National Register of Historic Places


Murie Ranch

Grand Teton National Park

Date Added to Register

Tuesday, April 03, 1990

Smithsonian Number

48TE1143

Read all about it

The Murie Ranch is located at the southern end of Grand Teton National Park just south of the Moose to Wilson Road. The complex consists of three building clusters: the main residential buildings; secondary guest cabins with associated outhouses; and utilitarian buildings. The Olaus Murie residence and studio were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1990 for their association with regional conservation. The property listing was expanded in 1998 to include the adjacent buildings originally part of the 1920s STS Dude Ranch yet later used as home and office space for scientist Adolph Murie and his wife Louise, as housing and meeting space for the 1953 annual meeting of the Wilderness Society Council, and as seasonal housing for the students, friends, and writers who converged on the Murie Ranch throughout the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.

The larger district is significant for its association with conservationists Olaus and Margaret (Mardy) Murie and with scientist Adolph Murie. The district's period of significance extends from the Muries' purchase in 1945 until the 1964 passage of the Wilderness Act, one year after Wilderness Society director and president Olaus Murie's death. As Wilderness Society director, Murie argued compellingly for the expansion of Grand Teton National Park, the creation of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and the preservation of the Ohio and Chesapeake Canal. In the process of these debates, Murie labored over the value and definition of wilderness. In perhaps his most enduring legacy, Murie demanded that our fiduciary responsibility for preservation of the natural world not be based on economical expediency but on the preservation of wilderness for its own sake, for its unquantifiable importance in our spiritual lives. The Murie Ranch was the scene for debates and decisions that set the tone for the Wilderness Society and for the entire American conservation community.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources