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DC Bar Dude Ranch

Page history last edited by Clint Gilchrist 9 years ago

History of the DC Bar Dude Ranch

Judi Myers

July, 1999

 

Cita Jones was, in her daughter's words, a fourteen-year-old rebel and budding debutante when she and three other teenage girls arrived in Wyoming. Their destination was Jack Dew's new dude ranch in the Upper Green River Valley. It was 1926. Jack was only 25 and his youngest brother Ted, acting as guide, was 23. Cita's long train ride from Philadelphia ended in Rock Springs and then came the car ride north. "It had been raining cats and dogs and of course the roads were all dirt back then," said Cita's daughter Peyton. "The vehicle that brought Mummy up sunk and stuck just as it got to the Hill brothers' ranch near Kendall." Richard 'Dick' Dew, Jack's older brother, came out to help and met Cita, the woman he would marry seven years later.

 

Eventually the four teenage girls arrived at the original base camp on Rock Creek. This staging area for Jack Dew's "Girls' Pack Trip Camp" was his brother Pat's homestead. With little delay the girls were taken on a forty-day pack trip into the Wind River Mountains. The idea was a success and Jack booked more girls for the next year. As Jack's nephew, Bob Dew said, "This was strictly a camping operation. The girls pack trip put 'em in business 'cause there wasn't any money. (The five Dew brothers) were all just scratching for a living at the time."

 

Jack moved his headquarters from the temporary camp on Rock Creek to his brother, Frank Dew's, homestead on Wagonfeur Creek. Working together, Jack, Frank and Ted began building cabins in the spring of 1927. The cabin logs were prepared, foundation stones laid and then it only took Frank and Ted about a week to put up a solid cabin.

 

Someone asked Jack once why they didn't do something different, but Jack said, "Hell, they'll last as long as we'll need 'em" and they did. Sometimes it was touch and go to get the cabins done before the dudes arrived. Ted's son again remembers, "My dad said they'd be sweeping the chips out of the door just as the bus with dudes came over the bill. Close timing, but it worked."

 

In May, 1928, Jack married Anne Christensen, a Philadelphia dudeen. The DC Bar is named for Dew-Christensen. Jack and Anne purchased the land from Frank and his wife, Betty, in May, 1930. The DC Bar was specializing in month-long ladies' camp trips into the Wind River Mountains. The dudes were also entertained with Sunday rodeos, brandings, dances and picnics.

 

Ted Dew never owned the DC Bar, but he worked there with his brothers from the beginning. Earning $40/ month plus room and board, he was the only person who was at the DC Bar from start to finish. He took out pack trips, built cabins, cooked, and was head honcho wrangler. Old timers agree that the Dew brothers knew how to work. "When (the DC Bar) closed down in the fall," said Ted's son, "dad'd ride herd on the place. Shovel snow off the roofs and such." Ted also ran a trap line to earn cash. After Ted married Elizabeth "Dibs" in November, 1937, she wintered with him.

 

Ted and Dibs's now roofless cabin is still standing. It can be identified by the hole in the middle of the floor. Their daughter Anne said, "I was born in 1939 and my earliest memories are of the DC Bar. I had a tricycle and there was a root cellar in the middle of the floor of our cabin. I was cautioned many times about riding my trike by that cellar door".

 

In October, 1934 Jack and Anne sold the DC Bar to his brother, Dick, and wife, Cita.

 

Dick and Cita's first child, George, was born in 1935. Edna Howey Swain was George's nurse the summer of 1936. Another babysitter was Audrey Skinner Moritz. She was taking caring of little George in June, 1939, when she went into premature labor. Dick drove out to get help, Ted delivered the tiny, four-pound baby, and Cita assisted. When Dr. Booth arrived he did what he could and then left. Audrey and her husband Herb went to town several weeks later to pay the bill. Audrey remembers, "Herb went in and Doc said, 'Well, the baby died, didn't it?' And Herb said, 'NO, she didn't!' I had to bring the baby into the office so Doe could see her.

 

One of the cabins still standing, although roofless, is the Office/Commissary. Edna Swain said they sold gum, candy, cigarettes, magazines, and knick knacks that the dudes liked. Old-timers also remember the bathhouse at the DC Bar. Edna said, "It was down under the hill and built right over a spring. You had to sign up to use it. There was a list. Never any squabbles." Water from Wagenfeur Creek was dipped into a large copper bucket that sat on a wood stove. When the water was hot, it was put into the bathtub. If it was too hot, cold creek water could be dipped straight from the stream that ran under the tub. When you were done, you would just pull the drain plug and let it return to the creek.

 

In 1941 the war was causing business to drop off. Dick and Ted turned to cattle ranching and the dude business was closed. Ted's daughter, Anne, was 2 or 3 when they packed up their things. "1 remember when we moved by team and wagon. There's a hill on the way with a panoramic view of the valley. As little as I was I remember seeing that view from the front of the wagon and thinking how big that hill was."

 

Dick kept the DC Bar for pasture land, but 35 or so buildings sat unused. He gave away several of the cabins and they are scattered throughout the county.

 

In 1964 Ted and Dibs got a 40 acre corner of the DC Bar that their children, Ted and Anne, now own. Dick and Cita, with their two college age children, Rick and Peyton, moved back to the DC Bar after selling their ranch, the 0 Bar Y. Peyton remembers camping out while "Daddy and Rick fixed up the roof of the old dining room. It was idyllic."

 

That fall, Dick and Rick put up a kit log house on the property. The roof didn't have enough pitch to shed almost nine feet of snow. It buckled and scrunched the walls out. The next summer they straightened it backup with a chain and jack. Steel tie logs still hold it together.

 

In October, 1968 Dick and Cita transferred the DC Bar to Richard and Peyton. Tim Singewald obtained the Bridger Wilderness Outfitters license in 1983 and took an option to buy the DC Bar in 1985. The deed was transferred in 1988.

 

Tim is slowly renovating the old cabins that are left. The DC Bar still has no electricity or telephones. Lanterns are, as before, used for light. Dudes, now called 'clients', no longer stay for month-long pack trips. But if they come for peaceful quiet, rustling aspens, cool mountain air and an adventure.., it's still there.

 

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