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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

We walked and shopped. And.... you will never guess what we ate!

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

The four elk antler arches guarding the corners of Jackson Hole's George Washington Memorial Park, more commonly called the Town Square, have become well known icons to the town’s many visitors.

It’s a toss-up whether the Tetons or the elk antler arches at the four corner of Jackson’s Town Square are more photographed by visitors. When the local Rotary Club erected the first arch in 1953, it had no idea it was creating an icon. But the arch was an instant hit with visitors, so the club started planning for additional arches, one on each corner. These were built between 1966 and 1969. (The southwest corner was the first to get its arch.)

Today’s arches are not the original ones, though. Elk antlers have a life span. They don’t look very good when they’re old.

Ideally, the antlers should be replaced every 30 to 40 years.

The oldest arch, the southwestern one, was rebuilt first in 2007. Because this arch is the most popular one for photographs, it wasn’t just replaced, but also moved. It was only a matter of time before someone walking backward to take a photo stepped into traffic and was hurt. The southeast arch was redone in 2009, the northeast corner in 2011 and the northwest one in 2013. Each time, workers disassembled the old arch just after Memorial Day and had the new one up by the Fourth of July. 

Making an elk antler arch is a labor-intensive process. Workers weave antlers—each of which weighs from 5 to 10 pounds—together around the steel frame. Antlers go up one at a time. By the time an arch is done, it’s a mosaic of 12,000 to 14,000 pounds of antlers or more than 2,000 antlers each. Some of them are screwed down to add extra support and prevent vandalism. The arches are held together mostly by friction and gravity.

About 1,000 to 2000 pounds of the antlers in each arch came from the Jackson Hole Boy Scouts, who pick them up on the National Elk Refuge each year. The rest were bought from antler dealers in the Mountain West. The new arches should be good until 2040 or so.

Jackson Hole is home to the National Elk Refuge, a protected sanctuary where hundreds of elk shelter during the winter months. Every spring, elk will naturally shed their antlers, and it is a local tradition for Jackson Hole’s Boy Scout troops to harvest shed antlers from the National Elk Refuge each season. In May,  the community celebrates ElkFest, a multi-day festival with vendors, music, and food. During ElkFest the harvested antlers are auctioned off to bidders from around the world with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Boy Scouts as well as habitat enhancements for the National Elk Refuge.

There’s always something happening on Town Square. Preserving a true sense of the Old West, the sidewalks on the streets surrounding Town Square are actually raised wooden boardwalks. Visitors love walking the boardwalks and crossing through the arches in Town Square to discover Jackson’s many shopping, dining, and nightlife options. Now I know why some stores open in Jackson Hole in the summer and then they move down to Scottsdale for the winter. The shopping at Jackson Hole reminds me of Old Town Scottsdale.

The Last of the Old West - Jackson Hole Jackson Hole is where pioneers sought new adventures.

Scottsdale- The West's Most Western Town

This sign reminds me of Scottsdale

Lots of bears

The Clubhouse still stands

American Legion Post #43

A container is provided where you can place a flag to be retired.

Flag Retirement is the term used to define the proper, dignified way of destroying United States flags that are no longer fit to serve the nation.

To dispose of an American flag without it losing its patriotic value.

"First, let’s talk about when it’s time to retire your flag. There are many misconceptions about the flag, one being that as soon as it touches the ground, it should be burned or retired. Well, not necessarily. Sure, keeping your flag aloft is ideal, but it doesn’t mean it is automatically doomed to retire if it touches the ground. You should clean it and make sure there are no tears, rips, or soils, and then place it back up on the flag pole."

"According to the United States flag Code, Title 4, Section 8k, the flag should be retired when it is in such condition that is “no longer a fitting emblem for display” and should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning it. Basically, you are retiring the flag because it is no longer fits to serve the nation. I will say that sometimes all your flag needs is to be cleaned properly to be resorted to its original appearance, extending its life. If that is the case, flags can easily be washed with mild detergent and cold water, then hung to dry off and laid flat. It’s Important not to fold the flag when damp. But if you see the flag has no more life in it, then yes, it’s time to go."

"The U.S. Flag Code does not authorize any particular organization with the duty of retiring flags. Any person or group can do it. However, flags should only be retired in a non-public or private location, and the ceremony should be a dignified event. There is no “official ceremony required” or recommended."

