Cultural History

The cultural history of the Grand Teton is rich with detail and dates back thousands of years. Owing to the natural beauty as well as the abundance of wild life and natural resources in the region, humans have been drawn to the Teton Range and the Jackson Hole Valley for hundreds of years.

It all started when the last of the ice age glaciers retreated from the Jackson Hole and nomad Paleo-Indians entered the valley. They hunted in the forests, fished the lakes and streams and harvested the fruits and berries from the forest. John Colter was perhaps the first Euro American explorer to arrive at the Jackson Hole, and since then the valley was inhabited by a stream of visitors, most of whom came here for the wealth and natural resources such as fur in the region.

By late 1800s, homesteaders arrived in the valley and emerged as its first year round residents. Conditions for survival were difficult, with the cold and harsh winters and dry summers which made it hard to grow crops and ranch carrel. When wealthy easterners came to the west in early 1900s, it was then that the golden age of ‘Dude Ranching’ truly arrived to Wyoming, and cabins, gas stations, billboards and race tracks sprung themselves in the valley.
Local ranchers wanted to preserve the characteristic beauty of the valley and finally in 1926, John D. Rockefeller started purchased the land privately with the intent of donating it to the government later on to become a part of the Grand Teton National Park.

In 1950, the original park land, Rockefeller’s lands and the remaining federal land termed as the ‘Jackson Hole National Monument’ were merged together to establish what we know as the Grand Teton National Park today. The majestic land has inspired and intrigued people for centuries and the historic buildings and captivating sites dotting its borders make the entire region all the more alluring and inviting for nature lovers and historic enthusiasts from all around the world.