Wyoming’s Historic LX Bar Ranch


Gateway to LX Bar . . . .

Cattle rancher and politician John B. Kendrick began construction in 1910 on a set of stone buildings on the west bank of the Powder River on land he purchased from A. J. Collins in 1902.  His goal was to consolidate his other ranch holdings–the K and the OW, which stretched across the Wyoming state line into Montana, encompassing a vast empire of 210,000 acres.  It was a full day’s ride from the OW in Montana to the LX Bar.


The cornerstone of the LX Bar . . . .

The LX Bar brand was originally owned by the Stanton-Howard Livestock Company that ran cattle along the Powder River as early as 1878.  The brand passed on to Collins, and then to Kendrick, who set up a spectacular ranch headquarters that stand today as a testament to his ambition.


West side entry to ranch house . . . .

The Powder River can be seen in the background and carves out a wide river bed that ebbs and flows, changing course with the seasons.  A long porch extends along the entire east side of the house, facing the morning sun and the river.   Master stonemason Oscar Husman was hired to build the five- bedroom house, bunkhouse, main barn, processing barn, solar-heated poultry barn, and a service building used for laundry, cooking, ice storage and coal storage.  All were built with eighteen-inch-thick sandstone walls and two-foot-wide foundations.


Cook house and service building . . . .

The sandstone outcroppings that rim the hill sides in the area above the river became quarries for the stone cutters, who also included the Byland brothers, the Hedeen brothers, and Richard Salstrom.  During construction, Husman and his family lived at the site.


The main barn . . . .

The LX Bar is located in the northern Powder River Basin of northeast Wyoming, just east of the Campbell-Sheridan county line and just south of the Montana border.  Kendrick believed the county road was going to be put in along the west side of the Powder River. The road does begin on the west side and travels by the K Ranch (today’s PeeGee Ranch) and Kendrick Canal before crossing over to the east side of the river near the junction of the river and Clear Creek.  Unfortunately, the rural electric lines were put in along the road and the LX  Bar was never converted to electricity.


Processing barn . . . .

Cattle from Texas trail drives were brought through a corral, dipping station and holding pens before being turned loose on the range.


Dipping station . . . .

A long concrete chute steps down about 10 feet at the deepest point to immerse the cattle in a potion concocted to kill ticks and other pests.  Cowboys would dunk the cattle’s heads as they came through to be sure they were completely submerged.


Exterior of dipping station . . . .

This bovine swimming pool extended about 100 feet in length and it must have been quite a feat and a spectacle to immerse several hundred cattle in this manner.  Where was Temple Grandin when you needed her?


Sentinels of the past . . . .

Cedar posts were cut from the nearby pine ridge and are still standing strong in this corral at the processing barn 106 years later.


Solar heated poultry barn . . . .

I found this structure to be particularly interesting.  Built into the hillside, it is protected from the Wyoming winds and snow during winter, and remains cool in summer.  The windows face east for maximum sunlight and solar gain.  They are currently boarded up as part of the stabilization effort underway by the Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources Department.


Chicken roosts . . . .

The interior of the poultry barn was dark and difficult to photograph, but these birds lived in relative splendor compared with most early day chicken houses.


Poultry barn . . . .

Funding is not available at this time for a complete restoration of the LX Bar, however since the ranch buildings and 50 acres were acquired this past summer, recent work on the ranch has included mortar replacement, chimney and wall stabilization, roof maintenance, manure removal and the “buttoning up” of various openings.


Main barn and corral . . . .

The main barn is immense and encompasses two distinct wings–one running east and west and one running north and south, joined in the center by the horse barn.  The blacksmith shop is in the east end.


Horse barn . . . .

Horses were penned in the corral at the main barn or kept in the stable.  These timbers and wood planks seem as rugged and sturdy as the day they were constructed.


Sandstone detailing . . . .

The rounded edges in the horse barn took some effort and precision.  The stonemasons did a fine job of it.  Makes for a nice perch for the birds.


Blacksmith shop . . . .

Some of the new roofing materials seem at odds with the natural surroundings of stone and wood.  All of the buildings had tin roofing which had begun to loosen and blow away. Some replacements pieces had to be added, as well as tightening down all the existing tin roofing to prevent water damage.


Tack room . . . .

Saddles, bridles, harnesses and a variety of leather appurtenances were stored in two large rooms.


