Local historian digs up details at Library
- Photo courtesy Valerie Schramm.
- With seven books about Jackson Hole history under her belt, the impetus for Doris Platts’ most recent work, Tales of the Fall Creek Road (2012), literally knocked on her front door. The great-granddaughter of John Henry Winslow stopped by Platts’ cabin, located near Elliott Cemetery outside Wilson, to ask where the Winslow brothers’ grave might be located.
- Platts couldn’t remember, but she recalled an article from the Jackson Hole Courier’s edition from July 10, 1919 that read Winslow Brothers Murdered. The brothers’ remains were found in a cabin burned to the ground at their ranch in Red Top Meadows. As Platts writes in her latest book introduction, “After re-reading the account, I found myself unable to leave the matter aside. More and more questions kept arising.”
- Platts’ curiosity and passion for the past has made her a familiar and friendly face at Teton County Library’s Research Desk, as well as the Jackson Hole Historical Society and other valley organizations.
- She first became interested in local history, leaving a teaching job in 1974 in New Jersey. She began working on local ranches and substitute teaching. Her job guiding people on horse rides at Trail Creek Ranch led to the publication of what is still her most popular book, The Pass: Historic Teton Pass and Wilson, Wyoming (1988), which has just been reprinted and is once again available at Hungry Jack’s General Store and local bookstores.
- Platts excels at setting a historical scene in her writing and transporting her readers to the isolation of early-day Wilson, often separated from other communities by poor conditions on Teton Pass and the Snake River. She brings alive the valley’s early (and nefarious) reputation as a hideout for outlaws in her book Teton Jackson: Chief of the Horse Thieves (2007) and documents the lives of early pioneers such as Robert E. Miller and John Cherry. Her book Wolf Times: In the Jackson Hole Country, a Chronicle (1989) outlines the tense history of the relations between early settlers and wolves.
- Platts books recreate the past with hand-lettered pages, including many photo reproductions and supporting historical documents. “I like things simple. I don’t have internet, an iphone or ipad, but I don’t desire them,” says Platts.
- Platts has also been credited with being a major force for preserving and inspiring the resurrection of the Old Wagon Road that once traversed Teton Pass to reach the railway in Victor, Id. A Teton Science School and U.S. Forest Service map now provides a hiking guide to the route, highlighting sights along the way such as a carved rock highlighting the former Reed Hotel and cold-water Bucket Springs.
- A quick look at the credits of Platts’ books reveal the names of several library staff who have run the Research Desk. “Teton Jackson had four to five aliases,” says Platts. “We had some meager clues and Kurt Plagge really helped me follow the clues back to confirm the true name of his parents.”
- Over the years, Platts has also used the library’s microfiche services to read newspapers that were no longer in print; track down census reports; and place interlibrary loans for some hard-to-find materials. “One thing I get into always seems to lead to something else,” she says smiling.
- Although Platts doesn’t claim to have a new project on tap, her curiosity appears to be insatiable. On her desk is an interlibrary loan book that might help answer a few questions she has about a different valley murder.
- “I have been the most deeply interested in little Wilson, Wyoming and preserving the history of it, interested in not losing the character of this place,” says Platts. “You could never tell how much money a person had here, whether they were famous or not - you just always cared about each other and accepted one another. If you got in trouble and stuck in the snow, the next car always helped you out.”
A Special Trip to the Library
My teddy bear “Be” went everywhere with me.Example,well…examples:preschool,the library,shopping,the dentist,the park and any where else I went.Even the bathroom.Be also liked to do the things I liked including reading books,brushing his “teeth”,and even trying on clothes.I loved Be.
One day,not to long ago.Be was in the washing machine,my babysitter was reading a book,and I was doing a puzzle,but because was only 3 or 4 the puzzle looked like an experiment gone wrong.
Christi (my babysitter)looked at me and said ,“Hey,how about a check on Be?“
I took no time to answer and jumped up and ran right to the home of the washing and drying machine.(AKA, the bathroom).
when I got into the bathroom I opened up the drying machine but to my horror be was not there..
“BE GONE,BE GONE” I started shouting.Christi just came in and laughed.
“Be is in the washing machine not the drying machine you silly nut.“
I scuttled over to the other machine and with great struggle opened up the heavy lid.But it was worth it, because there looking up at me with his patched up nose and black button eyes was Be.
I grabbed him and shot back to the living room,where I started dancing and doing acrobatics with him.Then I plunked myself down on the floor and and hugged him until my arms hurt.
Finally I noticed that be was super duper wet and that he had not taken a tumble in the dryer,but I did not care.
“Hey would you like to take a trip to the library ?“Christi asked as she was putting some books in a bag and setting them by the door.
“Sure!“ I replied excitedly,still clinging on to Be.
I gathered the things I wanted to bring and headed out to the car.when Christi saw what I was bringing(which was wet Be) she almost said something but just told me to get in the car.
When we arrived at the library, I jumped out of the car and tried to race to the door way with Be.But Christi stopped me,took Be out of my arms and plopped him back down in the car.I glared a at Christi,grabbed the wet bear and skipped all the way to the library doors.
Be and I spent more than an hour coloring,reading books,and playing with the puppets.We were having a great time.I bet Be liked the library trip more than I did.
