Best of the Tetons

Mormon Row: Historic Documentation

Overview Drawing

“The Mormon Row Historic District represents the determination of a group of Mormon families to build a community on the harsh, arid, high plains of Wyoming. Mormon emigrants from Idaho established this community, originally called Grovont, in 1896. In 1950, the expansion of Grand Teton National Park encompassed Grovont, ultimately leading to its abandonment. The oldest surviving buildings date to 1908.”

I spent quite a bit of time milling around on the Library of Congress site, searching for photos, maps, and drawings of the Mormon Row district. As it turns out, there’s a lot of information! Typically, blog articles are lean on photos and heavy on text. This page will be just the opposite! I took the liberty to crop some of the images to help some with download time, but made the executive decision to fill this page with as much information as I could.  Click the overview drawing above to be able to see it much larger.

Note: Most of the information on this page comes from documentation found at the Library of Congress. Several of the site plans include this information: “The project was undertaken by the Intermountain Support Office — Denver, National Park Service, under the direction of historical architect Richard J. Cronenberger and Grand Teton National Park, cultural resource specialist Michael C. Johnson.” There were many more homesteads and structures along Mormon row, but this page concentrates on the remaining homesteads found in the district. 

“Mormon Row is an excellent example of a late-frontier agricultural settlement, and reflects the gradual extension of Mormon culture throughout the west. In 1847, Mormons fleeing persecution in the east immigrated to Utah’s Great Salt Lake Basin. A “second wave” of migration expanded Mormon influence to include all of Utah and much of northern Arizona and southern Idaho. By the 1890s, the children of this second wave began to further disperse Mormon culture, including into Wyoming. In 1896, a group of Mormons led by James I. May of Idaho established this community in the shadow of the Teton Mountain range. Officially named Grovont, the town was soon known as “Mormon Row.” One of the many “Mormon Rows” throughout the West, the name reflected both the religion and linear settlement patterns of its residents. Unlike gentile homesteaders—who typically built isolated farms. Mormons established clustered settlements that provided for cooperative use of land and water.”


Thomas A. Moulton Homestead

TA Moulton Barn 1977

TA Moulton Barn:

“Mormon Row Road was an area originally settled by Mormon families. At one time there were fifteen homesteads, a one-room school, a Mormon church and a post office. The 160-acre T.A. Moulton ranch, representative of the many prosperous spreads on Mormon Row Road, was homesteaded in 1908. The ranch was successfully operated for over fifty years, until it was acquired by the National Park Service in 1960.”

TA Moulton Barn Front and Back Elevations

TA Moulton Barn Front and Back Elevations:

TA Moulton Barn Back Elevation

TA Moulton Barn Back Elevation and Sides:

TA Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn: Looking Southeast.

TA Moulton Site Plan

TA Moulton Site Plan: Currently, only old barn remains at this homestead.

TA Moulton Farm House

TA Moulton Farm House:

TA Moulton Farm House

TA Moulton Farm House:

TA Moulton Farm House

TA Moulton Farm House:

TA Moulton Farm House

TA Moulton Farm House:

TA Moulton Farm House

TA Moulton Farm House: The connected Granary building can be seen in the background.

TA Moulton Homestead

TA Moulton Homestead: 

Cottonwoods and House

TA Moulton House, Granary, Cottonwoods, and : The row of cottonwoods are still standing.

Blacksmith Shed

TA Moulton Chicken House:

Blacksmith Shed

TA Moulton Chicken House: The remains of the Hog House is seen in the distance.

Chicken Coup

TA Moulton Chicken House:

Blacksmith Shed

TA Moulton Blacksmith Shed:

Blacksmith Shed

TA Moulton Blacksmith Shed:

Hog House

TA Moulton Hog House:

Connected Granary

TA Moulton Connected Granary:

Connected Granary

TA Moulton Connected Granary:

TA Moulton Barn Project Info:

TA Moulton Project Info


Andy Chambers Homestead

Andy Chambers Homestead

“Mormon Row Road was an area originally settled by Mormon families. At one time there were fifteen homesteads, a one-room school house, a Mormon church and a post office. The 160-acre Andy Chambers ranch is located near the middle of “Mormon Row” in an area east of Blacktail Butte. The existing log ranch house was constructed by Chambers in 1917 just before his marriage to Ida Kneedy, the “Mormon Row” schoolteacher. From 1923 to 1935, Ida was the local postmaster and Andy had the contract to deliver mail in the valley.”

