National Register of Historic Places


Circle Ranch

Big Piney

Date Added to Register

Thursday, May 14, 1987

Smithsonian Number

48SU537

Read all about it

The historic Circle Ranch, also known as the R.L. Miller Ranch, is located about four miles southwest of Big Piney, Wyoming. The Circle Ranch complex consists of fourteen buildings, including a large wood frame ranch house built in 1905, garage, pumphouse, storage house, ice house, two bunkhouses, chicken coop, pig sty, and barn. The key buildings in the complex are two original log structures. The first is a homestead cabin built by early pioneer Nicolas Swan between 1878 and 1880, and the second is the homestead cabin of Otto Leifer also built between 1878 and 1880. The Circle Ranch has been continuously occupied as a working cattle ranch for over 100 years. It became one of the most economically successful and enduring cattle operations in Wyoming and provided an important economic base for the town of Big Piney and the surrounding ranching community. Furthermore, its owners served the community and state in political and business leadership roles. It was established by Otto Leifer in 1878 in an unsettled region nearly 100 miles from the nearest railhead. In 1895 he sold his ranch and livestock to a pioneer LaBarge rancher, James Mickelson. In a short period of time, Mickelson developed the Circle Ranch into the largest ranch in the region and it has remained in the Mickelson family since.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources