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Ainsworth House



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Nestled among a grove of tall cottonwoods on the west bank of the Crooked Creek drainage, the Ainsworth House was one of the first permanent habitations established in the Bighorn Basin. Frank S. Ainsworth recorded his first impressions of the Ten Sleep region in 1880: ''I kept on moving down the Big Horn and trapping as I went until I reached the junction of the Nowood...then I worked my way up the Nowood Valley...this valley pleased me more than any other place I had ever been. It was a game paradise. Buffalo roamed over the valley by the hundreds''. The numerous bison trails leading over the nearby Bighorn Mountains gave a name, Big Trails, to the dispersed ranching community which Ainsworth played a role in founding.

In 1884 Ainsworth placed a notched log frame on a squatters right claim along the Crooked Creek bank. In the late Spring of 1885 Ainsworth and his wife arrived on the property and settled down to founding the ranch. The Ainsworth House consists of two separate, but abutting buildings. The smaller of the two buildings, constructed in 1886, is a single story wood clad and framed structure. Outside of the frame cladding are portions of additional wall extensions. This extension was added after the winter of 1887-8. Adjoining the frame structure is a substantial one and one-half story log house. This structure was constructed in two phases. The first story was added in 1890. The second phase of construction on this structure was initiated in 1911 when a ''half'' story was added. The simple vernacular home set among the hay fields and adjacent to the deeply banked Crooked Creek drainage epitomizes the small owner-operator spreads that became prevalent and continue into the present as viable adaptations to the natural environment. Ranchers like Ainsworth set the dominant pattern of land use for the stockraising community of twentieth century Wyoming.



Date Added to Register:
Thursday, September 11, 1986
Spring Creek Road
Washakie County
Smithsonian Number: