By Luke Anderson
July 28, 2015
This collection of buildings on the Rule Ranch, formerly the Fowler Ranch, includes a two-story house, a main barn, a loafing barn, and a tenant/storage building. The ranch is located near Banner, Wyoming. Little is known about the early history of the ranch and the buildings, but the distinct stone construction makes this property architecturally and historically significant.
The house and barns were most likely constructed around 1908, although exact dates are still unknown. The tenant/storage barn has a stone inscription that indicates completion of that structure happened in 1918. A small addition to the house occurred in the 1960s. The buildings are in decent shape for their age, as much of the damage and deterioration is simply a result of materials having exceeded their expected lifespans. The stones are in very good condition. They were mined locally which makes the buildings particularly invested in both the physical and cultural nature of the area.
The house exhibits noticeably different stone construction than the barns and tenant/storage building. The stones in the house walls are cut and regularly coursed, whereas the stones in the barns are rougher and fit more of a rubble-type construction. The difference might be due to the different anticipated functions of the buildings or simply because the structures were built at different times.
The buildings at the Rule Ranch are good examples of the type of stone construction that was popular in that area in the early 20th century. For example, there are similar buildings of the same construction at the Ucross Ranch, just a few miles away from the Rule Ranch. Despite the lack of historical information about the ranch itself, the buildings are noteworthy because of their embedment in the patterns of Wyoming homestead history, and the fact that they are still standing is a testament to the fine craftsmanship of their original builders.
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