.”

-Clark Moulton, Mormon Row Homesteader, circa 1930s

 

John & Bartha Moulton Barn, Circa 1910s
John & Bartha Moulton Barn, Circa 1910s

 

As early as our American Revolutionary War, the distribution of Government lands had created a challenging issue related to land measurement and pricing.  Early methods of stepping off property plots from geographical landmarks resulted in arbitrary overlapping claims and chaotic border disputes.  The Land Ordinance of 1785 finally implemented a standard system of Federal Land Surveys that eased border conflicts by using astronomical starting points and dividing land into measurements of townships, sections, square miles, and acres.  When in 1862, the Homestead Act was passed and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, a U.S. Citizen could file claim to 160 acres of surveyed government land and after 5 years, by living on the land, improving it with a 12 by 14 foot dwelling, and growing crops, they could file a patent (deed of itle) and the property was theirs.

 

Thomas Murphy Homestead, Circa 1920s
Thomas Murphy Homestead, Circa 1920s

 

Originally known as the town of Grovont, the Mormon Row settlement did not occur until the 1890s.  The promise of land eventually drew homesteaders into Jackson Hole.  Lush sagebrush, natural fields of timothy, and the Gros Ventre River indicated a healthy soil and water supply to entice the first Mormon families to the area with hopes of beginning a new life.  With the construction of homes, ranches, churches, and schools, a true vibrant community began to blossom.  Settlers began with traditional Lodgepole Pine log homes providing basic shelter from the harsh Jackson Hole weather and evolved, with increased prosperity, into more modern houses. Barn raising was a community event. Elders and young men from various families supplied the construction ingenuity and strength while women and children provided the communal meals and picnics.  Mormon Row dispersed in the mid 1900s and only a handful of buildings remain standing today. 

 

Thomas Alma & Lucille Moulton Homestead, Circa 1910s
Thomas Alma & Lucille Moulton Homestead, Circa 1910s

 

What remains today is a remarkable look back in time: a time when log built ranches and barns dotted the landscape at the foot of Blacktail Butte, a time when barn raising was a community event, and a time when barns and homes were to the family what Church was to the community. Visiting Mormon Row provides a glimpse of early homesteading life and quiet contemplation of barn raisings, cattle drives, church services, long schooldays, skating on ice covered irrigation ditches, sledding down snow covered Blacktail Butte, berry-picking expeditions to Taggart Lake, and splashing in a nearby swimming hole filling hot summer days.

 

John & Bartha Moulton Residence, Circa 1910s
John & Bartha Moulton Residence, Circa 1910s

 

A visit to Mormon row is well worth the time.  Some of these original homestead buildings are over a hundred years old and are naturally weathering .  Enjoy them from a distance and respect the culturally historic value of the site.  Oh, by the way, an early morning photography safari may produce award winning images.

Sources:  www.archives.gov , A Place Called Jackson Hole – John Daugherty, Jackson Hole Historical Society, Grand Teton Association

Posted from Don’s Corner. Photography by Don Wells.

Lunch Tree Hill: A View that Inspired a Vision

View From Lunch Tree Hill
View From Lunch Tree Hill

 

It started with a view. John D. Rockefeller, Jr. hiked to the top of a small knoll and gazed out upon the sea of willows and towering mountain range stretched across the valley. Elk and moose grazed down below. Clouds drifted by, some bringing thunderstorms, others breezing along.

There, Rockefeller ate lunch and took in the astounding environment around him. It dawned on Mr. Rockefeller to purchase the land with the intention of donating it to the U.S. Government so this view could be shared with everyone. His 25 year quest to preserve the land had begun.

 

Grand Tetons
Looking Out at the Mountain Range

 

 

Rockefeller’s first visit to Jackson Hole was in 1926. His wife and three sons stayed at the Amoretti Inn and fell in love with the natural beauty of Jackson Hole. By 1929, the mountain peaks and the lakes near the base of the Grand Tetons were established as a national park (the boundaries of the park were later expanded in 1950 to include much of the adjacent valley floor). More visitors continued to travel through Jackson Hole and it was clear that larger accommodations were needed. Rockefeller selected a site near his favorite lunch spot, now called Lunch Tree Hill, and construction began for Jackson Lake Lodge in March of 1953.

 

A Nod to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
A Tribute to John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

 

 

Today, over 2.6 million visitors come to Grand Teton National Park each year. Guests from all over the world trek up the paved path off the front terrace of Jackson Lake Lodge to Rockefeller’s favorite lunch spot. The Lodge continues to provide, activities, lodging, dining, shopping and other services for travelers. 

