Posted in Parks, Travels

John Jarvie Ranch

When my parents volunteered at Dinosaur National Monument, we came out for a long visit.  Our boys were younger then and we relished our first ever visit to the High Desert area of our country.  We loved exploring and learning about the dinosaurs and the archeological digs in the area, watching beaver across the Green River, and exploring all the canyons and meadows.  One of our favorite trips then was to Brown’s Park and the John Jarvie Ranch site north of Dinosaur NM on the Green River.

Since we were so close to it today, Barry agreed to drive the 20 (or maybe 45) miles to revisit the site.  Thankfully most of the road was paved, but there were several teeth-grinding unpaved miles that made him question my motives!

Rough riding!
Yes we drove down into the valley and then over a couple more miles of unpaved road to get to the ranch at the arrow point!
Replica Store / Post Office the original was built in 1881 and later destroyed by fire. Contains the original safe that was robbed the night of Jarvie’s murder.

John Jarvie was a Scotsman who built this ranch property in 1880 to serve as a store and post office for the local travelers and residents in this remote area.  He chose it for the natural river crossing here that had been used by Native Americans and fur-trappers for years.  He was the first postmaster for this area and later operated a ferry over the Green River, he was also a rancher and miner.

The original dugout home for John & his wife Nellie facing the river
The stone house measures 18′ x 20′, one room only. Built by outlaw Jack Bennet using masonry he learned in prison!

The history of the Brown’s Park area is filled with names of the famous and infamous; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid of the Wild Bunch, outlaws such as Isom Dart and Matt Warner, and “Queen” Ann and Josie Bassett…….if you like Wild West history, just look them up online!  The Wild Bunch spent quite some time in this part of Utah; there are so many canyons to hide away!

Water was a valuable resource here, they used it in the home, irrigating, and mining
Blacksmith Shop c. 1880’s, Walls of cottonwood, roof of juniper covered with dirt
Graves of 4 men who died in Brown’s Park: 2 drowned, one was stabbed and the other was shot

This corral and several other buildings were built from hand-hewn railroad ties that floated down from Green River, Wyoming. Chinese laborers were used to cut and hew timber for the new transcontinental train lines.

Old wagon wheels and antler art!

I hope you enjoyed this historic memory detour as much as I did!