#Lookback: Mike and Irene Guilford 

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.

L.D. “Mike” Guilford married Irene Lacy in 1933 in Fort Collins, Colorado after graduating from Riverton High School. Mike and Irene moved back to Dubois later that year, where Irene had grown up. Mike proved to be quite the businessman and was always looking to improve quality of life for residents and provide an excellent experience to visitors of Dubois. 

Mike was a partner in the Dubois Drug Store from 1933 until 1934. The drug store was opened in 1932 by J.E. Crilly, and was located across the street from the Dubois Mercantile. The drug store had a soda fountain, lunch room, and sold various drugs and toiletries. Crilly was a registered pharmacist and could fill prescriptions but packed up and left Dubois two years after opening his store. The drug store passed to Mike, who owned the business in 1934 and sold it in 1935 to his mother-in-law, Marge Lacy, who eventually sold the business. The Dubois Drug Store ended up back in the Lacy family after World War II when Jack and Eva Lacy Harris purchased it. 

In 1935, Mike and Bob Harter purchased a building in downtown Dubois that was built in 1919 and was first operated as a pool hall and later the Hiway Cafe and Pool Hall with a rooming house upstairs. Mike and Bob established it as a bar, the Rustic Pine Tavern, remodeling the interior with diseased wood from Fish Creek to construct a bar and booths. Bob and Mike also worked in the bar. According to Dubois Area History by Mary Allison, “the men were charming hosts. Harter liked to tell stories and Guilford was your typical barman who rarely forgot a face or a name. The Tavern was definitely the place to go and ‘Bob and Mike will treat you right’ was an appropriate slogan.” 

The Rustic Pine Tavern had a gambling room with slot machines, craps, and blackjack accompanied by live music every night except for Sunday. In 1938 and 1939, ‘Danceland’ at the tavern was under construction and the dancefloor was packed with visitors dancing under the stars until the building was completed. Danceland also served as the only large room in Dubois at the time and was used for many events like fundraisers, parties, and meetings for local organizations. Harter and Guilford dissolved their partnership when Guilford purchased the Branding Iron Bar, which was located across the bridge from the tavern.

Mike purchased the Branding Iron Bar and Dance Hall in 1945 and prospered due to the popularity of gambling. The bar was built in 1934 by Ernest Stringer. Unfortunately, the bar burned down in 1948 due to a wood stove mishap. Although the bar was completely gone, the other part of the building, the dance hall, was spared by the fire and was turned into the new bar. Mike sold the business in 1953. Mike continued the ‘Branding Iron’ brand in 1948 with the construction of the Branding Iron Motel. The Motel had 18 units and Mike and Irene operated it for about six years before selling the business and moving to Riverton. 

Next up for the Fremont County Museum

July 23, 1-2;30pm at Pioneer Museum “Family Name Plates” Bailey Tire/Pit Stop Children’s Exploration Series

July 27, 7-9pm “Music at the Museum: Jan Marrou” at the Dubois Museum 

July 29, 8-6pm “Simpson Lake Lodge Adventure Trek” at the Dubois Museum Wind River Visitors Council Discovery Speakers Series

July 30, 8pm at the Dubois Museum “Astronomy of the Summer Sky” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series.

August 2, 8-2pm with the Dubois Museum “Brooks Lake Lodge Ranch Trek” Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

August 2, 7-9pm at the Dubois Museum “Music at the Museum: Packin the Mail”

August 5, 9-5pm at the Dubois Museum, Pioneer Museum & Riverton Museum “First Fridays” State Farm Lander/State Farm Riverton

August 5, 7pm at the Dubois Museum, “The Wild Country and the Homesteaders of WY” Wyoming Community Bank Discovery Speakers Series

August 6, 10am with the Pioneer Museum, “Shoshone Mission Trek” Wind River Visitors Council Adventure Trek Series

Thru October 2022, 9-5pm Monday-Saturday, at the Pioneer Museum, “Hurrah for The Cowboy: Men of the Open Range” Art Exhibition

The Dubois Museum, the Pioneer Museum in Lander and the Riverton Museum need your financial support.  In the current economic environment, the museums are more reliant than ever on donations from the private sector to continue to provide the quality programs, collections management, exhibits and services that have become their hallmark over the last four years.  Please make your 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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