A Festival For Celebrating Homesteading Heritage

Oct 5, 2017

An image of one of the Jarvie Ranch buildings.
Credit https://www.blm.gov/learn/interpretive-centers/john-jarvie-historic-ranch

The Utah Bureau of Land Management is known for supporting local art and land. On the 14th, the organization will be hosting a unique festival that features one of the first homesteads in Utah. The celebration of heritage is not only known for sharing historical crafting skills but also stories of history.

 

Jarvie Fest held at the Jarvie Cabin in Brown’s Park, Utah is centered around the ranch and life of John Jarvie.

 

Jamie Skidmore, the park ranger for the Jarvie Ranch said he was one of the key pillars of life in 1880 when Jarvie first started his homestead.

 

“Well, I think that he was that civic-minded community member who made life in this tough remote country of Brown’s Park possible for others," Skidmore said. "He had an entrepreneurial character and was the post-master, an election official, blacksmith, miner and farmer as well as operating the store and ferry. His homesteads placement was on the main route from Rock Springs Valley to Ashley Valley, and he provided the only safe crossing of the Green River.”

 

The festival will have historic story telling from Brown’s Park descendent's, and a chance to create candles, rope and leather work. Skidmore said that the homestead holds a wild and vibrant history.

 

“One of the neat things would be that Jarvie hid Butch Cassidy out in the underground house here," Skidmore said. "And another neat little tidbit is that one of the local outlaws that used to hang out in Jarvie's park, built Jarvie’s stone building.”

 

Skidmore said the rich history surrounding the cabin is one of the reasons why the Bureau decided to organize and host this festival in-house. While the other art and history festivals the bureau is involved with are co-sponsored with other organizations.

 

“I think it’s important mainly because it’s part of our, all of our history, in particular Browns Park has a lot of history to share," she said "In so many cases these old homesteads have gone to ruin and their lessons for future generations are gone. We’re just hoping that people will get out and enjoy what our public lands have to offer."

 

The historic ranch site shows what western life was like in the late 1800’s by displaying a replica of Jarvie’s general store and Jarvie's original dugout home, blacksmith shop and stone house.