Soak Up American History At Jackson Hole

Soak Up American History At Jackson Hole

When you hear the name of Jackson Hole, WY, you probably imagine a picturesque area¬†well-known for its ski resorts. But Jackson Hole is so much more than a one-season town. It’s a location that’s rich in history and a part of the fabric of American history. There’s so much more to see and do here than simply come for the powder. Visiting during the warmer months rewards you with the beauty of the Rockies in all of its green glory and snow capped peaks. Here are some of the things you should know about the history of Jackson Hole.

The Natural Bounty of Jackson Hole

Image via Flickr by Larry Johnson

Native American tribes used to spend their summers in Jackson Hole hunting the abundant wildlife in the area. The named tribes that came through were the Crow, Blackfeet, Shoshoni, Bannock, and Gros Ventre. The evidence of their habitation is well-documented through the artifacts that they left behind, but they were far from the first humans to travel through the region. Archaeologists and the like have found artifacts that date back to the prehistoric era which shows that Jackson Hole has been attracting visitors for thousands of years. Make sure to stay at one of the many hotels in the area that are near the Historical Society and Museum for an immersive experience in American history.

Lewis and Clark Expedition

The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through the area on their journey west to document the unknown areas of the Louisiana Purchase. A member of the expedition, John Colter, returned to the mountains as a scout for a fur trading company. John Colter was thought to have entered Jackson Hole in 1807-08 while headed to Crow territory. There he persuaded the tribes to trap beavers for their pelts for use in the hat-making industry.

The Mountain Men Era

Colter’s “opening” of the Jackson Hole area brought in the mountain men who trapped animals for their pelts. Jackson Hole got its name from David Jackson, one of the mountain men. John Colter spent the winter of 1829 on the shores of what is now Jackson Lake. Jackson’s partner, William Sublette, called the area Jackson’s Hole and the name has stuck ever since.

The mountain men thrived in the area until around 1845 when the fur trade in beaver pelts for hats declined in favor of silk hats. Native Americans returned to their summer hunting grounds.

The Hayden Expedition

William Henry Jackson took the first photographs of Jackson Hole which led to the creation of Yellowstone National Park, but it didn’t include Jackson Hole. It was not until 1950 when the federal government enlarged Grand Teton National Park to include Jackson Hole National Monument. The monument itself was created in 1943 as a result of pressure from John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who purchased the land to protect it from development.

There’s no bad time of year to visit Jackson Hole whether you’re looking for ski slopes or the beauty of the Rockies in the summer. Jackson Hole’s natural beauty takes the breath away in any season while you walk in the footsteps of those who came before.

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