July 24, 2006 Still in Sheridan

the Bucking Bronco

This entry will be a bit short text wise, but there are LOTS of pictures.

We just wanted everyone to know that Andy had his proceedure and is recuperating just fine. His kidney stone has been blasted into oblivion, so hopefully, all will be uphill from here on in. We will be staying in Sheridan for a few weeks to make sure he is all right, but that is just dandy with us.

What a great town this is!

While Andy was "under the knife", Terry and I snuck in a quick visit to the Sheridan County Museum. Housed in an old restaurant overlooking the town of Sheridan, it has a wonderful feel to it. From the log cabin exterior to the stained glass windows featuring a rodeo roder on a bucking bronco (which seems to be the Wyoming state symbol), the place feels right at home here in this glorious area.

Inside, the museum is split into several exhibits. One that really struck me is a badge that is dented right in the center.

Dented Badge

The story goes that back in the early 1900s one of Sheridan's finest caught a burgler, right in the act of breaking into the local pharmacy. After making the arrest, he called the local taxi company to take his prisoner to the hoosegow (don't you love it?). As he was loading his prisoner into the cab, the burgler grabbed the Policeman's gun and shot him, right in the badge! For ever after, the Officer always made sure to wear the badge right over his heart. On his retirement, he donated the badge to the local Museum.

Isn't that a great story? I think it perfectly explains this town and the Museum! That said, my favorite display in the whole Museum showcases of the artwork and working environs of an extraordinary woman named Elsa Spear Byron.

Elas Poster

What an amazing woman! A Wyoming native (born in 1896), she was an author, historian, and photographer. While she was obviously a woman of many talents, it was her photography that truly captured my imagination. And please, forgive many of these photos. Any loss of clarity, reflections, etc, are 100% my fault. The Museum's lighting leaves a bit to be desired, and all the photos are under glass, but still, I wanted to share.

I was struck by how fresh and beautiful her photographs appeared, even almost one hundred years after they were shot. This print of a lone horse at Tea Kettle Rock in the Wyoming Big Horns is truly timeless, don't you agree?

Elsa Poster

The Museum houses a number of the photographs she took while she was growing up (she got her first camera from her Mother, also a photographer, when she was just 12 years old), but what I REALLY loved were her hand painted photos and lamp shades.

Elsa Print & Lamp Shade

Truly an enterprising woman, she started her own business, selling her original photos, as well as hand tinted postcards, letter holders and lamp shades. Her business was called Fotocraft of the Big Horns.

Elsa FotoKraft Sign

The lamp shades were first printed onto color tansparencies, then she painstakingly hand painted each panel, using oil paints for the shades and colored pencils, watercolors or other medium for the cards. I'm sure most of you remember shades like these from your childhood, but the ones in the Museum were a step above any I have ever seen.

Elsa Print & Lamp Shade

Also well represented in the Museum is another native son, Bernard Thomas. I thouroughly enjoyed his oils and watercolors, which totally captured the spirit of Wyoming.

Indian Oil
Indian Oil

But I must say, being an old retired Postal Clerk, what I most enjoyed were his envelopes. It seems that whenever he wrote to friends, he hand decorated the envelope with original artwork. For years I watched such pieces come through the mail. It was a delight to see so many in one place and learn a bit about an artist who expressed himself and shared in this unique way. It seems that many of these envelopes ended up here in Sheridan, but in speaking with the curator, I learned that new pieces turn up all the time. What a fun way to express yourself!

3 Envelopes

Suffice it to say, in my opinion, to come to Sheridan and not visit this Museum is a crying shame. It gave us such a sense of the town, it's history and inhabitants. I recommend it highly.

And just in case you think we've spent ALL our time in Sheridan at the Museum, rest assured, we have seen plenty of this wonderful town. I find the people to be incredibly friendly and the architecture is varied and quite charming. I have many photos of the town, placed in an album here And if you're at all interested, watch the site as we have more to come on this special town.

Dressing Room Door

As I will say over and over again, Life is good.

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