"The most common and preferred way to retire a flag is by burning it. If it is old, worn out, or torn, then that’s your best bet. Although some think this is wrong or a sign of rebellion, it’s technically not. Burning or cremation has long been considered a dignified way to pay respect to someone who is deceased and to objects that are worth veneration. Burning the flag offers a reverend method of, let’s say “final tribute.” The flag should be correctly folded, laid on a bonfire and burned patriotically while having someone sing the National Anthem or recite the Pledge of Allegiance. Burning ceremonies are more common for individuals retiring their personal flags in the comfort of their own home."

"You can always take your old flags to patriotic organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, Girls Scout of the USA, or The Boy Scouts of America. If you take your old flags they will dispose of them by giving them their proper burial. They are typically burned during the disposal ceremonies, which are held throughout the year."

"You also have the option to take your old flags to the United States Postal Service, who also conduct flag retirement ceremonies on Flag Day. The ceremonies are usually attended by residents or veterans who want to pay tribute to flags."

"You can always bury your flag by folding it and placing it in a small box. The proper way to bury the flag is to honor it by saying the Pledge of Allegiance and place it in a dignified wooden box that can serve as the flag’s vessel while buried. Think of it as a small funeral for your flag."

"You can also shred it by slowly separating each section, meaning cut the thirteen stripes and leave the blue star-spangled field intact. After the flag is cut into pieces, place it in a small box and bury it as you normally would or burn the pieces one by one."

"One of the reasons so much care is put into disposing of a US flag is not just because it is signified as a sacred symbol the United States, but it also represents a living country “and is considered a living thing.” So yes, it represents our everyday lives by doing its duty."

"The Jackson Veterans' Memorial monument has stood in the center of the famous Jackson Town Square for decades. It had physically degraded, and had become very outdated, as it was impossible to add new names of veterans. So, in 2019, after many years of work by many Post 43 veterans, replacement of the old monument was finished this summer. The famous Wyoming bucking bronc and rider sculpture is atop the monument. The new monument has comfortable seating for the public, and beautiful granite panels with plenty of room for names of future Jackson veterans to be engraved."

A significant effort was undertaken to develop as complete a list as possible of qualified veterans for inclusion on the new monument. A qualified veteran must satisfy these criteria:

  • Have served, and been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, or Coast Guard.

  • Must satisfy one or more of the following criteria:

    • Have been born in Jackson Hole or nearby environs

    • Have joined one of the aforementioned U.S. military branches while residing in Jackson Hole

    • Have been buried in, or have ashes spread in Jackson Hole

    • Have resided in Jackson Hole for at least 25 years

Veterans who were recognized on the old monument, current members of Post 43, and veterans' names who were communicated to the Post in the period prior to construction of the new monument are in the master list of qualified veterans.

War of 1812 Spanish American War World War I Era

World War I

World War II

World War II Era Korean War Era

Vietnam War Era

Cold War Era Gulf War Era War on Terrorism Era

Gulf War Era

War on Terrorism Era

There are two empty panels.

Adult stuffed animals

If you're hiking, don't forget your bear spray!!

Need to charge the car while you are downtown?

Now... this is something you don't see every day. Housing possible

We decided to drive toward Moose Junction and came across bison. Did you know a group of bison is called herd, gang or obstinacy, (what a great word). In the wild, female bison live in maternal gangs which include other females and their offspring. Male offspring leave their maternal herd at about three years old and either live alone or join other males in bachelor herds.

Do you think I brought my telephoto lens? Of course, not!!!!!

The smoke diminished a little as compared to yesterday so we stopped by the T. A. Moulton Barn on the way back to check out the view. At least we could see the mountains. The light was coming from the wrong direction as it was too late in the afternoon.

Smoke and haze

Watch out for silly signs.

That is a different way to stack the bales of hay.

Interesting place for a nest.

For dinner Michael and I had Freshies clam chowder and lobster rolls. Freshies is a Utah Company but now you can get lobster rolls, clam chowder, etc here in Jackson Hole. Believe it or not their lobster roll was named World's Best Lobster Roll at the "Down East Lobster Roll Festival" competition in Portland, Maine.

"Lorin Smaha and her husband, Ben, are both from New England, but met in Utah. She said one thing they always had in common was a shared love of lobster.

"Ben grew up right on the coast of Maine, so he was obviously very immersed in it, had some recreational lobster traps," Smaha said. "Me, in New Hampshire, loved lobster growing up, family loved lobster."

Loaded with clams. Rich and creamy.

Buttery tasting oyster crackers. Delicious!

New England style roll. Buttered and grilled sides of the roll. Cut in half to fit in the container. The Maine Lobster Lady serves my favorite but this is a close second.

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