Summarized by Kent Larsen
Comment period on Mormon Row extended
Billings MT Gazette 2Aug99 C7
By Ann Rick Sumers
An LDS historical site is threatened by continuing weather and
neglect, but may be saved by a National Park Service plan, according
to Ann Rick Sumers, of the New Jersey Children's Museum. Sumers urges
members of the Church, in a letter to the editor of the Deseret News,
to send their comments on the site to the Park Service during its
public comment period.
The site in question is called Mormon Row, a small town located in
what is now the Grand Teton National Park, just south of Yellowstone
National Park. The town was built starting around 1896, growing to
include 17 homesteads, a school and a church before closing in the
1950s when the Park Service created Grand Teton. Today, only the
Chambers Ranch and the Moulton Barn remain of the town. And these
buildings are very fragile and are deteriorating rapidly.
The Park Service's plan, called "Alternative 5" would make the
buildings into an 'interpretive site,' where visitors could get
guided walks, interpretation and bicycle tours, as well as an
occasional historic life skill demonstration by a costumed ranger.
Fortunately, the Park Service has extended its public comment period
until September 13th. During this period the Service is seeking
comments from those interested in the site.
"The buildings on the Chambers place are of tremendous interest
historically. In spite of their fragile and deteriorating condition,
a walk among the buildings and outlying fields gives an almost
tangible feel for how life must have been for the homesteaders. The
buildings are a time capsule capturing the essence of the work and
care that went into ranching in the early days - a rare opportunity
to walk back in time." says Teton Historical Society historian and
preservationist Jo Ann Byrd.
Sumers ends her letter pleading for LDS Church members and others
interested to save the town, "I hope that this ranch will be
preserved by the National Park Service for the generations to come,
to understand the hardships of our pioneer ancestors and to realize
the enormous difficulties the previous generations overcame."