I asked Jackson long-timers this question: “When do you think Jackson was at its best?” Some great answers from these well-known folks.
Bert Feuz — The 1950s were the best. Nobody had any money and we worked hard for every dime. What fun we had! Everyone was in a good mood; we carried our rifles and shotguns in the back windows of our unlocked pickups and went down to Bill Green’s at Camp Creek for a little beer on Saturday night. Gas was only 18 cents a gallon.
Boots Allen — My aunts and uncles say the 1950s and ’60s were the two greatest decades in the history of Jackson. There were a few good restaurants, two gas stations, not much music, no bike paths, no recycling and television lasted from 5 a.m. until midnight. Not a lot of options. Those kids had fun. I can only imagine what they experienced.
Sherry Evans — Mid ’50s to mid ’60s. We knew everybody and we all looked out for each other. Winters were slow and we could relax and enjoy the locals. Growing up in a small town really was wonderful. One of the things I feel has changed is the influx of people and the attitudes. We didn’t threaten to sue everybody ... we usually were able to work things out. This was also a time when a person’s word was as good as a contract. The best times were when we respected each other, respected this beautiful place and respected the rights of what the other person owned. Now it seems respect is gone.
Sharon Dockham Nethercott — The ’60s were the best. We were a close-knit community with definite seasons. We rolled up the streets after Labor Day and opened them up after Memorial Day. It was the best of times. No traffic jams and no lack of parking places.
JoAnne Anderson — It was at its best in the 1970s. When the Bar J Chuckwagon was built, my dad, Babe Humphrey, made a deal with a rancher, Earl Hardeman, on his word and a handshake. Those days are gone.
Lori Petersen — Late ’60s, early ’70s when we rode our horses to town and hitched them to the rail while we got burgers from the drug store.
Cyndi Sutton — I’m guessing most everyone will think it was best during their childhood. For me that would be the ’70s. Youth casts a beautiful light for our memories.
Patti Randall — I’m reminded of an interview in the ’70s with my aunt Tony Deloney, who told Gene Downer, with Teton Magazine, that she preferred Jackson in the ’30s before all the people moved in. It’s all relative.
Brady Jones — Late ’70s to late ’80s. It was just a friendly atmosphere back then. We all waved to passing people because we knew them in some way or another. Friends and family still met up in the Town Square to hang out. You could poach the local hotel pools on a hot day. Been a downhill slide ever since. Nothing feels “hometown” about Jackson anymore.
Rob Kingwill — What better place than here, what better time than now.
Janice Remington Skinner — I would say today. I was fortunate to arrive in Jackson in the late 1970s and I’ve seen many of the changes. Our children were born and raised here. I have met so many incredible people that are now friends. All these decades have gifted me with that and keepsake memories. Now moving into another life’s chapter where my folks are residing at St. John’s Living Center. Walk in there and one will be reminded of the caring kindness that prevails in this community.
Andy Shinkle — In the fall of 1889, when Selar and Mary Alice Wilson Cheney brought their wagon over Teton Pass, Jackson Hole was perfect. A place where one was truly in the best place on earth. A place where one could work to attain their dreams and know that every day was a special day. A place to raise a family knowing there was no better place on earth. A place where they knew that change could never destroy the soul of the valley. A place that is exactly like Jackson Hole today. Every day in Jackson is the best time to be here.
Vance Carruth — For me Jackson was at its best when it was small enough that everyone knew everyone else and worked hard to keep the town from becoming just Anytown, USA. It was uniquely different from every place else I had ever lived and it suited my sensibilities and love of the natural world and this magnificent valley in particular. But time marches on and change truly is the only constant in the universe and, like it or hate it, we will always cherish the best memories we have of those times when we thought Jackson was at its best. The future inheritors of this place face many challenges we never imagined during our best times here. May they find the wisdom to protect what is left of what we all loved most that we thought at the time was Jackson at its best.