Grand Teton’s Mormon Row Historic District is one of the most visited sites in Jackson Hole due to its historic relevance and undeniable beauty. Part of the National Register of Historic Places, the historic district is one of the country’s best representations of an early 1900s western farming community. The structures that remain from early Mormon settlers are framed perfectly with an unforgettable view of the eastern front of the Tetons. It is no wonder that the famous remains are one of the most photographed places in Grand Teton and provide an image that is synonymous with Jackson Hole. History buffs, aspiring photographers, and visitors of all ages put a visit to Mormon Row at the top of their “to-do” list for their time in Grand Teton.
Over the last century, the vacant buildings along Mormon Row have succumbed to the harsh elements of seasons and weather in Jackson Hole. Roofs, foundations, and corrals are just a few of the many areas in the district that have been slowly degrading over time. In 2013, GTNP recruited the help of Harrison Goodall, a renowned architectural conservator who has worked on various projects across the National Park System, to complete a conditions assessment report which identified the areas in the district that needed immediate attention.
This summer marks the first time in several years that significant preservation work has been completed on the famed historic district. With help from a grant funded by the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park and the Foundation have been able to provide both supplies and volunteers to do much needed maintenance work on the barns and out buildings at Mormon Row. With the guidance of Goodall, two groups of volunteers and teens from the Youth Conservation Program trail crew helped both stabilize and restore several buildings in the district. The first two weeks of volunteers, some coming from as far as Washington state and New Jersey, stabilized over 20 buildings, established proper drainage for deteriorating structures, refastened loose boards and deteriorating roofs, repaired and secured doors and windows, straitened and braced walls while retaining current wall framing, repaired building foundations, filled deep holes near structures, and cleaned or replaced any deteriorating logs that were degrading the integrity of a structure. Needless to say, this group of volunteers was very busy and made remarkable progress in the effort to preserve Mormon Row and continue to make it safe for visitors well into the future.
The third week of work was completed by the Foundation-funded Youth Conservation Program trail crew. Corrals and fence lines along Mormon Row that tell the story of the agricultural history of the area have been disappearing over the last several decades. The YCP crew had the opportunity to rebuild these character defining corrals and fences to replicate their historic appearance at the John Moulton Homestead, the Joe Heninger/Reed Moulton Homestead, the T.A. Moulton Homestead, and the Andy Chambers Homestead.
It has been busy and productive summer at Mormon Row! We are very pleased with the progress that has been made, and are thankful to all of the organizations and individuals who came together for this amazing project. The volunteers and YCP crew made both impressive and significant accomplishments in preserving Mormon Row for generations to come, and for that we are forever thankful!