Another half hour passed and a librarian came over and started putting books away.She looked over at Be and I with a surprised look on her face and I pointed at Be and simply said…“Be”. Then I went back to coloring.
Other kids at the library started eyeing Be and I suspiciously,but we went right about our business,reading and coloring.
It was time to go,so Be and I packed up and waved good bye to the puppets and the librarians and went home.
But that was not the last library trip Be and I had.To this day we still visit weekly and find new books to read and share with each other.Be still lives with me and has become a great reader.We both enjoy the library,and think the library can be even more fun when you have a best friend with you.
This is a TRUE story.
- Posted by MaryGrace on 06/22
From the log cabin on King Street, with its stuffed trumpeter swan, to the modern facility on Virginian Lane, the Teton County Library has nurtured and assisted my writing through the decades.
Teton County Librarians support, sustain, inform, assist and facilitate my creative output through my plays, screenplays, novels, poems and polemics.
The facilities have evolved, but the core conviction of support for reading and writing makes the Teton County Library the home I return to for most of my creative inspiration.
- Posted by Andrew on 06/18
I read a lot. Two to three books a week. Year-round. Before joining TC LIBRARY, I bought a lot of them. The library allows me to read this many without the expense, but also with the chance to make mistakes. Because there are so many books at this library, I find myself trying genres that I never before considered. Instead of being just an SF reader, I tried romance, historical fiction, current fiction, economics, politics, and more. What I didn’t like could be returned quickly. And now I am enjoying a far wider range of reading.
- Posted by victoria on 06/16
The TC librarians and staff have made the library a community hub by bringing worthwhile resources and programs to me and my child and always assisting us with a smile. My daughter loved storytime with Debbie and Gail, has been motivated by the summer reading program, and has been delighted by special guest visitors such as Markie the Puppeteer, the origami master, and Paul the magician. I benefited from last summer’s early literacy child development class for parents and appreciate the many resources for personal development available in the library, such as exercise dvds. We never hesitate to approach a librarian for reading ideas or program information because they always seem intensely interested in helping us and getting to know us.
- Posted by Sally on 06/15
The Teton County Library impacted my life greatly by giving me a safe, fun and resourceful environment to go after school. I would come to the library to do my homework, find books for school, and get novels for my own entertainment. When I desperately needed a book for a school project, sometimes it wasn’t at the Middle School Library. So I came to the TC Library and got the same book there. It has been a reliable, unique and entertaining place to explore. I participated in the Teen Summer Reading Program last year and it was very exciting for me to be motivated to read so that I could win the awesome prizes at the end. Not only did it make people read FOR the prizes, but it helped people realize that reading can be fun and showed them that they should do it more often to experience different worlds. My mom works there, and coming there after school in sixth grade was very warm and welcoming because I knew I would be able to see my mom after my tough day in middle school. Being the underdog in a new, big school isn’t always easy, and seeing my mom everyday made the rest of my week seem easy. The Library constantly helped me gather information and research topics for school, be entertained, and to always be motivated to read by providing what I believe to be the wonders of the world: books, for me to use. I am extremely grateful that we have such a wonderful and resourceful library here in Jackson, and with such kind, funny and helpful librarians to talk to. The Library has made and will hopefully continue making me appreciate the gift of education, and the privilege, power and knowledge that comes from reading itself.
- Posted by Mila on 06/13
From the time I could ride my bike, I was riding to the library to pick up the 4 books I was allowed to take out. Summer vacation involved a daily trip to the library. Winter time involved weekly walks to the library. Through friendships made and friendships broken, marriages and divorces, births and deaths, the library has always held the key to another world…a comfortable, adventurous, challenging, exotic world. They moved from King Street to their new location and I was initially dubious….but found the same comfort, adventure and exotic locales tucked away on the shelves. The library has been my refuge and my ticket to other worlds.
I love my library.
- Posted by Cindy on 06/12
I moved to Jackson Hole a few days after graduating from high school to work as a housekeeper. I didn’t have a computer or cell phone, so access to the internet through the library was a crucial link to home—especially when I was feeling homesick. I would bike there after work, anxious to check my email and stay connected with friends and family.
Eight years later, and with internet access at home, I still find myself drawn to the library whenever I have spare time. There are so few places in our world where you can find silence. The library is a peaceful haven of knowledge. My two-year-old daughter loves story time (especially getting a hand stamp) and exploring the early literacy room. I relish combing the shelves of the Book Nook and checking out books, CDs, and movies. I try not to miss a Page to the Podium event, and deeply appreciate the opportunity to hear authors speak in our community.
I echo Jorge Luis Borges who said: “I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.“
- Posted by Gina on 05/30
Get the local lowdown
- The Jackson Hole Collection features our spectacular backyard (think Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, Winds, forest land and more!) with place-based history, outdoor guides, photo books and more.
- In fact, we’ve got more than 500 books focused on our local place.
- ·Learn about local history & character
- ·Get hiking, fishing, skiing & climbing guides
- ·Find botany books & ecology info for our region
- ·Classic Teton literature
- To browse Jackson Hole Books visit our Main Library Wing. The JH Collection is right behind our monthly book display.
- You can also search for and reserve specific titles online at http://www.tclib.org/books.