Jackson Photos

From Wyoming Tales and Trails

Continued from previous page. This Page: The Cowboy Bar.

Big Horn Basin Black Hills Bone Wars Buffalo Cambria Casper Cattle Drives Centennial Cheyenne Chugwater Cody Deadwood Stage Douglas Dubois Encampment Evanston Ft. Bridger Ft. Fetterman Ft. Laramie Frontier Days Ghost Towns Gillette G. River F. V. Hayden Tom Horn Jackson Johnson County War Kemmerer Lander Laramie Lincoln Highway Lusk Meeteetse Medicine Bow N. Platte Valley Overland Stage Photos V Rawlins Rock Springs Rudefeha Mine Sheepherding Sheridan Sherman Shoshoni Superior Thermopolis USS Wyoming Wild Bunch Yellowstone

Table of Contents
About This Site

Corner of Broadway and Cache, approx. 1940.

On the right is Ben Goe's Cowboy Bar, the oldest existing business on the Square. To its right is Moore's Cafe operated by Jack Moore. At the time of the photo, Moore advertised that his specialty was mountain trout. After construction of the Wort Hotel in 1941, Moore operated the Alpine Restuarant in the hotel.

Corner of Broadway and Cache, 1959.

On the right is the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. The Cowboy Bar at 25 North Cache was founded in 1936 by Joe Ruby as "Ruby's Cafe and Beer Garden".

Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, Jackson, 1946. Photo by Davey Harris courtesy of Scott Harris.

A year later it was sold to Benjamin F. Goe who changed the name to the Cowboy Bar. Goe operated other bars elsewhere included facilities in Evansville near Casper and at Riverton. In one lawsuit over the alleged destruction of some gambling equipment in a fire in the club in Evansville, Goe openly admitted to possession of roulette, craps, and blackjack equiipment. The Cowboy Bar is the oldest surviving business fronting on the Town Square.

Bar, Cowboy Bar, 1950's. On the right hand side of the photo, slot machines are clearly visible in the mirror.

Gambling in Wyoming has been illegal since 1901. Gambling remained in Teton County throughout the 1930's and later. As indicated by the above and next photos, slot machines were very much in the open in the Cowboy Bar until 1956 when Governor Milward Simpson finally had enough of the flouting of the law in Teton County. The slot machines were immediately to the left as one entered the saloon, directly across from the bar.

Backbar mirror Cowboy Bar, 1950's. On either side of the cash register, slot machines are clearly visible in the mirror.

The neon lights in the top photo were added by Preston Parkinson after he purchased the bar from Goe about 1945. Parkinson also added the appellation "Million Dollar" after renovations were required as a result of a gas explosion in the basement.

Neon Sign, Cowboy Bar, late 1940's.

The term "Floor Shows" does not indicate a Las Vegas type review. It denotes that there is live music.

Davey Harrris (1930 - 1980), whose photos appear on this and the preceding page, left home in Pocatello, Idaho, at age 16. He, with two friends, arrived in Jackson on foot in 1946. Their vehicle, a $15.00 used Ford "Tin Lizzie," broke down in the crossing of Teton Pass and was disposed of by pushing it down the mountainside from the roadway. The boys took up residence in a tent along side the creek. Davey obtained employment in the kitchen of the Cowboy Bar. There he was paid every night with a silver dollar and was allowed to take home to the tent a pot of left-over soup or stew. In the cool night air the grease in the stew would float to the top and congeal before he could reach the campfire at the tent. When winter came, the weight of the snow would collapse the tent. Thus, it came time for the three boys to move on. Davey enlisted in the Army Air Corps. One of the souvenirs of his days in Jackson that Davey Harris kept over the years was a card from Cowboy Bar.

Card retained by Davey Harris. Left, front; Right, reverse

Cowboy Bar, Jackson, approx. 1940.

The Goe Family traces back in the west to the 1850's. Ben Goe, himself, received a patent to his homestead in 1913 and was appointed as the first postmaster of the village of Kelly. . To the right of the Cowboy Bar is Moore's Cafe, which at the time was regarded as "upscale."

Next Page: Cowboy Bar continued.