(Dubois, WY) – County 10 recently drove by the building that sits on the corner of Ramshorn and Horse Creek in Dubois and became intrigued by the many visible layers being peeled away from its exterior.
Curiosity got the best of us so we reached out to the Town of Dubois and learned it is destined to become town parking. Asbestos abatement funded by a WDEQ grant was recently completed, and once it’s certified “clean” the building will be demolished.
Wanting to know a little more about its history, Dubois Town Clerk Sandy Hust shared the previous owners are Rosey and Darrell Graff, who operated Wind River Meats there for many years. She also recommended we connect with the Dubois Museum for even more building history.
The Dubois Museum graciously tracked down some history from the, now out of print, book Dubois Area History by Mary Allison and shared the following info.
The building dates back to 1902 when it was the Dubois Club Bar. Which was built and operated by Bert Caldwell and Kay Clark until 1909 when their liquor license expired.
After that, it served as a jail. “One unfortunate prisoner drowned in the jail the night of the big flood in August of 1919,” the Dubois Museum shared. “Ten other documented people died in the flood of 1919. This building was not washed out, but certainly had massive amounts of hail and water damage.”
During Prohibition – 1920 to 1933 – Slim Powell sold booze out of the building.
Once it was legal to buy and sell alcohol again, W.H. Appleman obtained a liquor license and opened the Log Cabin Saloon in 1933.
Finally, in the late 1940s, the building began to transition to what would be its final use.
In 1947, Roy Rhoads transformed the building into cold storage. It was a smaller operation with only one freezer, one cooler, and a small skinning area.
Nine years later in 1956, B.T. Killion took over and expanded production. He added a processing room, extra skinning area, ice machines, a smokehouse, a rebuilt hide pit, and an outbuilding.
Lee Sterner was the next owner beginning in 1982.
And finally, the Graff family turned it into Wind River Meats in 1994. It was remodeled around 2010, and a decade later the Town of Dubois is the building’s final owner. Learn more about the purchase in the Town Council minutes.
Thank you to the Dubois Museum for providing the photo and building history from Mary Allison’s book!
UPDATE: County 10 was alerted that in this history of the building we missed the owner between Lee Sterner and the Graff family. Here’s what our reader shared about that portion of the building history:
Dennis & Minnie Appelhans bought the Dubois Cold Storage from Sterners in 1991. They are the ones who turned it into Wind River Meats, performing a major remodel and expansion and elevating the domestic processing business to include developing and selling customized products to local dude ranches, the Cowboy Cafe, Never Sweat BBQ, Old Yellowstone Garage, Bubba’s, Jackson Hole Meats, Mr. D’s, and many others. They served a wide local customer base and garnered much acclaim, bringing home annual awards from state- and region- wide competitions. – Dustee Martinet