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Postcard from the Past - Constructing a Real Dude Camp

Written by Dick Perue


“Medicine Bow Lodge will be an ideal place for city folks to spend summer outing,” reads a headline in a spring edition of a 1917 issue of the hometown newspaper. 

The article reads:

“Very similar in its appointments and purposes to the ‘dude camps’ or tourist resorts, which are found in various parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, in the vicinity of Yellowstone Park, will be the resort now planned by Sisson and Moore of Saratoga, to be known as Medicine Bow Lodge, which is situated in the Medicine Bow mountains some 18 miles from Saratoga.

“A large part of the timber necessary for construction of the camp has already been gotten out and plans of the various structures are now being prepared. It is expected that the construction contract will be let within the next couple of weeks and work on the buildings will be started just as soon as weather conditions will permit, the plan being to have the place ready for occupancy some time in July.

“The camp will consist of several large log buildings for offices, dining rooms, dancing pavilion, store rooms and various other purposes and 30 or more sleeping tents with floor and walls of lumber, together with other necessary structures which to make up a comfortable and home-like camp for the benefit of the eastern tourist or city dweller who feels ‘the call of the wild’ and looks for a place where he may spend a few days or weeks communing with nature among things primeval, outside the danger zone of automobiles, fire engines and street cars. For those who desire a still less metropolitan outing, the proprietors of the camp will furnish teams and camping outfits, and the city man who is sick and tired of all human companionship may thus journey on into the untracked wilderness and indulge his caveman propensities to his heart’s content.

“Medicine Bow Lodge will fill a long-felt want in this section, and it is a foregone conclusion that it will be largely patronized by people from Denver and other points in northern Colorado, as well as from a large territory in southern Wyoming. No other such resort can be reached by residents of this section without hundreds of miles of travel and but few of even the most celebrated of these camps afford the fine fishing, small game hunting and other sports and pleasures that will be found in close proximity to Medicine Bow Lodge.

“The construction work would have been in operation ere this but for the extremely backward season and the great amount of snow which obstructs all operations in the mountains. However, the work will be done with all possible speed and some of the roads are open and some of the snow out of the way, and the resort will be open for the tourist traffic during the coming summer and fall.”

The Medicine Bow Lodge remains open yet today and continues to cater to those who wish to answer the call of the wild and to spend time communing with nature year-round but especially the spectacular Indian Summer experienced each fall.