History in Jackson is often about what used to be in some place that’s being turned into something else.
But a bit of town history survived another change of hands last week with the sale of the house at 560 E. Hansen.
At the heart of the house is a cabin built in 1911 and moved to the site in the 1970s.
The property came with a recent addition and a remodeled interior, but the old heart of the house was part of the attraction, said Randy DePree, the real estate agent who had owned the house since 2015 and whose architect brother Austin oversaw the renovations.
Even before renovations, DePree said, she wanted to see the place preserved, largely in consideration of “the generations of people who maintained it.”
Last week’s sale was to Mike and Emily McIntyre, an Atlanta couple who have a 35-year association with Jackson and who were intrigued by the building’s past.
“It was one of the original cabins out on the refuge, and it’s in its original state,” Mike McIntyre said.
McIntyre said “a log structure is timeless in its content.”
“You have a lot of the mountain modern going on, which is wonderful,” he said. “But we were drawn to that house. We’ve done three historical renovations.”
DePree, an associate broker at Brokers of Jackson Hole Real Estate, the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices affiliate in Jackson, bought the place because “I needed a place to live” and “liked the character of it.
“It was in good shape; it was just outdated” when DePree moved in, she said. “The floors were old. It needed some updates, fresh wiring, fresh plumbing.”
Old Jackson houses have disappeared regularly in recent years to be replaced with boxy metal-clad condos, a style often called “mountain modern.” But DePree calculated that the cost of a fix-up and resale promised a better deal and maybe better karma than selling to a developer who had a bulldozer idling nearby.
She liked the place: “It felt good when you walked through.
“The house had been taken care of,” she said, “so it was easy to make the decision to renovate versus doing something else.”
The main house is 2,206 square feet, with three bedrooms and three bathrooms. The old cabin is about 31-by-32 feet, with a second floor of 399 square feet; there’s an old attached garage converted to living space. That all includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
A 2016 addition in back, 950 square feet, is billed as a “guest suite,” with one bed, one bathroom and no kitchen.
The log work of the house retains the early Jackson look while the inside has been redone in a modern style. McIntyre said the one thing on his to-do list for the house is some work to rejuvenate the aging logs.
Austin DePree’s firm, Northworks Architects, did the redesign. TKG Construction, owned by Toby Grohne, was the general contractor.
The house, sitting on a 0.24-acre lot, was listed for only about a month. It had offers right away and closed last Friday. It was advertised for $2.35 million.
Before DePree the place was owned by Tamalpais Roth-McCormick, who had it from 2001 to 2015 and did a bit of work on it herself. It was “in pretty bad shape” when she bought it.
“It was just a fixer-upper, a cabin in town, a dream come true,” Roth-McCormick said. “We took down like five walls upstairs and added the porch. We fixed it up on a shoestring over the years we lived there.”
Roth-McCormick also added a big stainless steel kitchen for her catering business, equipment that’s now gone. She now lives in Portland, Oregon.
Roth-McCormick bought the property for $605,000, sold an adjoining lot for $150,000 while she lived there and sold the cabin for $910,000 when she moved.
Before Roth-McCormick the house was home to Stephen and Peggy Gagnon, who lived there with their three children starting in 1985, when they bought the property — then including 2 1/2 city lots — for $95,000.
Stephen Gagnon was bar manager at the Cadillac Grille for years. His wife taught French at Jackson Hole High School. They now live in Star Valley.
When the Gagnons bought the house they were told it had been part of a homestead on what’s now the National Elk Refuge, and that story was repeated by other people with casual knowledge of the story.
The cabin almost didn’t make it to 560, according to the world-of-mouth history.
After the federal government bought the land where the cabin was sitting empty, the plan was to burn it, but some bad weather delayed the destruction and saved the building, Gagnon recently recalled.
“In December, the weekend before they were going to burn it, it snowed, so they were able to move it,” Gagnon said. “They put it on snow skis. They skied it out of there.”
The building, several people remembered, sat for a while on land that’s now part of St. John’s Medical Center. It made it to East Hansen when it was bought by Al Allison. The few people who remember put the date of the move at around 1973.
Allison and his wife, Joanne, are still remembered by old-timers for their breakfast-and-lunch gathering spot, the Hungry Hound. The Hound did business on land that’s now part of the Home Ranch visitor center and parking lot; the town forced Allison out in 1985 to build Home Ranch.
Gagnon remembered being told that the builder of the cabin moved around the West for work and built in a particular and recognizable style: Atypical square corners on the building were one hallmark. Gagnon recalled one other example in Jackson, now gone, and that experts had found buildings apparently built by the same craftsman in Crowheart and near Missoula, Montana.
The history of building has interested people over the years, though it seems never to have been the motivating factor in buying it. People just wanted an affordable place to live.
But Gagnon was pleased to hear it had sold again to people who saw it as having some value.
“I was happy to see it survived,” he said. “You couldn’t help but worry that if it sold someone would just move it or tear it down.”
New owner McIntyre is a venture capitalist. He and his wife are longtime visitors who spent last summer in a rented house in East Jackson. Though they’ll keep their place in Atlanta, he said they’ll be in Jackson “as much as possible and hopefully more over the years.”
The McIntyres have a daughter who interned with the Clear Creek Group last year and a son who will work for a guide this summer.
“People have really drawn us in,” McIntyre said of Jackson’s attraction. “It’s a great environment, a mixture of old and new.”
East Jackson, he said, “has got a resurgence going on. It’s on fire.”