I believe the lazy dog rolled over, went “woof,” grabbed the quick brown fox by the back of her neck, had 8 pupkits by her because she wasn’t fast enuff, and then thought he was king of the dogpile. I say that because Foxie had her pupkits under the tack room this spring, and then hung out with them in the garden culvert, until 2 male Grizzlies tore the fence apart and broke off the plum tree branches over Foxie’s head recently. The quick brown fox and her pupkits fled, as did the lazy dog.
Tony O. 10/12/03
Since there are many older folks who knew and liked Tom Molesworth’s Cowboys and Indians High Style, several have suggested we take in as residents here at the Institute and Ranch folks from other states who want to retire where there’s peace and tranquillity, perfect views, lots of recreational activities, none of the stresses found elsewhere, and yet plenty of action.
Accordingly, we have plans to start Sweet Spirit Elderberry Farm for folks who can afford to retire part of, most of, or all of, their year among the gardens and orchards along Post Creek with its old growth Cedar Forest. This is where Pileated Woodpeckers, Flickers, and Grouse nest and play, and where we grow and turn into jams and jellies the wild elderberries, raspberries, strawberries, and other fruits we grow in our orchards. Elders (mostly) among the elderberries, if you will!
Our concept is simple – none of us ever really retire, we just transition to doing other useful and productive activities as long as possible, then simply enjoying the view and the others busy around us. Some are fortunate to retire and start their transition early in life. Some encounter a handicap and retire because of it. Some just need a vacation break from their other life.
Our ranch Guest House now has a new cedar shake roof, and we have plans for modernizing 2 bathrooms and adding a hot tub and game room. The Molesworth Lodge will continue to be used for daytime activities and the Bunk House and Allard Log Homestead will become staff homes. Residents will have full run over the whole ranch.
We’re now taking applications from prospective residents and staff, or contact us by email if this interests you! Sweet Spirit Elderberry Farm will open during the summer of 2005 so folks can think and plan ahead.
Tony O. 10/7/03
by Kelly Strong
I watched the flag pass by one day,
It fluttered in the breeze;
A young Marine saluted it,
And then he stood at ease.
I looked at him in uniform,
So young, so tall, so proud;
With hair cut square and eyes alert,
He’d stand out in any crowd.
I thought, how many men like him
Had fallen through the years?
How many died on foreign soil?
How many mothers’ tears?
How many pilots’ planes shot down?
How many foxholes were there
That served as soldiers’ graves?
No. Freedom is not Free.I heard the sound of Taps one night,
When everything was still;
I listened to the bugler play,
And felt a sudden chill.
I wondered just how many times
I thought of all the children,
I thought about a graveyard
Enjoy your freedom and God bless our troops. Show your support!
Tony O. 7/17/03
One of Thomas C. Molesworth’s first major commissions was a job he did in 1930 for Philadelphia media tycoon Moses Annenberg, furnishing a huge rustic log Lodge at Annenberg’s Ranch A, about 5 miles south of Beulah, Wyoming. This is an easy visit for travelers along Interstate 90 between Rapid City SD and Sheridan WY, and not far from Devils Tower which is well worth the trip. Close to the SD – WY line, east of Gillette, sits Beulah. Curious to see how much of Molesworth’s fine work had survived the 73 years since Molesworth put together the Ranch A Lodge, we drove the short red clay road south from Beulah, found the Ranch A gate, discovered the Lodge was unlocked, and carefully inspected every room. Alas, there remains only a Molesworth chandelier, several Molesworth light fixtures, several game animal mounts, and a wooden Ranch A sign. We were pleased to discover the Lodge’s logs had recently been re-oiled, and the grounds look cared-for, by the Ranch A Restoration Foundation. Anyone may join RARF and they welcome volunteer and financial helps.
