Community Growth


The first 4th of July celebration in South Park, 1890. Arrow points to Mary Wood Wilson.

From 1890 to 1900, the population of Jackson Hole increased exponentially. From an initial rough count of 28 individuals in 1889 when the Wilsons first arrived, the population had risen to 638 individuals by 1900. Of these, over 25% were Mormon. It would be no accident that the Wilsons, being the first Mormon residents, had created a trend worth following. Sylvester Wilson was a highly regarded church elder, having founded the community of Wilsonville in Utah. His family created the Teton Pass Road as a viable, although challenging route into the valley, opening the way for countless others to follow. It would be the most important transportation and communication corridor for decades. The majority of the Mormons would settle farther north than South Park, in an area known as Mormon Row in 1896. Despite their settling into the classic Mormon “line village” pattern, they did not establish a formal church building until 1917 (but services were held in neighbor’s homes).

The extended Wilson family.

The extended Wilson family.

Continue on to CHURCH, SCHOOL, and POST OFFICE