Love Ranch Homestead

By Luke Anderson

August 11, 2015

The buildings on the Love Ranch Homestead were constructed by John David Love in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His son Dr. J. Davis Love grew up on the homestead and went on to become an important geologist in Wyoming. 

The homestead features several different structures, most of which are either collapsed or currently falling down. The buildings were all built with local timber or with salvaged structures from nearby stations. The living room of the main cabin was once the dining room of the hotel at the Old Muskrat outpost. The timbers used for new construction were imported by wagon from the Wind River mountain range 100 miles from the homestead.

Love Ranch, Fremont County, Wyoming

The roof of the cabin is of particular interest because it was a new type that was introduced to the region by John David Love. It consisted of several layers that began with conventional rafters with ceiling board, followed by hundreds of two-inch poles covered in canvas, topped with a layer of clay. The topmost layer was corrugated sheet iron that was coated with black asphaltum. The elaborate roof kept the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

None of the buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are in significant states of disrepair; however, these buildings are highly culturally and architecturally important. Dr. J. Davis Love went on to become a noteworthy individual in Wyoming history, especially in Fremont County. Nobody went through the area without stopping at Love Ranch. Architecturally, the structures at Love Ranch illustrate early methods of sustainable design, evidenced by the elaborate roof that regulated temperature in the cabin as well as John David’s recycling of existing structures from the region. The use of local timbers creates a physical bond between the homestead and the geography of the state of Wyoming.

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This project was funded in part by a Historic Architecture Assistance Fund grant, and completed by Dubbe Moulder Architects. The program is offered by the Alliance for Historic Wyoming in partnership with Wyoming Main Street and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office, and is made possible by a grant from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.