Ranch A Lodge is now rented out for weddings, retreats, and to summer geology classes from University of Wyoming. A marvelous set of sandstone cliffs hangs above the Lodge. And, there has been a fish hatchery and some marine research activity on the original Ranch A grounds. However, Ranch A Lodge serves as another example of how “price” and “value” for Molesworth collectibles have caused the furnishings to become disassociated from their original sites. Rustic reproduction chairs, bunk beds and bureaus have replaced all of the nearly 400 original Molesworth creations! Except for the few now seen at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center & Museum in Cody WY, no one knows where the rest of the Molesworthys have been taken.
Here’s a link to Ranch A at Beulah, Wyoming. Ranch A was furnished by T. C. Molesworth in “Cowboys & Indians High-Style” for the Annenberg Family of Philadelphia Inquirer / TV GUIDE fame.
Tony O. 7/10/03
Visitors to Cody, Wyoming, should not miss the Edward T. Grigware paintings called the Cody Murals. The Cody Murals were painted about 1950 by Grigware who often collaborated with Thomas C. Molesworth, usually by painting 3′ X 4′ vertically curved dioramas, and was a prolific and versatile painter. The Cody Murals decorate a dome- shaped circular room, something akin to a daylight “planetarium”, and are Grigware’s representation of the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, from Joseph Smith’s first visitation, through the Mormon pioneers, and their settling of the Salt Lake Valley. LDS members offer guided tours during the summer touring season. (No flash camera equipment is permitted, so as to prevent light damage to the murals.) Adjoining the murals one finds a small but choice museum in which artifacts, maps, paintings, and photos of early church and Wyoming history are displayed. Perhaps the most interesting display is of a model cut-a-way Lodge fully furnished with miniature Molesworth furnishings, including a miniature family participating in a weekly Family Home Evening before the Lodge fireplace.
Molesworth and Grigware attended Chicago Institute of Fine Arts together following World War I, in which Molesworth had participated as a United States Marine. (Just west of Chicago was Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School of Architecture. It appears that Wright’s designs, and especially those of F. “Lloyd” Wright, Jr., greatly influenced some of Molesworth’s Lodge commissions. A glance at 1929 photos of “Lloyd” Wright’s studio residence in West Hollywood demonstrate how quickly Molesworth adopted some of Wright’s concepts for interior design.) Grigware also painted murals for the Nature Room at the LDS Los Angeles Temple, one of the largest and most used; two huge framed paintings which once graced the banking floor at Farmer’s Bank in Spokane (donated to and displayed at the Spokane Art Museum today); many paintings he gifted to close friends; the famous Bottoms Up framed painting (around which Cody’s Holiday Inn has built it’s Bottoms Up Lounge); several WPA posters done during WWII, the best known being Loose Lips Sink Ships, and several WWII paintings done in Alaska for the US Navy and presently displayed in the Navy Art Collection, 805 Kidder Breese St., SE Building, 67 Washington Navy Yard.
Besides the Cody Murals, the Buffalo Bill Museum in Cody also has a collection of Grigware paintings and Molesworth originals and reproductions. For those who appreciate both Molesworth and Grigware creations, Cody is a wonderful place to visit, and is home for at least three of the Molesworth furnishings reproducers; How Kola, Lester Santos, and Taggarts. I hope some day that members of the Grigware Family will compile a comprehensive catalog of Edward T. Grigware’s paintings, together with photos of Edward and Blanche, and stories about them, before all those who knew them depart for the Happy Hunting Grounds.
Here are a couple of photos taken at the Cody WY Visitor Center, which is inside the north end of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. These are of a miniature Molesworth Lodge model which greatly resembles our Molesworth Lodge living room. Thomas C. Molesworth and Edward C. Grigware both lived and worked in Cody, had been friends at Chicago Institute of Art (close to Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Prairie School” of Architecture and Design). Grigware painted the 360 degree dome murals seen in the next room which portray the first 150 years’ history of the LDS Church. And of course Grigware painted the two dioramas we have in our Lodge living room!
