By Carly-Ann Anderson
January 29, 2016
Sky Ranch is a 13-acre vacation property approximately 3 miles west of Moose, Wyoming, in Grand Teton National Park. Built in 1953, the property consists of a main cabin, a guest house, bathhouse, bunk house, a barn, and a corral. The natural landscape of the property is notable, and includes a pond, a lawn with a patio and barbeque area, access roads and walking paths, as well as original gates and fences all set against in the beautiful Snake River valley, between the Teton and Gros Ventre ranges.
Sky Ranch was built by William Balderston II and his family. Balderston first came from Philadelphia to the Tetons to work on the Jackson Lake dam in 1914, and is said to have noted “I will never forget my first view of the magnificent Teton Range as we made our way up the valley in wagons [from Victor, Idaho].” Balderston went on to have a successful business career, but kept his vow to return to the Tetons. In 1952, he persuaded fellow Philadelphian Frank Galey, owner of the White Grass Ranch (home today to the Western Center for Historic Preservation) where the Balderstons often vacationed, to sell him 5 acres for Sky Ranch.
Balderston hired noted Philadelphia architect John Arnold Bower to design the property in a Rustic style prevalent in the Jackson Hole area. A local Norwegian contractor and crew crafted the buildings to look like pioneer structures. The building is integrated well with its setting and used locally cut logs and collected stone. The interior of the main lodge features exposed log walls, wood floors, stone fire places, custom knotty pine doors, knotty pine paneling and wrought iron hardware. The family also furnished the house with Rustic furniture, much of which remains on the property.
The Balderston family used this property until 2005 when their long-term lease with the National Park Service expired and the property was turned over to Grand Teton National Park to manage. A group of American Studies Historic Preservation students from the University of Wyoming, led by Research Scientist Mary Humstone, investigated the Sky Ranch property and determined it was eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places both for its architectural and historic significance.
Today, Sky Ranch remains in remarkably good condition and its features have been well preserved.
However, the National Park Service (NPS) proposes demolishing the National-Register eligible Sky Ranch – WE DISAGREE!
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