Flat Creek Inn

Category: History

Presidents in Grand Teton National Park

Happy Presidents Day! Since 1789, forty-six men have occupied the office of President of the United States. Who’s your favorite? Was it the one who fought to unify the country during the Civil War? (Lincoln, obviously.) Or the one who got stuck in a bathtub? (Taft. Look it up.) Or the one who inspired the country to fight back against the alien invaders threatening our freedom? (That one wasn’t real. That was in a movie. Sorry.) Here at Flat Creek, we don’t play favorites. However, we have a soft spot for each of the presidents who visited nearby Grand Teton National Park and probably driven past Flat Creek. Here’s the list:

Nixon

The first record we can find of a sitting president in visiting Grand Teton National Park is Richard Nixon, who posed for a photo on the shores of Jackson Lake in 1971. The visit was part of his “Legacy of Parks” proposal to extend and improve the US National Parks system. See a video clip here

Carter

Seven years later, Grand Teton once again hosted a sitting US president when Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalyn vacationed here. Carter never signed any legislation that directly impacted the park, as far as we can tell, but he did take an interest in conservation. He signed the Alaska National Interest Conservation Act, which created ten new national parks and enlarged three others. 

Bush (the first one)

George and Barbara visited many national parks during their days in the White House, including the Everglades, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, and many more. Grand Teton was among those stops. 

Clinton

Bill Clinton visited the park with his family in 1995 to witness the release of wolves in the wild. During their stay, a thunderstorm dumped icy hail on the party. One particularly quick-witted park ranger quipped, “Hail to the chief.” We’re sure Clinton saw the humor in it at the time.

Bush (the second one)

George W. Bush took a break from official duties to stay with a family friend in 2002. That’s pretty much all we know.

Trump

Donald Trump, to our knowledge, has not visited the park. However, his wife Melania visited in 2019, meeting up with a group of elementary school children on a field trip to promote the Every Kid Outdoors program. 

Biden

We have no record of our current president, Joe Biden, visiting the park as a sitting president. However, in 2014, as Vice President, he spent four nights with his family in a lakeside cabin overlooking Mount Moran.

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Ryan Kunz is a copywriter and freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including media, the outdoors, and whatever else strikes his fancy. He knows who he’s going to vote for this year, but he’s not super happy about the choices. 

Above photo credit: William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum/NARA

The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Jackson’s Favorite Family-Owned Motel

The story of Flat Creek Inn is anything but flat. It’s a story full of ups, downs, and more ups. It’s the story of a family, a gas station, a few rough patches, and eventual success. And, with the tenth anniversary of the big comeback of this family-owned motel coming up, it’s a story we’re about to tell you. 

Red Barn firework stand

The Beginning

In the late 1960s, Jerry Bagley, a man with legends as large as Davy Crockett, strolled into Jackson Hole, Wyoming, with his young wife and daughters and bought a parcel of land on the outskirts of the small, western town. Here, the Red Barn gas station was born. 

For almost two decades, Jerry and his family made a living running the Red Barn and selling the best darned fireworks in town, even earning the title of “Jackson Firework King” (I actually bestowed that title upon him in a nice little song I wrote). In the early 1980s, Jackson County banned the selling of fireworks. This, as you can imagine, made an impact on the livelihood of a firework salesman, so the time was right to close the Red Barn and relocate their family to Idaho for a fresh start. But the land in Jackson Hole still remained. 

Before their departure to Idaho, however, a stranger arrived in town. We imagine him riding in on his horse, cowboy hat pulled low over his brow, dusty from the long day’s ride. As tumbleweed blows across the road, the stranger jumps down from his steed, spurs jangling, and swaggers through the doors of Jackson’s saloon, where asks, “Where can I find Mr. Bagley?” 

It may have gone this way, who knows? The important part is that he had a proposal for the Bagleys. He suggested leasing their land so he could build a motel. Both parties agreed and Flat Creek Inn came to be. 

The Middle

The partnership flourished for several years. The Bagleys enjoyed their new life in Idaho, all while keeping a distant eye on their property back in Jackson. Eventually, the original owner of the motel passed away and the motel fell into new hands. This proved the beginning of Flat Creek’s tragic decline, including bankruptcy. There, Flat Creek became the butt of every internet troll’s joke (“I think I found Jackson’s hole,” claimed one droll-witted reviewer) and had a sad life dead last on Trip Advisor (#44, if you’re curious).

By this time, Jerry Bagley had also passed away and the land was owned by his wife and children. Tired of seeing their land host this sad, dilapidated motel, the Bagleys agreed it was time to take up the mantle. And so, on October 21, 2012, the Bagleys became the owners of the lowest-ranked motel in Jackson Hole. There was literally nowhere else to go but up.

The End (and Future)

Thanks to the time, talents, and hard work of the Bagley family, Flat Creek Inn has been revived and is now the quaintest and best family-owned motel in all of Jackson Hole (in our humble opinion, of course). In 2022, Flat Creek Inn received a “Travelers’ Choice” award! According to TripAdvisor, the Travelers’ Choice award is given to “accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.” Number 44, who? 

Photo courtesy of Flat Creen Inn employee Rigo Jiménez.

Each summer, at least a few of Jerry’s grandchildren make the pilgrimage to Flat Creek Inn to work for the summer, cleaning rooms and working in the convenience store, each creating lasting memories of their time at the motel. And while the motel has been under Bagley ownership for TEN years (with many more to come!), we are so thankful to our employees, guests, and customers who have been with us for many years and continue to make Flat Creek Inn the best little family-owned motel in Jackson Hole!

