10 Fun Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Jackson, Wyoming
Most people have heard of Jackson Hole, but we bet not all of them know the fun facts, historical idiosyncrasies, and roles the town has played in popular culture. Jackson Hole is a little town with a Wild West (and progressive) personality. The 42-mile long, 7-mile wide valley in northwest Wyoming was not permanently settled until the 1890s, but today the town draws millions of visitors from around the world for its national parks, winter sports, wilderness areas, food, art and more. While Jackson Hole is spectacular, it has a very unique history, and that history has its own personality.
1. What’s in a Name?
The town of Jackson was named in late 1893 by Margaret Simpson, who, at the time, was receiving random mail at her home as there was no post office. She named the town in order for easterners to be able to forward mail west. Jackson, which became incorporated in 1914, is named after mountain man Davey Jackson, who trapped in the area during the late 1800’s. Side note: “Hole” was a term used in that day to describe a high mountain valley.
2. Get Wild
With more than 60 species of mammals, 100 species of birds and a half-dozen game fish living in the Jackson Hole/Yellowstone area, it’s no wonder they call it the wild west. Most notable are big game such as elk, moose, bison, deer, antelope, mountain lion, grizzly and black bears and coyote; rare birds such as the bald eagle, trumpeter swan, blue heron and osprey; and native game fish such as the Snake River cutthroat trout and mackinaw lake trout.
3. Rockefeller Protected
Grand Teton National Park was created in 1929 and greatly expanded in 1950 due to the determined efforts of John D. Rockefeller, who purchased and then donated a great deal of the land that is under protection today.
4. Elk Vacation
The National Elk Refuge, located just outside of Jackson Hole, is the largest established elk preserve in North America. Up to 9,000 elk take their winter vacation on the refuge, and visitors can catch a close-up glimpse on daily sleigh rides from December through April.
5. Wyoming = Equality
The town of Jackson elected the first all-female town council in 1920. Wyoming was also the first state in the country to allow women the right to vote, serve on juries, and hold public office. This is why Wyoming is known as the “Equality State”!
6. Movie Magic
Many feature films have been made on location in Jackson Hole including: “Shane,” “Rocky IV,” “Django Unchained,” and “Any Which Way You Can”, just to name a few. Also, John Wayne’s first speaking part was in “The Big Trail”, which was filmed in Jackson Hole in 1932. It’s rumored that this was the first time he ever rode a horse.
7. Room to Breathe
Among all 50 U.S. states, Wyoming ranks ninth in size and 50th in population with only five people per square mile. That leaves a lot of room for exploring in the fresh air.
8. Cosmic Photography
The US Voyager II spacecraft, which was launched in 1977, contained an Ansel Adams photograph of Jackson Hole as part of its artifacts cargo. After making encounters with Uranus and Neptune, Voyager 2 became the fourth of five spacecraft to achieve the Solar escape velocity, which will allow it to leave the Solar System.
9. Antler Shopping Anyone?
The world’s only public auction of elk antlers takes place on the Jackson Town Square on the third Saturday in May each year. The antlers are shed by the elk that winter on the refuge and are collected by local Boy Scouts. The majority of the auction proceeds go back to the refuge for the next year’s elk feeding program.
10. The World’s First National Park
Created in 1872, our neighboring Yellowstone was the world’s first national park, opening 18 years before Wyoming even became a state.
Seek New Adventures
One other Jackson Fact, because we get asked this a lot. Is it Jackson or Jackson Hole? We know it can be confusing. Jackson Hole is the entire area – it is a valley at the base of the Teton Mountain Range. Within Jackson Hole is the main town of Jackson, famous for its Town Square that has four elk antler arches large enough for five people to walk (and pose for iconic photos) under. The only way to get to know Jackson Hole a little bit better is to visit this remarkable place and its many attractions.