#Lookback: Mable’s Hill

A County 10 series in partnership with the Fremont County Museum System
where we take a #Lookback at the stories and history of our community and
presented by Mick Pryor, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones.

Dubois, like many small towns, has had its share of notable inhabitants. One such person was Mabel McFarland. Born Sara Mabel McFarland on October 31, 1890, in West Franklin, Illinois, she came to Dubois with her father in 1916 at the age of 26. Mabel’s father owned the Red Rock Ranch, located east of Dubois, where he promoted and shipped wild horses to the mid-west after a roundup.

On September 4, 1931, Mabel purchased 160 acres originally homesteaded by Grant Nipper for $1100 from W.H. Dickinson. However, it was not until about 1930 that Mabel began building a tavern, gas station, and cafe on the property, naming it the Long Creek Ranch. At some point, she also added rooms for overnight accommodations to her property.

The ranch, its bar, and more importantly, its owner, were notorious. One story of Mabel recounts that four nuns once stopped at the lodge for gas. Mabel told them to settle into the bar while she filled the car’s tank. Two cowboys entered the bar shortly after and were shocked to see four nuns in habits sitting at the bar on stools. The men sheepishly mumbled hello and stood in the corner. After Mabel rang in the gas the nuns left, and without skipping a beat, she turned to the cowboys in the corner and said, “Well, what do you sons a b****** want?” Guests to the ranch also fondly remember that if you visited Long Creek Ranch on October 30 and stayed till after midnight, Mabel would suddenly appear dressed as a witch or in some other getup and exclaim, “The drinks are on the house! It’s my birthday!” She was known as a great hostess and a talented piano player who loved to entertain and was a lot of fun.

Mabel successfully ran the Long Creek Ranch for 26 years. In July of 1957, a dynamite explosion at the ranch caused $35,000 in damage, but thankfully no injuries. It was rebuilt after the dynamiting but unfortunately burned to the ground in 1958-59. It was the end of an era for locals who always enjoyed the drive out to “Mabel’s Hill”, a landmark west of town to this day.

Photo Credit: Mabel McFarland in the early 1940s in front of her Long Creek Ranch Bar, as shown in Mary Allison’s “Dubois Area History”

Next up for the Fremont County Museums

April 7th, 6 pm at the Riverton Museum “Seed Starting with the Riverton Garden Club”

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

April 17th, 2-4 pm at the Riverton Museum “Seed Starting for Children”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

April 22nd, 7 pm at the Dubois Museum “Swift Fox Ecology, Distribution and Trends” by Nichole Bjornlie, WG&F

Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

April 24th, 1-3 pm at the Pioneer Museum “Sheep Shearing Day”

Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

Joe Scheuerle Art Exhibit: “Native Americans of Wind River Country”, 9-5 Monday-Saturday, Pioneer Museum Lander Handle with Care: Art Moving

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum are seeing significantly decreased visitation this summer as a result of Covid-19. As a result, the self-generated revenue we rely so heavily on to make ends meet is not keeping pace. We are counting on private donations to continue to maintain successful and engaging museums during this time. We urge you to make a tax-deductible contribution to be used specifically for the benefit of the museum of your choosing by sending a check to Fremont County Museums 450 N 2nd Rm 320 or taking it directly to the museum you choose to support. 

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