To make your own memories at Flat Creek Inn, call (307) 733-5276. 


Breanne Kunz was raised in the Pacific Northwest but grew up spending summers in Idaho frequently visiting Jackson Hole, Grand Teton National Park, and Yellowstone National Park. She is a wife and mom who likes to write. She occasionally travels (not as much as she’d like) and always eats.

Virtual Tour of Jackson Hole

Well, it seems like COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. So in case you aren’t able to come to Jackson Hole in person, here is a virtual field trip just for you! Ready? Let’s go!

 

We’re going to start off at Town Square

Watch a live webcam of town square right now!

This is a fun video showing how the famous antler arch was put together.

Here is the history of Town Square.

 

Next up we’ll head to the National Elk Refuge

You can see the National Elk Refuge live right now at this link.

Watch an informational video about the Elk Refuge right here.

 

Okay, now we’re onto the National Museum of Wildlife Art

Click this link to go on a virtual tour of the museum.

Here are some facts about the museum.

 

Lastly, we’ll end with the Jackson Hole Playhouse

Here is a little clip of what it’s like at the Playhouse.

This is the history of the Playhouse.

 

We hope you enjoyed this short virtual tour of Jackson Hole.

Hopefully you are staying safe and healthy!

Flat Creek Inn sign

Wash Your Worries Away at Astoria Hot Springs!

*Disclaimer – At the time of writing this, only locals are allowed into Astoria due to Covid-19 restrictions. When it is safe again, it will open to the general public. Check their website for current updates*

We all love a good hot springs!

What is Astoria Hot Springs?

It is a beautiful piece of nature that includes three hot spring pools, a children’s pool, and a leisure pool for families and groups. The three pools that make up the hot springs are called the Meadow Pool, the River Pool, and the Waterfall Pool. The Waterfall Pool includes a special waterfall that can hit just the right spot to release neck and shoulder tension. All three soaking pools have natural hot water that is full of minerals, beautiful scenic views, and a relaxing atmosphere. It is opening September 11th, 2020!

 

Where is it located?

Near Hoback, Wyoming

 

What does it look like?

See what it looks like right now by watching this live web camera !

 

How hot is the water?

It averages about 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ahhhhhhhhh!

How much does it cost?

$14 for adults

$10 for children

Free for babies under 2

 

How far is it from Jackson Hole?

About 26 minutes from downtown Jackson (16.9 miles).

About 30 minutes from Flat Creek Inn (18.8 miles).

 

Want to know more about the history of Astoria?

This hot springs has a rich and long history here in Wyoming. After being available to the public for many years, it had to be shut down in the late 1990’s due to lack of funds and resources. More recently, the Trust for Public Land jumped in and launched a campaign to save the Astoria Hot Springs. After a huge amount of public support and funding it has been reconstructed and is now reopening! They are continuing to develop and preserve the surrounding land and nature areas in an upcoming construction phase so that Astoria Park will last for many years to come.

One of our owners here at the Flat Creek Inn has many fond memories of swimming at Astoria Hot Springs as a child, and they are so thrilled it’s opening again.

Learn more about the history of Astoria by clicking here.

 

We are so excited about the reopening of Astoria Hot Springs, and we are crossing our fingers that the general public will be able to visit it soon! (And when you do visit, be sure and stay at the Flat Creek Inn…we hear it’s the best deal around!)

 

 

The Jackson Hole Antler Arches

Every year, more than 2.6 million visitors pass through Jackson, Wyoming—and according to Instagram, just about every one of them posted a picture of themselves under one of the four iconic antler arches found on the corners of Town Square, formally named George Washington Memorial Park. How much do you know about this must-see Jackson attraction?

attractive people under arch
My husband and I under the antler arches.

How old are these arches?

The first antler arch was built on the southwest corner of Town Square by the local Rotary Club in 1953. The arch became an immediate hit with tourists so the Rotary Club began planning for additional arches on the other three corners. These were built between 1966 and 1969.

Wow, so the antlers are pretty old, then.

Not exactly. As you can imagine, 60-year old antlers probably aren’t the most photogenic. Age, decay, and theft left the antler arches looking a little dingy. About 15 years ago, the Rotary Club started working to replace all the arches. The price of antlers increased over the last 60 years, so they got creative and auctioned off the older arches to fund the new project. One of them sold for $59,000! (That man obviously uses antlers in all of his decorating.) The work began in 2007 and the final arch was finished by 2015. The new arches should be good until 2040.

The antler arch
The antler arch—one of four, to be precise.

Seems like a lot of antlers. Where do all they come from?

It is a lot of antlers! Each set of antlers weighs between 5 and 10 pounds. All four arches use between 10,000 to 12,000 pounds of antlers combined, or about 2,000 sets each! Unlike horns, antlers are naturally shed every year. Jackson is home to the National Elk Refuge and each year local Boy Scout troops collect about 2,000 pounds of left behind antlers after the elk leave for the season. The remainder of the antlers were purchased from dealers in the area.

How does one go about making antler arches?

Apparently it’s a really intricate process. The new antler arches have steel frames and workers individually weave antlers around each and around the frame. They stay up using mostly gravity and friction, but there are a few screws for support, and to deter thieves.

Were any elk harmed in the making of this arch?

No.

Want to spice up your Instagram profile with your own picture under the arches? Book your summer stay at Flat Creek Inn! (And bring your mask.)

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