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?
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.
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?
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.)