RENEWING LIFE ON MORMON ROW
MORMON ROW INITIATIVE
Mormon Row is far more than just a relic of our past. The weathered Moulton barn, standing alone against the Tetons, is one of America's most emblematic images. This barn and the surrounding buildings are the physical remains of the courage, self-reliance, and sense of adventure that underscored Euro-American’s westward expansion. Stories like these help us understand this time period in the valley’s history and also celebrate the enterprising spirit that continues to move our country forward today.
Grand Teton National Park Foundation, in partnership with Grand Teton National Park, has launched a multi-year project to renew this well-loved destination and provide visitors with meaningful opportunities to connect with cultural history while immersing themselves in the awe-inspiring Teton landscape.
In 1895, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent homesteaders into the Jackson Hole valley with the mission of creating a community. They chose a location across from the towering Teton Range and called their new home Grovont after the Gros Ventre River. With a church and school at its heart and a distinctive arrangement of farms lining one long road, the predominantly self-sufficient outpost came to be known as Mormon Row.
Mormon Row flourished and then slowly faded over the span of nearly a century, but residents left a captivating legacy. Family histories, passed down through generations, give us a glimpse of their hardship and success. Parcel by parcel, the National Park Service was gifted or acquired properties as life leases expired. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997 due to its rich cultural value, Mormon Row’s remnants give life to the story of Jackson Hole at the turn of the century and highlight the role Mormons played in western irrigation and settlement patterns. Today, visitors can stand among the old structures and imagine a landscape that looks much like it did when pioneers lived on this land.
The lack of active use and maintenance over many years moved along by the weight of winter snows, blistering summer sun, ever-present wind, ground squirrels, bats, and more has led to disrepair and then disappearance altogether of many homesteader buildings. Without extensive stabilization, preservation treatment, an ongoing maintenance plan, and a comprehensive effort to gather oral accounts before the people with connections to Mormon Row are gone, this landscape’s fascinating history would eventually be lost.
As more and more people seek the views and stories of this well-loved place, the time is now to stabilize structures and improve interpretation to inspire generations to appreciate the hardships and triumphs during this time period of western settlement.
The Mormon Row Initiative is a $5 million public-private partnership project funded by Grand Teton National Park and Grand Teton National Park Foundation that will revitalize Mormon Row and increase its ability to coexist with the area’s natural resources. This effort will, for the first time, holistically address preservation needs on the site and improve the ways visitors learn about and experience the remarkable legacy of these buildings.
Grand Teton National Park will build upon past efforts to ensure these buildings, fences, and ditches continue to endure on the landscape. Grand Teton National Park Foundation is seeking philanthropic partners who believe in the importance of telling the diversity of the district’s stories—on location—where tens of thousands visit each year. History comes to life when people can stand among these buildings and visualize the backbreaking work that was required to cultivate and live on this expansive landscape.
- Stabilize and protect iconic structures and the cultural landscape
- Maintain the authenticity of the district
- Provide visitors with a place of solitude where they can contemplate what life was like for past residents while immersed in the grandeur of the Tetons
- Improve visitor experiences through:
- Enhancing circulation and wayfinding, creating a network of trails, bridges, and amenities that meet accessibility standards but have minimal impacts to the overall site and maintain the integrity of the area
- Encouraging self-discovery with audio and video tours and experiences on the NPS mobile application, helping people envision life on Mormon Row as well as stories of earlier indigenous use, settlement, and access patterns
- Adaptively reuse two properties to ensure their preservation and to serve a critical park need—employee housing
- Provide park presence in the district to help maintain and achieve stewardship goals
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Preservation work on Mormon Row began in 2021 and will continue through 2025. Grand Teton National Park Foundation will raise $3 million, which will leverage up to $2 million in federal matching funds from the National Park Service that would not otherwise be available to Grand Teton. Private philanthropy will significantly elevate the outcomes of this effort, allowing the story of this iconic destination to inspire visitors for generations to come. Help ensure that the legacy of Mormon Row is not forgotten, join us today.
Visit gtnpf.org or call 307-732-0629 to learn more and support this effort today. Thank you!