National Register of Historic Places


Jim Baker Cabin

Savery, Wyoming

Date Added to Register

Monday, November 08, 1982

Smithsonian Number

48CR1183

Read all about it

The Jim Baker Cabin, which for years was located in Frontier Park in Cheyenne, is now located at Savery, Wyoming, not far from its original location. It is a weather-beaten, two-story structure constructed of rough-hewn cottonwood logs. The lower story was the former living quarters of the Baker family. The small second story was used for storage. Early pictures of the cabin reveal a railing which once was affixed to the base of the second story. There was at one time, also, a turret or watchtower cupola on the roof of the second story, but it was removed by Baker in 1881 four years after the completion of the cabin. Baker's log house stood by a spring and was located approximately midway across the Little Snake River bottomland, in a place where a commanding view of the area could be had and where no sniper's bullet could be effective from the cover of the surrounding hills. At the time Jim Baker began construction of his cabin fortress in 1873, this scenic valley was not only the home of Baker and his family but also contained the teepees of the Snake or Shoshone Indian tribe which adopted him. Not far away were Ute Indians who were not reconciled to the white man, even by 1879. It may have been with that fact in mind that Baker built his fortress-cabin.

The early life of Jim Baker is obscure because of the lack of documentary material. It is known that at the age of twenty Baker was recruited by the American Fur Company for a trapping expedition led by the famous mountain man, Jim Bridger. Baker signed a contract for an eighteen month period and he and ninety-one others embarked on May 25, 1839 on a Missouri River steamboat bound for the Mountain West. Baker began a career of trapping and hunting which lasted until 1852, when he is reported to have gone on his last trapping expedition with the famous scout, Kit Carson. Baker and his family settled in the Little Snake River Valley of Southern Wyoming in 1873 and he spent the remaining years of his life there, passing away in 1898. Jim Baker was representative of a group of individuals who have been termed Mountain Men. The unique structure which is the Jim Baker Cabin is one of the few things associated with the man which remains. It is a symbol of Jim Baker himself, and also of a frontier period which is not forgotten to those who trace the history of the American past.

Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources