A Step Into the Past
Stanley is filled with little stops and exciting stories. Every building has a past, and this week we are going to talk about the story behind the Stanley Museum. This museum is located directly north of Stanley, right on the bend that leads into Lower Stanley. They are open every day from 11-5, and are run through a wonderful staff from the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association, a local non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Way back in 1933 this building was the local Ranger Station, much like the current Ranger Station south on route 75. Merle Markle and his wife Kathleen built this station to serve as their home and the local Station. They had a great amount of help from the Civilian Conservation Corps as well, and from there on out they lived in this grand, 3 room building. Since then, nine (9) other rangers have lived and worked in this station, using the rooms for different purposes, using different office spaces, but ultimately carrying out the same mission, to protect this area. In 1972, this building housed its last ranger, Tom Kovalicky.
Within this historic building, there are countless historic artifacts that trace back to the early settlers, the miners, of this area. Upon walking in, smiling faces of either the Museum Docent, or the Historic Specialist meet you at the door. Countless books and souvenirs lie out before you, but that is not where it really begins. Walk through to you right, and there are artifacts dating back to the trappers and miners of the area, but also an old Postal Station, cameras, and much more.
Keep walking through the various doorways, and try to take a step back to see how it would be to live in there before. The kitchen is set up in the back, with the plates set up and ready for supper. They rolled the napkins into holders, and placed in neat rows is the silverware. The final room in the museum is the viewing room, where you can watch many different movies about the Sawtooth region, or any other natural aspect about it. On your way back into the kitchen, take another second to glace out the back door, and look at the historic ice house as well. Go on, go check it out! They needed to keep foods nice and cool so they built the ice house, even during the warm summer days. Back in one corner, meat hangs to stay fresh, and the vegetables and other perishables are stored in another corner. This was important during this time period because there were no refrigerators yet! Imagine having to go outside for a midnight snack, instead of just walking into your kitchen! There was also no power into the Stanley Basin until 1954.
The pieces of old farming material right by the parking area give the place a rustic feel, and show how technology has developed over the years to make farming and gathering much easier. The view from the Museum is incredible, so be sure to snap a picture of that before you leave. There is only one last thing to do before you leave! Ring the old school bell out by the flag pole if you enjoyed your experience at the historic Stanley Museum!