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A series where we take a #lookback at the stories and history of our community, brought to you by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Maxwell’s Saddle Shop

While many parts of this nation do not consider a 129-year-old building old, it is practically ancient for a town that was only founded 105 years ago. Dubois, Wyoming was incorporated in 1914, but many of its buildings and residents had been there since the late 1800s. Most of the buildings that existed before the turn of the 20th century are gone; those that still stand do so only slightly, with caved-in roofs and leaning walls. What has not fallen down yet has been so renovated and changed to modern tastes that their homestead roots are only remembered in pictures.

The Dubois Museum and Wind River Historical Center take care of eight historic cabins on its property. All of these buildings are in their original forms and contain authentic artifacts that help tell each one’s individual stories. Included in this building collection is Maxwell’s Saddle Shop. No one at the Museum actually knows who this Maxwell character was, except that he was a saddle maker who set up shop in the 1890s in Dubois. Maxwell provided horse tack and supplies for the dude and working ranches in the Dubois area. The Saddle Shop also contains a collection of leatherworking tools and shoemaking tools. Maxwell, as a gift saddle maker, no doubt used his skills to provide shoes, bags, and other leather goods to Upper Wind River Valley residents.

The cabin itself is unique because the logs that make up the structure are round on the inside and squared off on the outside. It has two doors, one on the west side and one on the south side. A group of Museum volunteers moved the structure to the Museum’s property in 1979 from a location behind what is today Nostalgia Bistro. It received new chinking and a new coating of log preservative when it first came to the Museum. Unfortunately, wooden structures built in the 1890s were not made to last 130 years, and the saddle shop required another facelift during spring 2019. This facelift was more intense than the previous one, and all the artifacts held inside the saddle shop were removed as the roof was redone, two rotted logs were replaced, and a security wall was installed.

Maxwell’s Saddle Shop is back and opens for business at the Dubois Museum, just in time for Museum Day 2019. The equipment displayed in the Saddle Shop reflects just a small gathering of horse gear used in this part of the American West. From chaps worn by the working cowboys rounding up stock in thick brush to the sidesaddles women used when riding astride was considered unladylike, the Saddle Shop has examples from multiple decades.

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

July 27th, 9 am at the Riverton Museum, “Castle Gardens Adventure Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

August 10th, 2 pm at the Riverton Museum, “Super Hero Cuffs”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

August 13th, 7 pm at the Dubois Museum, “Downtown Dubois Adventure Trek”

Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support. In the current economic environment, the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years. Please make your tax-deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support.