"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Monday, June 15, 2015

A Sign From Above Must Have Brought Us to Sheridan, Wyoming




Well, that's a bit dramatic, but it fits this picture of a very unusual eastern sky (a reverse sunset - the sun was setting on the opposite horizon) over the RV Park where we stayed while in Sheridan: Peter D's. That's their sign for the park.



It's a place I'd recommend highly, run by the nicest owners we've ever met. Peter and Barbara demonstrate the kind of integrity and people skills you hope to find at every RV park, but rarely do. Their place is spotless, well run, homey, convenient, and they are always available to make something right if it isn't.  



The park is on the edge of town, surrounded by quiet, pastoral green hillsides. I hope these pictures and our highest praise will bring lots of people to their happy little spot in Wyoming.

Sheridan is a smallish city of about 18,000. It's close enough to the Big Horn Mountains, and Big Horn Canyon for outdoor adventures. It has many interesting and historical points of interest, plus all the practical and fun shopping you might want to do in a thriving downtown.  A few deserve special mention: Sackett's Market - a real old fashioned, quality butcher shop; two great shoe stores - Foot of the Big Horns and Brian's Boot & Shoe Company; and the daddy of them all, King's Saddlery.



OMG, hold on to your wallet. Not only does this place have an incredible selection of western wear and accessories, but it also has the very best fancy rodeo gear anywhere.  This is the kind of stuff you don't see very often, even out here in cowboy/girl country. Seriously, look at those spurs and chaps.



And for those who are more practically minded, there is a huge selection of fine riding tackle including saddles, (new and used),  blankets, bridles, bits and who knows what else...



...plus ROPES.  This is the home of King's Ropes. Who knew there were so many kinds of ropes! I thought places like the Big R and Tractor Supply had a lot of rope. Nope.  



Now if you aren't overwhelmed with all that, even if you're broke from buying too much rope, head on back to the museum, one of the very best we've been to, and I don't mean just the best saddle museum, I mean best museum period. (Right up there with the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.) It really helped that we had just watched an episode of How It's Made TV about saddles. Layers upon layers of shaped leather go on top of wood and even metal form layers, topped off with carved detail finish work and cushioned shearling underneath, even on the basic saddles. So just imagine the work that goes into the Championship Saddles that are the rodeo trophies, some of which were on display here. We were duly impressed.

It's called the Don King Museum, after Don King, a master saddle maker and leather artist who lived here in Sheridan. He and his wife collected the saddles and other cowboy related artifacts displayed here. This is not an art museum per se, but it is chock-a-block full of some of the finest artwork you'll see. In fact, you may be lucky enough to meet one of the artists, James F. Jackson, whose workshop is in the museum.



We had no real idea of how leather was carved. The artistry that goes into this kind of fine leather working is so elegant and amazingly detailed. These are examples of Mr. Jackson's belt patterns. (Special order only.)  I think Rick may be getting one for Christmas, but don't tell.



These are leather carving tools made by Don King. Mr. Jackson says Don King was the master at making leather tools, which were and still are in very high demand.

Leather tools made by Don King

On display are examples of sketches made by Don King and other leather master craftsmen and women such as Al and Ann Stohlman. 



This is the workbench of Al Stohlman, a master leather artist who was a formative contributor to the Tandy Leather line of tools and leather patterns. He made all the wooden pictures on the workbench in patterns that he also made in leather.  His wife Ann was a leather artist as well, and some of her unique saddles are on display.



So even if you aren't a horse person of any sort, I think you'll be amazed at the quality of this collection of saddles and leather art (as well as some pretty interesting taxidermy).

We aren't horse people either of course, or even history buffs necessarily, but we enjoyed a couple of other historical points of interest in Sheridan. The first is The Historic Sheridan Inn. The dancing couple out front caught our eyes.





The Sheridan Inn just reopened after being non-functional for about 50 years. We felt really fortunate to be able to see it inside and out. It has 69 gables!  



Anyone can go in and look around the bottom floor, where you'll find the stunning Buffalo Bill's Bar, named after Buffalo Bill (aka William F. Cody) who actually lived here and managed the hotel for awhile. 



The smaller dining room....



The required buffalo head... Perhaps one of the hundreds that good ol' Buffalo Bill shot.



The Inn is a fully functioning hotel, restaurant, bar and special event location in addition to being a very impressive restoration and historical landmark.  

Spring is in full bloom here in Sheridan, and the peonies are popping in everyone's yards. Sheridan has received plenty of rain (and a few floods) this season, so everything is lush and green.  These beautiful peonies were in Trail End's yard, another historical location in town.



Trail End, or the "Kendrick Mansion" was built by John Kendrick, former governor, U.S. and state senator of Wyoming. 



We don't visit history museums that often, but we do like to visit historical homes. They give you a perspective of history that is grounded in every day life rather than facts and dates.  Trail End is in it's original state, as it was well taken care of by the Kendricks family even though they lived here for only a short time.  Almost all the furnishings and decor are original, with only a few replacements matching the originals.



All three floors are accessible to visitors.



The master bedroom, as it might have looked with the family living there.



The staircase to the third floor, doubling as library and family gallery.



The entire third floor was a ballroom with exquisite wooden floors and a little balcony for the musicians. What a cool (well, maybe hot) place to have a contra dance, or more likely a square dance or fancy dress ball. 

The stairs looking down three stories. 

We really liked Sheridan Wyoming a lot. It even had a big dog park with shade, water, picnic tables and grass, that Honey liked a lot too. 


5 comments:

  1. What a beautiful place! And I am a horse person so I would love to visit there!

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    1. You would surely love King's. A horse person's dream.

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  2. Well, well, well! Looks like there is plenty of interesting and beautiful things to see in Sheridan. I imagine we'll spend at least a day visiting during our month-long stay in Buffalo, WY later this summer! Gorgeous shots!

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    1. Oh yes, and there are brew pubs there too!

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  3. We stayed in Sheridan in June and stayed at Peter D's; great RV park, the people are wonderful it is like staying in a nice little town! They love dogs and the whole family was at home. Was kept very neat and clean and people were extremely nice, the horses came down to visit, very relaxing park. We plan to visit again soon!

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