Andy Chambers Homestead Site Plan

Andy Chambers Homestead Site Plan:

Andy Chambers House

Andy Chambers House:

Andy Chambers House

Andy Chambers House:

Andy Chambers Barn

Andy Chambers Barn:

Andy Chambers Barn

Andy Chambers Barn:

Andy Chambers Barn

Andy Chambers Barn:

Andy Chambers Machine Shed

Andy Chambers Machine Shed:

Andy Chambers Granary and Saddle Shop

Andy Chambers Granary and Chicken Coop:

Andy Chambers Gas and Oil Shed

Andy Chambers Gas and Oil Shed:

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House

Andy Chambers Garage and Pump House:

Andy Chambers Homestead Project Info:

Andy Chambers Homestead Project Info


Thomas Perry Homestead

Thomas Perry Homestead

Thomas Perry Homestead:

“Mormon Thomas Perry settled this homestead in 1911. The property was sold to Wallace Moulton and then to Ida Chamber (ca. 1945)). Ida’s son, Roy Chambers, used the property as the headquarters of the family’s ranching operation, which, included the former Andy Chambers Homestead (adjacent on the East). Following the expansion of Grand Teton National Park in 1950, Ida Chambers sold the ranch to the National Park Service, yet retained a life tenancy on the property. Roy Chambers and his wife, Becky, lived at the site until Ida’s death in 1989.

Thomas Perry, who was a carpenter, constructed the main house between 1911 and 1917. The living room served as the community school prior to the 1917 construction of the Mormon Row’s combined church school building. Also at the site are a garage, bunkhouse, chicken coup, windmill, and trash dump.”

Thomas Perry Homestead Site MapThomas Perry Homestead Site Map:

Thomas Perry House

Thomas Perry House:

Thomas Perry House

Thomas Perry House:

Thomas Perry House:

Thomas Perry House:

Thomas Perry House:

Thomas Perry Homestead:

Thomas Perry Structures

Thomas Perry Structures:

Thomas Perry Homestead Project Info:

Thomas Perry Homestead Project Info


John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead

John Moulton Homestead:

“Mormon John Moulton homesteaded this property in 1908. Moulton had migrated from Chapin, Idaho, accompanied by his brothers Alma and Wallace, and his friends Thomas Murphy and Ernest Stone. Between 1908 and 1916, Moulton cleared 80 acres of sage, planted 60 acres in oats and hay, and constructed a house, barn, corral, and fences on the land. For the first few years after moving to Mormon Row, Moulton and his brother returned to Idaho during winters to “work for a grubstake.” Extant buildings at the John Moulton Homestead include a house, barn, two outhouses, shower house, bunkhouse, granary, pumphouse, and corral. The John Moulton House is the most substantial historic home on Mormon Row. The building has pink-tinted stucco walls and was constructed ca. 1938, replacing an earlier home. The gambrel-wth-shed log barn was constructed between 1908 and 1916.”

John Moulton Homestead Site Plan

John Moulton Homestead Site Plan:

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn:

John Moulton Barn

John Moulton Barn:

John Moulton Barn Elevations

John Moulton Barn Elevations:

John Moulton Barn Interior

John Moulton Barn Interior:

John Moulton House

John Moulton House:

John Moulton Bunkhouse

John Moulton Bunkhouse:

John Moulton Bunkhouse

John Moulton Bunkhouse:

John Moulton Bunk House

John Moulton Bunkhouse:

John Moulton Wash House

John Moulton Wash House:

John Moulton Granary

John Moulton Granary:

John Moulton Granary

John Moulton Granary:

John Moulton Twin Outhouses

John Moulton Twin Outhouses:

John Moulton Pump House

John Moulton Pump House:

John Moulton Homestead Project Info:

John Moulton Homestead Project Info


Thomas Murphy Homestead

Thomas Murphy Homestead

“Thomas Murphy moved to Wyoming in 1908. That same year, Murphy constructed the residence on this site (modified by several builders over the years). The Homestead was purchased in 1920 by Joe Heninger, who constructed the large barn to house the horses and trucks used in the Jackson-to-Moran Trail route. Reed Moulton, who spent his childhood on the adjacent John Moulton Homestead, moved onto the property ca. 1945. Extant structures at the site include the house, barn, shed, pumphouse/garage, outhouse, and hay derrick.”

