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Pinedale Online > News > September 2011 > Sommers Ranch Homestead Open House Sept. 3

Original homestead house. Photo by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online.
Original homestead house
Before restoration

1945 house. Photo by Sommers Family.
1945 house

Old foundation. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
Old foundation
The house had to be moved off the old crumbling foundation. This was done during the summer of 2010.

Moving the house. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
Moving the house
This is the SECOND time this house has been moved! It was originally built along the Green River in 1908. Not long after, the family decided it was too close to the river, so it was painstakingly moved to its present location. That process took a week and involved pulling it with a team of horses over logs, moving slowly up the road approximately a half mile.

New foundation. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
New foundation
The new foundation intentionally raised the homestead house higher to solve water drainage problems around the house, which is located next to an irrigation ditch.

Restored house - 2011. Photo by Clint Gilchrist, Pinedale Online.
Restored house - 2011
Restored house, early summer 2011. Since this photo was taken, an ADA handicap ramp has been installed, landscaping and more work has been done inside and outside of the house.
Sommers Ranch Homestead Open House Sept. 3
Public viewing for the restoration of the homestead house
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
September 2, 2011

Everyone is invited to come out to the Open House for the Sommers Ranch Homestead living history project on Saturday, September 3rd. The open house will showcase the restoration of the 100-year old homestead house on a ranch on the Green River.

The restoration is part of a living history project being done cooperatively between the Sublette County Historical Society, Green River Valley Museum, and siblings Jonita and Albert Sommers.

The Sommers family gave the Sublette County Historical Society the homestead building and an easement to manage and preserve the historic ranch house building on one acre of land to create a living history demonstration project exploring early 1900s-era homestead life in Sublette County. The Sommers family also placed their entire ranch under a conservation easement in 2010 so the homestead will always be surrounded by the historic ranch landscape.

The multi-phase project will take years to complete to restore all the buildings that are part of the endeavor. This open house is for the completion of the first phase, which involved the restoration of the two-story log homestead house. The restoration required completely moving the house off its old crumbling foundation, pouring a new foundation, and moving the house back onto the new foundation. The entire inside of the house was meticulously cleaned and restored. General contractor for the house restoration was Jim Roscoe, Roscoe Co., from Wilson, Wyoming. Kurt Dubbe, a historic architect with Dubbe-Moulder Architects from Jackson, Wyoming, was brought in to oversee the restoration.

The site is intended to be a living-history project with many hands-on opportunities to explore, touch and do things to learn more about the lifestyle of the people who lived during the homestead era of the early 1900s to the 1950s in the Upper Green River Valley. Future phases will include more research, experiments, interpretation and living history demonstrations of the lifestyle of how people lived, what they did, what they wore, what tools they used, and what life was like during that time period.

Other structures still to be restored on the site include the cellar, garage, a wind charger, the outhouse, and the old bunkhouse. Plans also include restoring and replanting the old garden each year. Projects will require fundraising to raise the money needed to proceed with future work. Most of the work is being done by volunteers. Anyone interested in helping out is welcome and encouraged to become involved. Donations to help the project are welcome and always appreciated.

The Open House will be Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public. There will be delicious home-cooked, old-family recipe food served. The restored homestead house will be open for viewing.

Directions: On the East Green River Road, 7.3 miles south from US 191 (turn south at the Cora Y). From Big Piney, take the East Green River Road north 15.2 miles. The historic site is on the south side of the Sommers Road-County Road 146. Watch for signs.

For more information about the project, or anyone interested in volunteering, contact project director, Angie Thomas, at the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale,, 307-367-4101.

Related Links
  • National campaign a chance to win $25,000 to preserve a Sublette County homestead - Pinedale Online, September 8, 2010 (9 photos)
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation Sommers Ranch Homestead
  • Sommers Ranch">2012 Nomination for the Leopold Conservation Award (PDF)
  • Wyoming officials celebrate Sommers-Grindstone conservation easements - Casper Star-Tribune, September 16, 2010
  • Pinedale Online > News > September 2011 > Sommers Ranch Homestead Open House Sept. 3

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