It seems appropriate that we end our Wyoming tour at Trail End. This was Governor John B. Kendrick’s luxurious home on top of the hill in Sheridan, Wyoming, and is now open to the public as a state historic site. Kendrick’s life reads like a fairy tale He was born in Texas and orphaned early in life. In 1879, he trailed a cattle herd from there to Wyoming. It was said that he was so keen on saving money that he actually washed and mended his socks rather than just throwing them out like most cowboys of his day. Those pennies kept adding up and in 1883, he used his savings to start the Ula Ranch. Kendrick worked as foreman and manager for several other ranches while building his own empire. He married Eula May Wulfjen of Greeley, Colorado, in 1891, and they raised 2 children, Rosa Maye and Manville.
In 1910 Kendrick entered politics and was elected Senator of Sheridan County. He was elected Governor in 1914 and served until February 1917 when he resigned to serve as a senator in Congress. He proudly served in this capacity until his death in 1933. Throughout his political career, Kendrick was influential in politics and defending Wyoming’s water rights. Only weeks before his death, he succeeded, almost single-handedly, in gaining final approval for the Casper-Alcova (Kendrick) Irrigation Project.
The LX Bar Ranch outside of Gillette became the family’s home ranch, though Kendrick’s holding included 7 ranches scattered throughout Northern Wyoming and Southern Montana. Several buildings, including the house and barn, were constructed around 1910 using locally quarried native stone. In 2012, property containing the buildings was gifted to the State of Wyoming and is now administered by the Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources. Trail End itself is an impressive edifice. Built in 1911, the three-story mansion includes 5 entrances, a formal drawing room with French silk covered walls, a hidden cabinet (purportedly used to stash liquor during prohibition), an elevator, a walk-in vault, intricately carved woodwork, and six bedrooms with private baths. Nearly the entire third floor was used as a ballroom, complete with a musicians loft. Visit the Trail End Historic Site website for a virtual tour of the house.