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Beaver Creek Ranch


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The Beaver Creek Ranch represents the twentieth-century sheep raising industry in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. It was continually occupied from 1916 through 1994 and represents the typical sheep raising practices of the times, including transhumance, the seasonal cycle of trailing sheep to high mountain pastures in the summer and back to lower elevations in the winter. Brothers Jesse and Alvin Schoonover, raising sheep on neighboring ranches, were among the most successful stockmen in Johnson County and the Powder River Basin. The name Beaver Creek is the historic name of the ranch and served to differentiate it from Alvin Schoonover’s neighboring ranch on the Powder River. From 1951 to 1994, the ranch was owned by the Harriet family; Simon Harriet was a Basque sheepherder and represents the second phase of the ranch’s history. During the Harriets’ tenure, small numbers of cattle were also raised, but the ranch was always predominantly a sheep raising operation and at times led Johnson County in the size of its flocks. The ranch complex consists of a grouping of residence-related and agriculture-related buildings, all constructed between 1916 and the 1950s. The buildings are generally of modest wood frame construction, representing mass vernacular architecture (as opposed to architect-designed), typical of a Wyoming sheep ranch. The ranch complex also represents a typical ranching layout that includes a sheep shearing shed with numerous historic graffiti from ranch hands, and a series of fencelines and corrals for the management of livestock surrounding the buildings.



Date Added to Register:
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
SE of Buffalo
Johnson County
Smithsonian Number: