Beaver Creek Ranch

Also known as: Schoonover Ranch, Harriet Ranch
233 Beaver Creek, Buffalo, WY


Beaver Creek Ranch

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Beaver Creek Ranch, also known as the Schoonover or Harriet Ranch, is eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places as a state significant historic district under Criteria A and C. The period of historical significance dates from 1916, the year of homestead filing and occupation, to 1963, indicating a forty-seven year period. Significant dates include 1916 through 1920, when the homestead was established by Olga and Jesse Schoonover and came to patent. The ranch is eligible under Criterion A, as it represents the twentieth-century sheep raising industry in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. It was continually occupied from 1916 through 1994 and represents the typical sheep raising practices of the times, including transhumance, the seasonal cycle of trailing sheep to high mountain pastures in the summer and back to lower elevations in the winter. Brothers Jesse and Alvin Schoonover, raising sheep on neighboring ranches, were among the most successful stockmen in Johnson County and the Powder River Basin. The name Beaver Creek appears to be the historic name of the ranch and served to differentiate it from Alvin Schoonover's neighboring ranch on the Powder River. From 1951 to 1994, the ranch was owned by the Harriet family; Simon Harriet was a Basque sheepherder and represents the second phase of the ranch's history. During the Harriets' tenure, small numbers of cattle were also raised, but the ranch was always predominantly a sheep raising operation and at times led Johnson County in the size of its flocks. The ranch is also eligible under Criterion C, as the physical remains retain sufficient integrity to represent the themes stated above. The ranch complex consists of a grouping of residencerelated and agriculture-related buildings, all constructed between 1916 and the 1950s. The buildings are generally of modest wood frame construction, representing mass vernacular architecture (as opposed to architect-designed), typical of a Wyoming sheep ranch. The ranch complex also represents a typical ranching layout that includes a sheep shearing shed with numerous historic graffiti from ranch hands, and a series of fencelines and corrals for the management of livestock surrounding the buildings.

Update Log 

  • August 12, 2014: Added by Dave King