Bunkhouse . . . .

Cowboys had their own quarters.  One old timer recalls that in winter, the frost would be built up on the stone walls inside and they would be forced to move their bunks in to the center of the room around the stove.  Wyoming winters used to be more severe!


Cowboy dipping station . . . .

The wash room in the bunkhouse still contains this old ceramic bathtub.  It appears somebody borrowed the plumbing, but since they didn’t have running water, it doesn’t matter.  Water had to be heated on the stove for a Saturday night bath, and likely more than one cowboy made it through one tub of clean water.


Bunkhouse facing east . . . .

The handsome stone columns and porches  on the living quarters made for a very refined structure on the prairie.  The design of these structures must be attributed to the master stonemason Oscar Husman.


The cook stove . . . .

The primary kitchen that served the ranch was in the multi-purpose building that comprised the laundry and coal and ice storage.  This old stove could tell some stories about the cooks and meals that were created on its burners.  I doubt they had to resort to cooking shoe leather, however, and could not help but wonder how the shoe was placed on the stove??


Main ranch house, different perspective . . . .

In 1910, the same year this ranch headquarters was constructed,  John Kendrick was elected to the Wyoming State Senate.  Four years later, he would become governor of Wyoming.  He was re-elected in 1922 and 1928.  He and his wife Eula built their dream home in Sheridan– Trail End– which was donated by the Sheridan County Historical Society to the State of Wyoming for use as a historic house museum.  Nearly 20,000 visitors annually tour the Trail End.


Closed for now . . . .

The Kendrick Cattle Company was in existence until 1988 when family members discontinued operation of the ranch holdings.  In 1992 the ranch became the property of music producer James Guercio, who recently donated the ranch headquarters and some land to the State of Wyoming to be part of the state parks system.  It is the only historical ranch in Wyoming that is now owned by the public.  All the buildings are being stabilized, but the ranch is closed to public access awaiting major renovations and a pedestrian bridge across Powder River. That should be some bridge to stretch across the meandering Powder — a mile wide and an inch deep–too thin to plow, too thick to drink!!

5 thoughts on “Wyoming’s Historic LX Bar Ranch

  1. I lived on the LX Bar for a number of years and have m own memories (and photos). I have seen all seasons and events pass in that time including Kendrick Cattle fade away. My family knew theirs from the 1880’s since we were neighbors on the northwest corner. Few people are left that have ridden the expanses of those rangelands. I rode for them from 71-75 and worked the E-U, the Forks, the 76 and then the LX Bar. There are still many things that will remain with us for which this was home.


    • Scott, I would love to hear more of your stories of the LXBar, and would like to include a photo or two along with your memories in the blog that I wrote. It is such a unique page in Wyoming’s history! Thank you for writing.
      Patricia Ullery Whitaker – ullery@rtconnect.net


  2. I have a picture of cowboys, including my dad, Jack Lytton and Mr. Kendrick. They are on the front porch of the main house.
    We lived across the river, up on the hill, until around 1958.


    • Jackie, thank you for writing. Would you be interested in letting me include this photo on my blog on the LXBar? I could include some of your memories, if you like.
      Patricia Ullery Whitaker


  3. Hello. My grandfather was Norman Nelson Moody. He was born in 1893 and at age 17 he was one of the original cowboys on the Kendrick ranch before enlisting in the US Army during World War I. Because of his natural ability with horses he was assigned to a Cavalry Unit on the front lines in France as an Ammunition Transport Wagon Driver. He loved his years as a cowboy on the Kendrick ranch and told stories of riding the fences, looking for strays, the beauty of the country, the snow and the cold and more. He remains one of our family legends…
    My granddaddy was a cowboy
    I’m told he rode the range
    A strong and silent Scotsman
    Norman Moody was his name.
    He was born and raised back East they say
    Pennsylvania was his home,
    But his heart belonged to the western sky
    And his mind was set to roam.
    (There is more but I will spare you)
    Granddad married a school teacher from Cheyenne and eventually moved back East where he had 6 children and 46 grandchildren. Even so, in the mid 1950’s he bought a Volkswagon van, threw a mattress and a bed roll in the back and once again headed west to revisit his youth and the Kendrick ranch. He truly was a cowboy at heart and one of the last of this very special breed of men.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.