Our Summer 2010 Trip...Headed West This Time travel blog

lots of sculpture all over downtown Sheridan, WY

each sculpture had a reference # and could be purchased

this mural told the history of both Wyoming and the town of...

part of downtown Sheridan

more of downtown Sheridan - lots of 19th century buildings

this bar was used in the movie The Gambler

this theater has live performances all summer

another old saloon

this store is famous for making and selling saddles, lariats and other...

just a few of the bits available for purchase at King's

and just a few of the saddles for sale

and a few of the lariats for sale

in the King's Saddlery museum - this is a shepherd's wagon

Mr. King was a superb saddle maker - this flower style pattern...

Jim Jackson is both a painter and a leather artist - he...

there are 69 gables on this inn (some on the sides), once...

the old bar at the historic Sheridan Inn

the lobby at the old Sheridan Inn, once partly owned by Buffalo...

steam engine across the street from the Sheridan Inn and next to...

the Brinton summer home; he also had a penthouse apt. in NYC!

Fred by an old Case truck...the Case Co. is how Brinton made...

view from back yard at the Brinton ranch

another view at the ranch

this little bunny was hiding in the garden at the ranch

another ranch view

another view of the ranch

more pronghorns that cattle were seen around Sheridan

this was quite the "studly" pronghorn!

this huge elk was at the lovely Kendrick Park in Sheridan

look at the cute little elk fawn standing near his dad

Kendrick Park has a outdoor amphitheater, a creek, the animals and an...

side view of the stately Flemish Revival style Kendrick Mansion, named Trail...

front view of the cattle baron's town home, built from 1908 -...

back view of John Kendrick's home; he also served as a WY...

the home has almost 4 acres of gardens and lawn; Kendrick gave...

the carriage house is now used for a community theater

the dining room in the mansion has a button on the floor...

this flip table was used by the kids at dinner time or...

Kendrick started out as a TX cowboy and became a hugely rich...

Kendrick included many modern conveniences in his home

the library was full of books on one wall

the drawing room was always full of guests since Mrs. Kendrick loved...

this room was HUGE; most of the furnishings in the home are...

another view of the drawing room; the house is about 14,000 square...

the basement laundry was as large as the dining room - lots...

I bet the maids liked the convenience of this mangle - saved...

lots of mahogany was used in the 3 story house (not counting...

the master bedroom, one of ten bedrooms in the home

the Kendrick's daughter's bedroom

the Kendrick son's bedroom had the skin of a 2500 lb steer...

the third floor had a gigantic ballroom and the servants' bedrooms as...

note the windows at the left that swivel to catch the breeze;...

other modern touches - a dumb waiter and a built in vacuum...

look at the details in the ceiling molding in this room

this large new modern home (across from the mansion) is owned by...


Fred and I found out there is a lot of “nothing” between Laramie and Sheridan, which is in northern Wyoming. We did pass through a couple small towns, but we mostly saw high desert plains and when there small streams were evident, we saw irrigated grain crops. Outside of the small town of Medicine Bow, we saw a huge windmill farm, and noticed that workers were in the process of putting together some new windmills there. That was an interesting find! I know we saw way more pronghorn than cattle or people! When we got to Sheridan, though, it was much more green – there are several creeks running through the town and near it as well, which allows for better grazing conditions. The town lies in the valley of the Little and Big Goose Creeks, and only a few miles from the Big Horn Mountains. Our RV park was right off the highway at the edge of town, and very convenient for our visit. Peter D, the RV park owner, was one of the best hosts we’ve had at a park. The sites were narrow but otherwise everything was great there.

We learned that Sheridan was plotted as a town by John D. Loucks in 1882 on the back of a sheet of wrapping paper and was named after one of John Loucks' civil war officers, General Sheridan. With its location on the Bozeman Trail, Sheridan was the center of turbulent 1800's western expansion history. With the coming of the railroad, the opening of many coal mines, the settling of the ranch lands and the arrival of the townspeople, Sheridan quickly grew to a populated town of about 1500 people by 1900, which, for rural Wyoming, was a good sized town then.