Tony O. 7/10/03
When I first came on this ranch 30 years ago, I asked the former owners why they thought the skeet range had been built where we still see it today. Since both the telephone lines and the electric power lines were close to the field of fire, I wondered why, with so many other suitable places available, the Romer Family had placed the half-circle skeet range right there. Prior owner Reuben Moss had mentioned to me one day that there were still 2 large rocks left of the several he’d tried to dig and move shortly after he came here about 1963. He’d cautioned me not to swath the small pasture south of the skeet range without moving the last 2 rocks, or at least flagging them, lest I wreck some guards and knives on the swather. With so much more important work to do first, I’d forgotten about those 2 rocks – until I did hit one, doing about 50 bucks worth of damage to the swather’s header! After baling and stacking, I went back into that pasture with my front loader bucket, dug the 2 large rocks, and hauled them down to a pile where Reuben said he’d moved the others. However, it now appears that the Romers may have known that the nearly circular arrangement of rocks they found here in 1936 were a Medicine Wheel. It appears that they chose this spot for a skeet range so as to occupy part of the actual outline earlier used by aboriginal peoples. By pouring a concrete skeet range, they – perhaps inadvertently – or perhaps deliberately – preserved the north half of what may have been a Medicine Wheel.
West of the Continental Divide, Medicine Wheels are little known. The two best known ones are located in the NW plateau of the Big Horn Mountains, north off US Highway # 14, between Ranchester and Lovell, Wyoming, preserved in Big Horn National Forest as a National Historical Site; and in Alberta. Both of these are east of the Divide, in short grass prairie or high short grass plateau. I have been told repeatedly by Native Aboriginal People that nearly every aboriginal tribe had built and used Medicine Wheels. So there must have been many, and some may still remain un-rediscovered. It’s another example of the original peoples using and closing the circle, noting what we call the summer and winter solstices and which they observed as the sun rising and sun setting points as the seasons moved around in a circle. Observing fire rings and tipi rings, we know that tribal peoples before Europeans came here used elliptical and nearly circular tipis, set their tipis in circular villages, and often visited special places at key times during the year where these Medicine Wheels sometimes were established. Quoting Black Elk,
“Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round – the Earth is round like a ball, and so are the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round. Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.”
(Wisdom of the elders from Black Elk Speaks, by John G. Neihardt, by permission of the University of Nebraska Press.)
Many Medicine Wheels appear to measure out at approximately 80′ in diameter, about 245′ in circumference. Ours, if Medicine Wheel it really was, measures 120′ in diameter, and the rocks appear to have perfectly enabled sighting across the center cairn at summer sun rising (June 21st on our present-day calendar) in the notch at the top of Mt. Harding, and the winter sun rising (December 21st) in the notch at the top of Kakashe Peak. The Spring and Fall Equinox sun risings appear right in the center of McDonald Canyon, between Frog Peak and Red Butte Peak, sighting from Chief Mark, across the skeet range center, over Chief Pull, due east.
One reason Medicine Wheels west of the Continental Divide are not easy to spot or preserve is that the generous rainfall west of the Divide and along the Mission Range permits longer grass and more lush vegetation. It may be that some of the native aboriginals who danced here for the Romer Family and their guests told the Romers about Medicine Wheels, pointed out this one, and inspired the Romers to preserve it in a different form and usage. It would be of interest if pilots spotting apparent rock circles west of the divide would photograph them and email us their photos, so we may investigate and measure them, and encourage native aboriginals nearby to use and preserve them.
