Friday, July 30, 2010

Home on the Range



I'll admit it. I've got an odd obsession with old buildings. Especially weathered, falling-down barns. To me, they always feel full of potential, like they have an untold story that you can almost hear on the breeze. And if old barns are your obsession, Wyoming isn't a bad place to visit. The wood buildings weather beautifully in the harsh climate, and the buildings look amazing against that huge Western sky.

In Grand Teton, there's an area called Mormon Row that blew me away in this regard. This is the area where a small enclave of Mormons first settled in the 1890s. The barn at the top of this post was part of the the Thomas Murphy Homestead, and was built sometime in the 1920s. I love that the barns were more elaborate and larger than the houses, which were often simple log cabins. Some were even ordered directly from the Sears and Roebuck catalog!

This home was, if I'm remembering correctly, also a part of the Murphy homestead. In the mid-50s, the homes were abandoned when the land was aquired in order to expand Grand Teton National Park although I'm not sure why. Anyway, they now lie on National Park land, a few remaining barns and homes sinking slowly sinking back into the Wyoming dirt.

The barn below was a part of the Andrew and Ida Chambers Homestead.

And a barn from the Thomas and Lucille Moulton Homestead, built in the 1910s. I suspect that this one may have had some sort of refurbishing done on it, since the wood seems an awfully bright color for something that's been weathering the Wyoming elements for 100 years. But perhaps it's just the type of wood used to build it?


Seeing these old buildings really took my breath away. The sky just seemed so huge over them, and the mountains so towering. I imagine living out here must have been lonely, in some ways, even as the scenery was spectacular. It can't have been anywhere near easy, though, in a time before the modern conveniences we all depend on so much. In any case, only one of the old homes is still occupied by humans (as a bed and breakfast), but animal inhabitants are everywhere. We saw plenty of the ubiquitous bison. Also, pronghorns. This is also where we saw the baby coyote and great horned owls from my last post.

And it's not just in the park that these old houses can be found. After leaving Grand Teton, we saw this amazing old house somewhere in Idaho.

I made my traveling companion pull over so I could take approximately a zillion photos. Apparently, the inside of the place was a wreck from being used as a party house by local teens. I didn't bother to look inside, though. I prefer the romance of the outside.

I mean, seriously, doesn't it just make you feel lonely and breathless from the beauty at the same time? Look at that SKY!


Finally, on a side note, I think part of my old barn obsession comes from spending summers near this barn: DH Day Barn, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. It's actually not falling-down at all. It's beautifully maintained. But it's certainly the most gorgeous barn I've ever seen. It's like something out of a fairy tale. I secretly kind of want to live in it!

1 comment:

Camels & Chocolate said...

I would like to live in every last one of those houses, please!