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JESSAMINE SPEAR JOHNSON Early Montana-Wyoming photographer was born In the village of Big Horn on September 11, 1886. Jessamine’s mother, Belle, introduced her and her sister Elsa to photography at a young age. Both Jessamine and Elsa helped print pictures.

Jessa’s hobby of taking photographs bloomed into an obsession. She even had a dark room built in the family home. Where ever Jessa went her Kodak was slung over her shoulder.

 

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JACK D. MOODY, born in 1897, grew up in Cheyenne where he witnessed the hanging of Tom Horn and saw President Teddy Roosevelt when he visited Ft. Russell (Warren Air force Base). Jack grew up herding cattle, working on many notable ranches and at one time owned his own cattle. Later, he moved to Story so his son, Torrey, could attend school. There he taught himself how to make leather furniture that was sold at a local store.  The furnishings in the Mill Inn’s lobby were made by Jack and used in their family home until Jack’s passing in 1990 at the age of 92.

History

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THE MILL INN was established in the early 1890s as a single elevator, steam powered, wooden milling structure. Later it would be moved and enlarged at its present location due to the large demand for its products. The new mill had the latest milling technology,  made of fire resistant masonry and was the largest, most modern of its kind in Wyoming with daily capacity of 1,000 barrels of flour. At one time, the mill was the largest taxpayer in Wyoming. Due to changes in freight rates for grain and flour, the mill could no longer compete with other milling locations. Milling operations were closed and the buildings, equipment and lands comprising the former Sheridan Flouring Mills, Inc. were sold in 1974. The actual mill building was remodeled into a 44-unit motel and the tower was converted into office spaces. Today, the Mill Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and operates as a motel.


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WILLIAM F. CODY, “BUFFALO BILL – “Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor of introducing to your attention a man whose record as a servant of the government, whose skill and daring as a frontiersman, whose place in history as the chief of scouts of the United States Army, whose name as one of the avengers of the lamented Custer, and whose adherence throughout an eventful life to his chosen principle of true to friend and foe, have made him well and popularly known throughout the world ….. The honorable William F. Cody, “Buffalo Bill!”


mi_huffmanlLATON ALTON HUFFMAN is a well-known western photographer. Here at the Mill Inn are over 100 of his photos on display throughout all our guest rooms. It is one of the largest private collections of Huffman prints in the West.


mi_beldenlCHARLES BELDEN was born in San Francisco, California in 1887. His family migrated from the east before the gold rush in 1849; California was still territory of Spain. Interestingly, Charles grew up in California and had an uncle who was a good photographer. This influenced his interest in photography at an early age. Charles’s greatest contribution to the Pitchfork Ranch was making it famous through his photos.