Tony O. 7/10/03
Visitors here may wonder why so much USMC material appears on and is linked from this site. It’s because Thomas C. Molesworth served as a young man in the Corps during World War I in France. Someday we hope his descendants will report on his experiences, share copies of any old photos, donate copies of his USMC records, old uniforms, awards, and other mementos, so that we can properly recognize his military service to his country and permanently curate and preserve them for posterity. Fortunately for all of us and for American interior design, Tom Molesworth did not make the ultimate sacrifice in France, or come home gassed or mangled, or make a life-long career in the Marine Corps as so many of his companions did. Instead, he returned relatively unharmed yet influenced positively by his experiences overseas, attended Chicago Institute of Arts, making lifelong friendships there with Edward C. Grigware, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jr., and others who became occasional collaborators and helped as “Moley” developed his “Cowboys and Indians High Style” into a distinctive Western American art form and sub-school of interior design. Artist Edward C. Grigware, “Moley’s” friend and collaborator on Western American dioramas, also contributed to United States war efforts, by painting various posters for the WPA. Among his best is the famous “Loose Lips Sink Ships” poster. Some of his fellow poster painters creating specific Marine Corps recruitment and promotional artwork were Howard Chandler Christy, Sydney H. Reisenberg, John A. Coughlin, L. A. Shafer, C. B. Falls (Charles Buckles), and James Montgomery Flagg.
Col. Dave “D.J.” Leighton USMC (ret.) in Mess Dress Uniform
The Marine Corps is also noted here because Tony Ostheimer, thirty years a resident at MMI & Ranch and responsible for changing the Molesworth- designed Old Lodge and Ranch into a preserved not- for- profit museum for reference and enjoyment by future generations of Americans, served twelve years total Marine Corps time from recruit to USMCR. Captain. The Marine Corps has a huge effect on every man and woman who enlists. Successful passage through the Corps’ rigorous Boot Camps, presently at Parris Island and San Diego, means achievement at high standards in physical development and endurance, survival skills, weapon handling and marksmanship, hand to hand combat, small unit tactics and teamwork, and a wide range of experiences that tend to build confidence in self, trust in one’s teammates, and esprit for the Corps in general. That “Moley” was a better man and destined for high levels of achievement might have been forecast the day he enlisted. That he successfully built distinctive furnishings for almost 40 years, that he was entrusted with huge commissions, that his creations have survived and lasted well, some for more than 75 years, should not be surprising. The Corps has always taken “A Few Good Men”, built them up to endure and achieve even under duress and stressful circumstances, and helped each outlast personal disappointments, debilitating wounds, and even conditions beyond their control.
MMI presently supports two on-going Marine Corps related projects. First, MMI is assisting the family of Marine Pfc. Louis C. Charlo gain recognition for his brave acts from February 19th to March 2nd 1945 on Iwo Jima, where he was subsequently killed in action by a Japanese sniper at age 19. Pfc. Louis Charlo was one of the 45 Marines who battled their way up towards the top of Mount Suribachi, denying the Japanese further use of that high ground for observation posts and enfilading fire purposes. He was one of the 6 out of 45 who survived that bloody and successful climb to plant the FIRST American flag, enabling the later substitution of the second and larger flag (which everyone sees in War Correspondent Rosenthal’s famous photo and in the Iwo Jima Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery). Pfc. Charlo probably deserves posthumous award of the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and even perhaps the Silver Star.Elsewhere on this web site interested visitors may find this story in more detail with links to other Iwo Jima USMC veterans’ accounts which name Charlo and recount parts of his exploits. Pfc Louis C. Charlo is buried in the southeast corner of the Catholic Cemetery, 1/4 mile south of the Historic Mission just south off St. Mary’s Road on Olson Road in St. Ignatius MT. We keep fresh American Flags flying at his grave, and renew our thanks to him and the nearly 17,000 other Marines who lost their lives taking Iwo Jima away from the Japanese, so that thousands of USAF personnel who needed to make emergency landings on flights to and from Japan might land and live instead of pancaking into the Pacific Ocean.
MMI also notes here the National United States Marine Corps Museum project. The Corps has never before had a national museum in which to preserve and display key articles showing the history and achievements of Marines from 1775 at Tun Tavern, Philadelphia PA, to the “Desert Storm” Gulf War for liberation of Kuwait. But now, for the first time, with purchase of 135 acres adjoining the USMC Schools at Quantico, Virginia, Marine Corps veterans and other volunteers and donors will be building a permanent Memorial Museum facility. And for more about the United States Marine Corps we recommend these web sites:
Semper Fi! – Tony O. 2/22/03