A farewell to Ernest Hemingway's Wyoming cabin?
The Wyoming ranch where Ernest Hemingway finished his novel "A Farewell to Arms" has been sold. The buyer is reported to be nearby Sheridan College.
The Spear-o-Wigwam Ranch was founded in 1923 by Wyoming Sen. Willis Spear as a retreat for family and friends. Notable among its guest residents was Ernest Hemingway, who is said to have finished his 1929 novel "A Farewell to Arms" there. Although the ranch has changed hands in the intervening years and has served as a commercial dude ranch -- basically, a hotel with lots of Western activities -- the cabin where Hemingway stayed and worked remains there today.
Will it continue to be?
Local newspaper the Buffalo Bulletin reports that Sheridan College is under contract to buy the property, with a closing date of May 1. Clark McClung, a ranger in the region, confirmed to the paper that Sheridan College has applied for permits to operate an educational facility on the property.
"All they applied for was a permit,” McClung said. “The class of the permit is for an educational facility. That is just what our nomenclature is for the kind of permit they applied for. When we met with them they hadn’t really formalized how they were going to utilize it.”
“The bottom line is they went through the process and applied.”
Sheridan College, which has a policy of not commenting on real estate transactions that are in process, responded to the article in a written statement by Vice President for Administration Cheryl Heath:
"As you might imagine, the addition of a location such as Spear-O-Wigwam would extend and reinforce our existing academic curriculum and extra-curricular offerings in areas such as agriculture, art, astronomy, biology, construction technology, electrical, geology, green technologies and natural resources and ranchland management."
Heath goes on to write, "Our college vision includes 'contributing to the cultural life of our region by leveraging the beauty, culture and history of our area' and we continue to pursue opportunities to add to our diverse set of outdoor learning experiences."
One of the current (for now) owners, Beth Jones, told the Buffalo Bulletin that she thought the purchase was the best way to both open up and preserve the property.
"Before, in order to do anything at the ranch you had to be a guest staying there... With the Dude Ranch Association we were limited to what we could do.... I think it is the best thing that possibly could have happened to the property. I think they will love and cherish it like we did and that means to preserve it forever."
"A Farewell to Arms" was originally serialized in Scriber's Magazine, published in installments from May to October 1929. The Big Read has more about the book and how Hemingway's wartime experiences influenced the story and his style.
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Photo: Ernest Hemingway writing outdoors at a ranch, most likely in Idaho. Credit: Associated Press