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Clark's Flower Day

Page history last edited by Judi Myers 11 years, 10 months ago

Clark’s Flower Days

“The land has been made to blossom as the rose; like an oasis in the desert…nodding plumes of beauty fill the air with sweet perfume,” wrote the Roundup editor in 1912.  He’d just been to the first Flower Day at Clark’s Rustic Lodge – CL Ranch near Cora.  The original ranch partnership was between Bert Clark, Sr and Jesse Law, the likely source of the name CL Ranch.  This brand with no bar was published in the Roundup in 1905.  The current ranch is called the CL Bar Ranch.  The 1956 Brand Book shows the bar.

 

For 19 years the Bert Clarks’ invited the community to spend a day at their ranch amongst pansy, tulip, nasturtium, sweet William, wild rose, poppy & sweet peas.  “The home is surrounded with foliage…a vine-clung veranda is almost hidden by tendrils & flower baskets.  The garden has strawberries, currants, gooseberries, & cherries.”  Angeline Feltner attended the early Flower Days as a small child (she was born in 1903) and remembers, “We picked strawberries by the pail-full and ate them with ice cream.”

 

The men admired the machinery, wagon sheds, buggies & autos, canoes & sailboats, a blacksmith shop & forge and the 10 miles of ditch that came out of the Green River to furnished water for “timothy, Alsike Clover, Red Clover, alfalfa, hay, barley, oats, spelts wheat, rye and several acres of spuds.” 

 

In the spring of 1902  R.E. ‘Bert’ (Sr) & Anna May Clark homesteaded at the head of Little Duck Creek near Cora.  They had 2 sons, Bert (R.E. Jr) who married Frances ‘Honey’ DeLoney and Guy, who died in 1908.  The senior Clarks built a cabin & by Christmas, 1903 they were hosting an elaborate dinner party complete with programs, a riddle (‘What kind of noise annoys an oyster?’)(no answer recorded) and a Shaddow (sic) Dance.  A house was built onto the cabin & a tall, enclosed, wooden tower was built over the water well.  The entrance to the ranch house was marked with rustic gates “of a curious design & cunning workmanship”.  The pole fence was entwined with elk antlers.  A large lawn with pebble-lined paths, abundant foliage & a sundial greeted visitors to the annual Flower Days.  In 1914 eighty people attended.  By 1920 over 200 people came from as far away as Rock Springs, Lander & Kemmerer.

 

Ladies of the community brought a picnic basket for the dinner.  A small fee was charged (25 cents in 1913) with the proceeds going to a charity.  In 1914 it was ‘applied on the indebtedness against the Congregational parsonage.’  During WWI it was donated to the local Red Cross; in 1929 the funds went to ‘the orphans home’; in 1930 it went towards ‘the building of a community hall’ and in 1931, the last Flower Day, the proceeds went towards the improvement of the Lodge Room at the Masonic Hall.

 

Entertainment was part of Flower Day.  Victrola & piano music was heard in 1914.  Violin was added the next year.  In 1930, with almost 300 people in attendance, there was a program of readings, music, singing and ‘an inspired talk by Reverend Best’.  The next & last year there was the Pine Cone Orchestra, saxophone solos, poetry, the ‘Dancing of the Little Girls’ and a ‘sleight of hand’ show.

 

Frances (Mrs Bert Jr) Clark wrote of these times saying “we were so poor that when the wolf knocked on the door, he brought his own sandwich.”  In 1930 Dr E.S. Lauzer of Rock Springs purchased an interest in the Rustic Lodge Ranch and built a cottage there as a summer home.  He soon became sole owner.  The Lauzer’s daughter & son-in-law, the Ed Kitchens became the ranch residents.  In 1982 Karl-Erivan Haub bought the CL Bar Ranch.  Gone are the multitudinous flowers and extensive gardens.  Flower Day at the Rustic Lodge is just a memory.                                                                              By Judi Myers, 2012

 

Sources:  Pinedale Roundups: 2-2-1905, 12-30-1908, 8-15-1912, 1-23-1913, 7-24-1913, 7-23-1914, 7-30-1914, 5-06-1915, 8-26-1915, 5-18-1916, 6-1-1916, 7-19-1917, 7-8-1920, 7-22-1920, 3-15-1930, 7-24-1930, 11-6-1930, 6-4-1931, 7-16-1931, 7-23-1931, 10-1-1931.  Historical collection belonging to Vicky Biffle.  Chats with: Angeline Feltner, Harvey Norris, Dona Rae Morss, Mike Nystrom, Ruth Noble.  Seeds-Ke-Dee Reflections p.64.

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