Photograph of Grand Teton National Park Barn
Limited Edition of 50.
Mormon Row, formerly known as the town of Grovont, was settled in the late 1890s by Mormons from the Salt Lake region. Due to the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted land ownership to any person willing to build a house and cultivate the area for five years, this community was able to establish a presence in the area east of Blacktail Butte. Settlers secured 27 homesteads that they built close together to share labor and community.
Settlers dug miles of ditches to bring water from the Gros Ventre River to their fields. In the winters, these ditches would freeze so families traveled to the river with buckets to gather much needed water. It wasn’t until 1927 that the Kelly Warm Spring cooled, caused by hydrologic shifts from the Gros Ventre slide flood, and offered a dependable water source to residents year round. Families mainly grew hay and ninety-day-oats, as these were a few of the only crops that were able to survive the short growing season and harsh conditions of Jackson Hole. Families also owned cows, whose milk and meat provided food, as well as horses, that helped settlers till the fields.
The town of Grovont once contained multiple ranches, homes, a church, and a school. The church, built in 1916, played a critical role in the community, serving as a social stage for all, regardless of faith. Although the building was moved to Wilson, it is marked at Mormon Row by fence posts, two cottonwoods, and a spruce tree.
In the mid-1900s, Mormon Row was acquired to expand Grand Teton National Park and in 1997 the district was added to the National Register of Historic Places. Below are descriptions of some of the barns that still stand today, offering the same feeling and setting of the district as it was 100 years ago.
Photo © copyright by Jess Lee.