An interesting stop in majestic Grand Teton National Park, with a short and easy hike, is the Menor's Ferry district. This includes Menor's old store and cabin, a ferry used to transport people over the Snake River, and the Maud Noble cabin.
William Menor was a homesteader who came to Jackson Hole in 1894. He constructed a cabin/general store and ran a ferry that became an important transportation point for early settlers and travelers who needed to get across the Snake River. While at times the river was easy to cross, during spring runoff and high water it could be treacherous and even impassible without using a ferry. On a side note, Menor's cabin became the departure point for the first ascent of Grand Teton in 1898.
The first building we visited was Mr. Menor's cabin and general store. A photo (below) of the cabin/store was used in last weekend's One Clue Mystery photo, showing the whitewashed structure and the distinctive peaks of the Cathedral Group, including Grand Teton, in the distance. Congratulations to Professor Abe and George G, who recognized where we were.
Menor built his original cabin in 1894 and expanded it twice, adding the east wing (general store) more than 10 years later. Today you can browse the structure which is kept in a general state of preservation as it was when Mr. Menor lived here. The store still sells a few souvenir and snack items that might be of interest to people. Below are some photos of the Menor cabin and store:
Nearby is a transportation shed which features a collection of wagons and coaches from that era. An example is shown below:
Just beyond the cabin and general store is Menor's Ferry, also built in 1894. Menor operated the ferry until 1918 when he sold it to Maud Noble, who continued to operate it until a bridge was constructed over the Snake River in 1927.
The ferry you see today is a replica of Mr. Menor's original. It's essentially a pontoon of two floats connected by a platform, a design that dates to ancient times. The ferry uses the river's current to propel it along a cable stretched across the river. The ferry's platform had room for a wagon and four-horse team. Menor charged 50 cents for a wagon and team, 25 cents for a horse and rider, but was free for pedestrians if a wagon was crossing. Maud Noble doubled the rates. Today the park service offers ferry rides during limited hours in the summer months.
The site also includes Maud Noble's cabin. Ms. Noble purchased Menor's property in 1918 and moved her cabin from Cottonwood Creek to its current location. The cabin is attractive and would become the site for a historical meeting that would eventually lead to the creation of Grand Teton National Park. In 1923 Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Horace Albright met here with a small group of local businessmen and ranchers who were concerned about the rapid development of the area. Albright went on to convince John D. Rockefeller Jr. to form the Snake River Land Company, which began purchasing land from ranchers in 1927 in order to preserve it and ultimately give it to the federal government for use in the National Park.
Maud Noble's cabin was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.
Visiting all the structures can be done in an hour to hour-and-a-half, depending on how long you want to linger at each site. It's an interesting look at some history from the western frontier.