The Sommers Homestead
National Historic Place
The Sommers Ranch Homestead was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. The Sommers Ranch is representative of a modest turn of the century Wyoming family ranch where the rancher relied on the timber from the surrounding mountains to build at least eleven of the vernacular buildings: house, meat house, cellar, garage, outhouse, cow barn, granary, bunkhouse, icehouse, barn, chicken house. These buildings demonstrate what a family ranch in the isolated Green River Valley required to be self-sufficient. The logs used for the homestead house were floated down the river and used by John Morison, a neighbor to the north, to build a house next to the river in 1908. On November 7, 1910, Harry Atwood and his crew began to move the house to its present location with a team of six horses. It took a little over a week to move it a quarter of a mile by pulling it over logs. Mrs. Knott, the ranch cook, continued to cook in the house as it was moved.
The Sommers Ranch Homestead buildings and an easement on the land under the buildings have been donated to the Sublette County Historical Society. The Sublette County Historical Society operates the Sommers Ranch Homestead Living History Museum, with open hours for the public on Fridays and Saturdays during the June through August period. Several local communities bring students to the Sommers Homestead for hands-on experiences in homestead era culture. Independent tours can also be arranged by contacting the Museum of the Mountain Man in Pinedale. http://museumofthemountainman.com/programs/sommers-ranch/
Ranchers from the Upper Green River Cattle Association (the Association) continue to use the “Drift”, established by 1896, to herd their cattle from the general area of the Little Colorado Desert north to summer grazing in the Bridger Teton National Forest, where they run in a common allotment. The Upper Green River Allotment on the Bridger-Teton National Forest is immense in size. The allotment is permitted to graze over 7500 cattle, making it the largest allotment in the National Forest System. In November 2013, the Green River Drift Trail in Sublette County, Wyoming, was listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) as a Traditional Cultural Property (TCP). The Drift is representative of a rural community’s land use patterns and reflects the local ranchers’ traditional occupational culture, including shared practices, customs and beliefs. It is the oldest continually used stock drive in Wyoming and is also one of the only remaining cattle drift trails still in use in the same manner in which it was originally developed. Moreover, the Drift is the first listed TCP in the nation to recognize a traditional culture rooted in a shared occupation – ranching – rather than in ethnicity and/or religious belief. The Sommers Ranch is a member of the Association, and has been since its inception in 1916. The Sommers Family has moved cattle along this trail since around 1900. For more history of the “Drift” see http://www.greenriverdrift.org/drifthistory.htm