Adventure

How the Rockefellers got to Jackson Hole?

Rockefellers got to Jackson Hole

As any handbook on the history of Grand Teton National Park will tell you, John D. Rockefeller Jr came to Jackson Hole in 1926, noticed the Grand Tetons, and decided to buy and protect them. That’s how they became a national park. Some sources will add that years later Rockefeller created today’s Jackson Lake Lodge near the accommodation where he stayed on his first visit.

Rockefellers got to Jackson Hole

Here are some related historical facts you won’t find in the handbooks:

Most visitors to Jackson Hole came by one of two routes in those days. Some got off the train in Livingston, Montana. From there they were transported by a Yellowstone Park Company motor stage to Old Faithful Lodge. Then they continued south, again as passengers on a YPC stage, and arrived at the Amoretti Inn at Moran.

Or visitors could detrain at the new CPR terminal in Lander, Wyoming, as Rockefeller and his family did. A motor stage took them to Brooks Lake Lodge south of Dubois, where they would have overnighted. Then they travelled over Togwotee Pass to Moran.

Rockefellers got to Jackson Hole

Rockefellers got to Jackson Hole

The old bad wagon road over Togwotee had recently been upgraded to a new bad road for motor vehicles. The Rockefellers likely would have spent their second night at the Togwotee Pass Inn. Then, when they got to Moran, they booked into the Amoretti Inn, like the visitors who came via the Yellowstone route. Eugene Amoretti Jr was the entrepreneur who founded the stage service from Lander to Moran and built all three inns.

Cody Simonson, my grandfather, grew up in Dubois. He was one of the young men who drove the Lander to Moran motor stages.

Rockefellers got to Jackson Hole

The Amoretti Inn – It featured the first hot and cold running water in Jackson Hole. When it was torn down and replaced by the initial version of the Jackson Lake Lodge, some of the buildings were moved to Leek’s Lodge at Colter Bay. The vehicle was manufactured by White Motor Co. White motor stages were used to transport visitors to the parks. On Togwotee Pass they carried tire chains.

Story by Don M Ricks . Photos. Wyoming Tales and Trails. 

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