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Home with History
By Laura Lynn, as told to Lila Edythe ∙ Photograph by Ryan Dorgan
Will [Davenport] and I live on a bluff in the timber across the river from Kelly. The view from our house covers most of the Teton Range. I was raised on the Teton Valley Ranch. After college and moving around the country for twenty years, ten years ago I was fortunate enough to come back to live in the house where I grew up. Will’s first job in the valley, in 1990, was at the Teton Valley Ranch Camp, which my grandfather founded in 1939. We didn’t meet at the ranch, though, but dancing at the Stagecoach one Sunday night.
Living in a home surrounded by the elk refuge and the national park means there’s wildlife all around. Elk, bison, deer, and moose are often in our driveway. A fox lives just around the corner. We even had a grizzly bear try to get into the chicken house.
In the summer or fall, I’ll hop on my horse bareback and ride to Kelly or along the river [the Gros Ventre]. I would go get the mail on horseback if there were a hitching rail at the post office.
We don’t see that Kelly has changed too much. It is still the eclectic community I grew up in. Many of the same families I grew up with are still here. A couple of years ago, I was substitute teaching at Kelly School alongside the same teacher who taught me in third grade.
The history I have from growing up here gives us a sense of belonging and a connection to this land. This is a place where you find yourself numerous times during the day stopping and holding your rake, and just taking it all in. We don’t take it for granted, and we realize this isn’t normal.