Thomas Murphy Homestead Site Plan

Thomas Murphy Homestead Site Plan:

Thomas Murphy Barn

Thomas Murphy Barn:

Thomas Murphy Barn:

Thomas Murphy Barn:

Thomas Murphy Barn:

Thomas Murphy Barn:

Thomas Murphy Barn Interior

Thomas Murphy Barn Interior:

Thomas Murphy Barn

Thomas Murphy Barn:

Thomas Murphy Houses

Thomas Murphy Houses:

Thomas Murphy Houses:

Thomas Murphy Houses and Structures:

Thomas Murphy Homestead Project Info:

Thomas Murphy Project Info


A Few Notes by Mike Jackson: By the time my wife and I moved to Jackson Hole in 1986, the house, fences, and outbuildings at the T.A. Moulton Homestead had already been removed, leaving only the historic old barn. Refer to the Homestead Project Info images for specifics and dates.

Over the past few years, I created quite a few post about Mormon Row and the Kelly area.

TA Moulton Barn

The photo above was taken by Al Pounian in 1964, roughly 13-33 years before the black and white photos on the Library of Congress site. Al and his family spent summers in Jackson Hole, while the homesteads were still in full operation.  This photo can be found on this page: The “Missing” GTNP Farming and Ranching Photos:

A lot has happened along Mormon Row over the past 100 years! Compare Al Pounian’s photo above and an image you might have taken in the past 10 years. The Park Service bought many of the old homesteads, and after the families moved on, the structures went into severe disrepair. Thankfully, in 1994, the Moulton families volunteered to repair some of the structures before it was too lat—and before the Park Service got on board with their preservation efforts. That’s another story! Preservation Begins on the John Moulton Homestead! The 1977-1997 Library of Congress photos are a great “time stamp” for the district.

Library of Congress

Note: I didn’t post every photo and diagram I found at the Library of Congress. If you are so inclined, click this link to get started on your own searches: Thomas Murphy Homestead


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Comments (7)

  1. So interesting. I always think how hard it must have been for the settlers back then. The winters were harsh, and the summers short. But, the scenery can’t be beat.

  2. Mike,
    What an impressive and informative article! Thanks so much for sleuthing all this information and taking the time to write the piece. This is wonderful background for anyone visiting and/or shooting this area.
    Steve

  3. Carl Gandolfo

    Great, great article you created here, Mike!! Thank you for taking all of that time and informing us, who have visit the Park numerous times, on the history and struggles, not only at the onset of the settlement, but even today with trying to restore and preserve history! Very fascinating!!

  4. Carl, Thanks! I find it equally fascinating!

  5. Don George

    Hi Mike,

    Enjoyed your history lesson on Mormon Row. Jackson and Grand Teton being two of my favorite places to go. I looked up a few of my images from the Mormon Row area and found one of a house and out building. It was labelled Callahan farm. I took it over 30 years ago and if I remember correctly it burned down. Not the best image as I shot it with a fixed lens film camera. Wish I had taken more interest in it at the time. I might have missed it in your Blog. Do you have any information on it.
    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
    Don

  6. Hi Don, Somewhere in my emails, I have a map showing sites of some of the other homesteads in the area. That’t not a name I recall, but I didn’t really study the map when I first saw it. I have an article that talks about the 1994 repair of the TA Moulton Barn after the north shed collapsed under the weight of the winter snow. It didn’t seem to fit in with the other photos, so maybe it will be the emphasis for another post someday. Cheers!!!!!! Mike

  7. Juan

    Historic Architect for GTNP here, just recently put a new roof on the Thomas Perry home you might have notice that. Also we gave Moulton Barn a little bit of rehab work in the past few years. Great blog and photography Mike.

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