“Our goal is to enhance guest experience in the park,” said Bob O’Neil, Grand Teton Lodge Company Director of  Human Resources. “It’s really all about the park. How we keep it up to date and modern, but  still preserve the Rockefeller’s vision.”
 
Over 50 years later that vision remains, as the natural splendor of Grand Teton National Park is shared from one generation to the next.

 

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

*Join our interpretive specialist on a short, complimentary, interpretive walk up Lunch Tree Hill. Turn back the hands of time to 1926 and walk in the footsteps of John D. Rockefeller Jr. View the exact vistas, in the cool crisp morning air, that inspired Mr. Rockefeller’s decades long passion to preserve this mountain range known as the Grand Tetons. Learn of the important historical struggle for preservation of this unique geological mountain range, view wildlife below in Willow Flats, and take advantage of great photo opportunities in the early morning light. The walk begins at 7:15am on Tuesday, Thursday & Sunday mornings.

Welcome to Recycling

Amy Kozlowski Finds Artwork While Sorting Through Recycling
Amy Kozlowski Finds Artwork While Sorting Through Recycling

 

Four sorters, forty trash bags and a bail of cardboard. The day begins for the Grand Teton Lodge Company (GTLC) Recycling Department. “We start out at Jackson Lake Lodge, pick up cardboard from the back dock and the kitchen recycling. The Blue Heron has a bunch of bottles, so we pick up all that,” said Amy Kozlowski, GTLC Recycling Attendant. The crew also picks up recycling at Colter Bay Village, Jenny Lake Lodge, Gros Ventre Campground and Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis.   “Then we come back in the afternoon and bail our cardboard in the big bailer. Right now we have about 40 bails of cardboard, we get one everyday at least.”

 

The Bailer
The Bailer

 

Kozlowski is a second year Recycling Attendant. “I have maintenance experience on my resume so Engineering called and said they have openings for recycling,” said Kozlowski. “I said that would be awesome because I really like to be green and I’m very concerned about the environment, so I jumped on that right away.”

Recycling and waste reduction continues to be the hallmark of Grand Teton Lodge Company’s sustainable operations and the direct link to our green house gas emission reductions. Recycle, reduce, reuse is considered in every aspect to lessen our impacts on the environment.

Yet sorting through recycling bags is no easy task. A lot of trash and other items end up in recycling.  The department takes glass, aluminum, tin, paper and corrugated cardboard—but not paperboard. “All recycling we sort through goes to Jackson, so we can only recycle what they recycle in town.”

Since 2005 more than 600,000 single-use bottles have been saved from landfills.
We have installed bulk dispensers for shampoo, soap and lotion in all Jackson Lake Lodge and Colter Bay Village Rooms. Our goal is to continue a minimum 50 percent diversion rate by recycling materials within our waste system. 

All sorts of treasures have ended up in recycling and the department is outfitted in gloves and eye protection while sorting. “We find some cool stuff that we can keep. We’ve found an inflatable raft and a lot of times people throw away magazines and books so we get to keep those.”

In 2008, GTLC recycled 229,587 total pounds of material, including 116,800 pounds of cardboard and 63,000 pounds of glass. This does not include the materials from our Jackson Lake Lodge renovation project, which had a 97 percent diversion rate. 

 

Just Some of the Bailed Cardboard
Just Some of the Bailed Cardboard

 

“We can do only as much as the people give us,” said Kozlowski. “I see people all the time throwing stuff into the trash that’s recycling.” Recycling awareness is one of the department’s biggest tasks. Work gets divvied up between four attendants and no one argues, they just get it done. “We get to be outside in a beautiful place and be doing something you can feel really good about.”

The Recycling Department continues to get the word out, hoping that every recyclable item will not end up in the trash, but rather the recycling bins.

“It’s something I can feel really good about when I go home,” said Kozlowski. “I know that what we are doing is helping a lot of efforts.  I think if I was working anywhere else I would feel guilty that I wasn’t working in recycling.”

Welcome to the Bakery

Pastry Chef John Clover and the Bakers
Pastry Chef John Clover, the Bakers, and a Few Hundred Dishes of Creme Brulee

 

John Clover comes into work at 4am. As Pastry Chef at GTLC, Clover has an important responsibility: to create delicious baked treats. The bakery produces a huge quantity of goods for Jackson Lake Lodge, Colter Bay Village and Jenny Lake Lodge.

