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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Kade

What's the plural of moose?

If you said moose, you would be correct. It is one moose, five moose or a herd of moose.

We were so fortunate to see many moose!!!!!

First stop after breakfast at Persephone's was back to Mormon Row. Remember to go back to check out the entry entitled "What's to eat between Scottsdale, AZ and the Tetons in Wyoming". I included the recipe for kouign amann. So tasty!! Michael can't wait to get home and bake up a batch.

“The Homestead Act of 1862 promised 160 acres to any person willing to “Improve” the land by building a dwelling and cultivating the land. After five years on the land, the original settler was entitled to the property, free and clear. Mormon families in the 1890’s began homesteading land in the Grovont area with hopes of beginning a new life. They constructed ranches, homes, a church and a school – a true community.

Homes and Family

The original homes were traditional log cabins providing basic shelter from harsh weather. Imagine sharing one room to cook, bathe, sleep, eat, and play. Privacy was an unknown luxury. With the passage of time and increase in prosperity, simple log cabins evolved. Some ordered new homes directly from Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Others built modern homes from stucco and cement, such as the Moulton’s pink stucco house. Challenge yourself to identify the sequence of homes built in the community.

Contrary to the independent culture of homesteading that existed in Jackson Hole, Mormon families moved to the valley and approached tasks communally. By living, working, worshiping, and playing together, they turned Western ideals of rugged-individualism on their heads. Communal tasks included growing crops for livestock and gardens; irrigating the land; hunting; gathering and preparing food; building and maintaining structures, making and mending furnishings, and clothing, and of course, enjoying leisure activities.

Barns and Food

Barns, such as the picturesque T. A. Moulton barn, were the defining feature of each homestead.

Communal events known as “barn-raising” brought together men to construct these sturdy buildings using only hand tools. Once construction began, families provided meals to the crew. Imagine most of the original 27 homesteads had a barn off the same caliber as the Moulton barns. Just as the barn defined the homestead, barn-raising defined the community of Mormon Row.

Despite the short growing season, usually no more than 60 days, homesteaders cultivated fields off ha, alfalfa and Timothy grass. The settlers also raised livestock, tended root vegetable gardens, and gathered local resources like berries. With enough forward thinking and preparation, families could cure meats, can preserves, and set away enough butter to last the long winters.

Land and Lifestyle

Land was plentiful but water was scarce. Families dug miles of ditches across the landscape diverting water from mountain streams and the Gros Ventre River to irrigate their summer fields. In winter, the ditches froze solid requiring families to melt snow or wrestle icy buckets of water from the distant river. The scarcity of water forced families to conserve and share water for multiple domestic tasks. In 1927, the Kelly Warm Springs emerged after a powerful flood destroyed much of the town off Kelly. Residents of Mormon Row named it “The Miracle Spring” providing the community with much needed water year round.

The land provided food, water and recreation. In the winter, frozen irrigation ditches became ice skating rinks, and snow-covered Blacktail Butte became a favorite sledding and skiing hill. In the summer, berry picking expeditions to Taggart Lake and hours spent in a nearby swimming hole filled the long warm hours.

Church and Community

Several small communities of early Mormon settlers known as Grovont (now Mormon Row), Kelly and Wilson grew in Jackson Hole. While most settlers belonged to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, not everyone did. Though no longer standing, the church represented more than a place off worship; it also served as a gathering place where all were welcome. Everyone participated in weddings, political meetings, harvest celebrations, dances, and concerts in the welcoming atmosphere of the Grovont church.

The landscape and extre grazing cattme seasons challenged homesteaders in Jackson Hole- one of the last places in the lower 48 states to be homesteaded. The settlers built a thriving community in Grovont on their hard, communal work. If the saying is true, and ‘home is where the heart is’, then surely the early Mormon settlers poured a great deal of their hearts into this valley.

A snapshot of an Old West community

Today we see a landscape of sagebrush, cottonwood trees and quaking aspens surrounding Mormon Row. As we watch bison and pronghorn roaming the flat lands, we can only imagine the grazing cattle and hayfields that once filled the horizon. Today our view of this vibrant community might be through a car window or the lens of a camera. Yet, as we take in the beauty and history around us, we understand in our hearts the pioneering spirit of the people who turned this vast landscape into their homes.

The National Park Service preserves this land giving generations a chance to understand the history and stories of the buildings and community of Mormon Row.

Andy Chambers Homestead

John Moulton Homestead

Bunkhouse and "Pink House"



Shower house and pump house


Reed Moulton Homestead

house and barn

garage - pump house - shed

The Tetons were quite majestic

We entered the Grand Teton National Park and did some exploring. Due to remaining snow on the roads, some of the roads were closed off to traffic.

Fox or coyote?? A group gathered to photograph this animal. Half of the people said fox and the other half said coyote. I was on the fox side. Look at that tail!

It was in hunting mode.

We know this is the area moose usually are seen. You have to keep a close eye out for them. We were not disappointed!!!!

Are you looking at me? I see you.

You have to be very quiet!

Not easy to photograph the moose with all these bushes in the way.

I was lucky to spot this moose. Loved when it ran down the hill. This moose could run quite fast!!!!

The elk were too far away.

These two Canadian geese were troublemakers!! They were fun to watch, though.

Coming in for a landing!

Taking off

The goose got his feather ruffled a bit. He let every bird around know he was not happy!

Out of my way!

Honk, honk...look out of the way!

What a wonderful photography day!

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1 Comment

Francesca Mattera
Francesca Mattera
Apr 23, 2021

How many beautiful pictures Deb! :)

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