National campaign a chance to win $25,000 to preserve a Sublette County homestead
‘This Place Matters’ campaign. Please vote and tell your friends to vote!
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
September 8, 2010
The Sublette County Historical Society (SCHS) is asking for your help. They are participating in a national campaign through the National Trust for Historic Preservation called "This Place Matters" which allows the public to vote online for a chance to win $25,000 for local historic preservation projects.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation created the photo-sharing campaign in 2008 to help raise awareness for and celebrate culturally diverse and unique communities across the United States. Sublette County submitted the Sommers Ranch Homestead project for this campaign.
The Sommers Ranch Homestead is a cooperative project between the Sublette County Historical Society and siblings Jonita and Albert Sommers. The homestead is located on their family ranch on the Green River about 7 miles south of the Cora Y. The Sommers family is giving the SCHS 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 depicting early 1900s-era homestead life in Sublette County. The Sommers family also placed their entire ranch under a conservation easement earlier this year so the Homestead will always be surrounded by the historic ranch landscape.
The homestead house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Click here to read more about the nomination information: National Register of Historic Places registration form (60 page PDF)
Restoration work has already begun. The first step in the restoration was to lift the house off its foundation and move it aside so construction crews can repair the crumbling concrete foundation. The careful and meticulous lifting and moving of the house took place last week.
Crews will next do structural restoration repairs on any damaged exterior logs of the house, and then move it back onto its foundation. The next step will be to work on restoration of the interior of the home, which will require careful work to maintain the historic integrity of the rooms.
The project is being coordinated by the SCHS, who has enlisted the services of a consulting historic architect and construction crews with experience on restoring historic buildings. Jim Roscoe, Roscoe Corporation, is the general contractor for the restoration. Kurt Dubbe, with Dubbe Moulder Architects from Jackson, is the historic architect. Lemons House Moving Inc., from Idaho Falls, was hired to lift and move the ranch house.
Once restoration is complete, the homestead will have hours in the summer when it will be open to the public. Plans are to have Historical Society staff on hand during those public hours to answer any questions people might have about the site and its history.
Ultimately, the SCHS hopes to have additional structures at the location, including a chicken coop, an ice house, a cellar, a windmill, and a meat storage building, as well as a working garden. Members of the local community are encouraged to become involved in this living history project to learn more and help with demonstrations of how things worked. If anyone has old ranch equipment that might help tell the story of our early Upper Green River Valley ranch settlement history, the SCHS welcomes hearing about that.
The intent of the "This Place Matters" campaign is to get local communities excited and engaged in their local historic preservation projects. Supporters are encouraged to go to the National Trust for Historic Preservation website and vote for their favorite local project. You can only vote once per email, but the Sublette County Historical Society hopes people will vote, and then tell their family and friends about the project and encourage them to go online and vote for the project and spread the word to their friends to get more votes.
Thanks to all of the votes so far, the Sommers Ranch Homestead Project is now ranked 18th out of more than 70 sites. Supporters can go to the following website and cast their vote for this project: http://my.preservationnation.org/site/PageNavigator/TPM_CC_Map. Sommers Ranch Homestead is the only project entered for Wyoming. Click on the blue bubble in Wyoming and select 'view webpage' from the popup. Once on the page, register your email and vote.
For more information about the Sommers Ranch Homestead Project, please contact Angie Thomas at the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale, 307-367-4101.
Voting ends September 15th.