The early wood frame, false front buildings were replaced by sturdier structures of brick and stone between 1910 and 1920 and we enjoyed walking around the Main Street District, which was enrolled in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. I really liked the downtown area; it is filled with dozens of unique stores selling western apparel, antiques and collectibles, leather crafts, ropes and horse tack, log furniture, jewelry, books, and art. There are also several saloons, restaurants, and a very good candy shop too. We took a street car tour all around the town the first day to get an overview of the town, which has been named the number one western town in Wyoming for several years.

One place everyone in Sheridan visits is the historic Sheridan Inn, a National Historic Landmark, which was built in 1892 – 1893 across from the train depot. It was advertised as" the finest hotel between Chicago and San Francisco," and Buffalo Bill Cody often auditioned people for his Wild West Show there. He liked the inn so much he became part owner. The Inn is known as the "House of 69 Gables" and is listed in Ripley's Believe It or Not. The long bar is original to the inn as is the lobby desk. The rest of the furniture is authentic but is not from the inn itself, which fell into disrepair after closing in 1964. The historical group that bought it is still renovating the upstairs part. The nearly 120 year-old inn is open as a restaurant and bar right now, and as soon as all the remodeling is completed next year, it will also re-open as an inn.

Our favorite place downtown was King’s Saddlery and Museum. This museum developed from the artistry and handwork of master leather craftsman Don King who developed his own style, "the Sheridan Style" saddle. We learned that as a boy, King followed his father throughout the west, learning his trade from master leather craftsman; he then opened his own business. Don quickly became known as one of the country's premier saddle makers, and some of his saddles are on display at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the PRCA Rodeo Hall of Fame. Although Don died in 2007, the store is still a complete western tack store, including an inventory of over 30,000 lariats! While we were in the store buying a rocking horse for Avery’s Christmas gift, we saw two women come in to purchase caps and lariats. One said “please put it on my account” and the other just signed her account. No credit cards or money was used nor any checks written - the transactions were completed just like in the “olden days.”

In addition to making saddles, King was also a collector of saddles and other western memorabilia. His collections are now in King's Museum, located in a building right behind the store. The place was jam-packed with memorabilia including a Pre-Civil War Conestoga saddle, a Japanese saddle tree dating back to the 17th century, hundreds of other saddles, a 19th century hearse wagon, a shepherd’s ranch wagon, hundreds of autographed photos of western movie stars, one of Gene Autry’s saddles and much, much more. We wandered around for about two hours but still didn’t see everything there. We met the store’s current master leather artist, Jim Jackson, who was working on belts that afternoon. He told us a lot about Mr. King, who was his mentor, and about the leatherwork business. I “googled” Jim when I got back to the RV and found out he is also a well known painter and has taught leather work in Wyoming, California and Japan.

The next day we visited two mansions. One was the home of John Kendrick, a Texas cowboy who became a cattle baron, governor of Wyoming, and later a senator from the state. Kendrick was an orphan who trailed cattle to Wyoming from Texas and settled in Wyoming in the late 1800s. He was self-educated and through his cattle and business ventures, he became one of the area’s wealthiest men. He donated hundreds of acres of land for Kendrick Park which sits below the mansion, and we enjoyed walking around the park after we visited the mansion. Kendrick’s home is a Flemish Revival style, built from 1908 – 1913, and had all the modern conveniences available for its time period. With many of the original furnishings and personal items of the family, three stories and a full basement, ten bedrooms, twelve bathrooms, a huge drawing room, several other living areas, and a gigantic ballroom, it was remarkable and very lovely. The other home was the summer home of a “gentleman rancher,” Bradford Brinton, who made his money in the Case Equipment Company, then bought a large ranch outside of Sheridan to raise thoroughbred horses and a few cattle. Brinton was an art collector and filled his home with western art. We saw original art by John James Audubon, George Bellows, Edward Borein, Hans Kleiber, Frederic Remington and Charles Russell; in fact, there was more art in this home than in some art museums I have visited. In addition, we saw many rare books and even some historic documents, such as an original letter by Abraham Lincoln and a document written by George Washington. This guy was super wealthy!

I wish we’d planned a couple more days in the Sheridan area. I guess we will just have to come back another trip and see more!



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