“The goal is to be a scratch kitchen,” says Clover. The bakery makes their own lamented dough by hand that is used for croissants and danishes, pretty impressive for the size of the outfit.

“We made 350 cookies yesterday,” says Clover. “We make five sheet trays of brownies everyday, five sheets trays of Teton Treats every other day it seems, and 40 gallons of ice cream—that’s just barely keeping up with what they’re asking for.”

 

Teton Treat
Teton Treat

 

Many of the items used are organic, including corn starch, baking powder, high-gluten flour, all-purpose flour, eggs and cream. “We recycle a ton,” adds Colver as piles of empty milk cartoons whiz by.

Clover is joined by a talented staff of seven and two interns will arrive to complete the team at the end of the month. “Everyone here has been to culinary school or taken some sort of baking courses and that makes a huge difference,” stated Clover. With 18 years of cooking experience and four years as a pastry chef, Clover is no stranger to the kitchen.

“I enjoy doing cakes,” said Clover, examining a sketch of a cake he’s making with a decorative drawing of a moose. It’s fun. It’s the creative outlet on what we do.”

Along with cakes, the bakery makes every type of bread imaginable. “It’s cool to see what we do as far as bread goes,” said Clover, “We put out more bread than I’ve seen in any other kitchen.”

There are 900 handmade rolls awaiting a banquet, a high volume bakery indeed. It takes about three or four hours to complete the bread baking process, the most time consuming item made.

The bakery aims for everyday continuous improvement. “We are trying to go from 80% purchased product to less and less everyday,” said Clover. For the restaurants the bakery produces 75% of the necessary items. A completely scratch bakery may not be too far in the future for GTLC.

 

bakery1SM

GTLC Incorporates Green Practices in Renovation

Guestroom at Jackson Lake Lodge
Guestroom at Jackson Lake Lodge

 

With sustainability in mind, Grand Teton Lodge Company completed major renovations this year. $5.4 million in projects included guestrooms at Jackson Lake Lodge, guestroom baths at Jenny Lake Lodge, and a complete transformation of the former Chuckwagon restaurant at Colter Bay Village. Each project strived to be environmentally friendly and put GTLC’s green practices to the test.

 

Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom Lighting Fixtures
Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom Lighting Fixtures

 

 

Redesigned Headboards at Jackson Lake Lodge
Redesigned Headboards at Jackson Lake Lodge

 

Walk into one of Jackson Lake Lodge’s 385 guestrooms and you will be greeted by fifties modern décor with a hint of western flair. Designed by Cole Martinez Curtis and Associates, the new look of the guestrooms at Jackson Lake Lodge honors both the National Historical Landmark designation and a commitment to sustainability. A variety of green products and practices were put into place. Low or zero VOC paints, recycled-content carpet padding, low wattage lamps, and the reuse of furniture were efforts to reach a waste diversion of 98%. Double-sized headboards were retrofitted to accommodate queen-size beds, resulting in the saving of 17,136 board feet of wood. Left over furniture, fixtures and equipment was donated to local organizations.

 

Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom
Jackson Lake Lodge Guest Bathroom

At Jenny Lake Lodge the bathrooms bring the outdoors in with elegant western charm. The 31 cabins at Jenny Lake Lodge are complete with redesigned guest bathrooms. They reflect the modern grace and serene environment that surrounds Jenny at the base of the Tetons.

 

John Colter Ranch House at Colter Bay Village
John Colter Ranch House at Colter Bay Village

 

John Colter Ranch House Bar
John Colter Ranch House Bar

 

If you look for the Chuckwagon restaurant of Colter Bay Village, you will find a new treat. The restaurant has undergone a complete renovation and in its place is the John Colter Ranch House, honoring the early settlers and mountain men of Wyoming.  The restaurant now features a bar with an atmosphere reflecting the ranching way of life and highlights the original homesteaders whose settler’s cabins are located at Colter Bay Village. Come in for a hearty breakfast, healthy lunch options such as a soup and salad bar, and a variety of dinner entrees including mesquite-grilled flatiron steak, honey BBQ pork ribs and blackened salmon.

 

Outside John Colter Ranch House
Outside John Colter Ranch House

 

The new look of Grand Teton Lodge Company is ready to be seen, as the lodges and village prepare to open for the summer on the following days:

 

Jackson Lake Lodge: May 18

Colter Bay Village: May 22

Jenny Lake Lodge: May 30

 

Join us for summer 2009! For reservations, call 800-628-9988.

Posted from Katie’s Corner