I stumbled upon Smith Mansion by chance while surfing the web. I'm intrigued by the Mansion and the story behind it. Have you ever considered writing a book about your dad, the mansion, your upbringing? After going through this site I didn't see any mention of your mom, either. I've got a million questions??? lol. Please consider teaming up with a professional writer and telling the story so many of us would love to read. Best wishes!!!
|By||Bobbi - Wyoming Native|
|Subject||A true vision|
Your father sounds like he was a facinating man, a true visionary a true artist. I grew up in Wyoming and have seen the Smith Mansion many times on our travels. I too am an artist and have an appreciation for all things designed from an artists mind. My youngest son who is now 7, saw the mansion 2 years ago on our family trip. He has never stopped talking about it and wants to be an architect when he grows up. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us and I wish you the best of luck in the restoration.
|By||Gloria Marcus lohre|
Growing up in Powell a trip up North Fork was a part of our families activities, fishing, picnicing,etc. But one of the best memories was the excitment i had to see the mansion on the hill....I would just stare and think how awesome it would be to go inside and how great it would be to live there....being raised in powell I had the awesome privelage to watch the house grow through the years..I admire your dads work and his vision he had for this special place...I moved from wyo in 1982, I now live in the northeast corner of South Dakota, but have lots of friends and family that still live there..so we get back there often. Last summer when we were home....my husand and I took a drive to yellowstone and he got to see the house for the first time...I was sooooo excited to see it again, my heart is happy to hear that their is preservation work going on, I wish you the best and pray for many financial blessing to come your way to continue the dream your dad had to see this finished...Thank you so much for what your doing for him and for those of us that grew up in your back yard and the memories it brings back for us...It truly is a beautiful place
|By||Jelly Beans and Little Finch Photography|
We drove past this mansion leaving Yellowstone National Park. When I first saw it, I thought it looked very much like the castle in the Japanese animation Howl's Moving Castle by Hayao Miyazaki. Now that I have found out the history behind it and a preservation project is being carried out, it has totally changed my perception. Good luck with your preservation project!
Your dad's work is amazing! Through his ar'T'chitecture, he has flawlessly captured the awesome wildness, wonder, grandeur and independent spirit that is Wyoming! His work is a masterpiece and worthy of preservation. I have only seen it once on a drive with my family from Yellowstone to Mount Rushmore. My father, who was also an architect and carpenter, and I were so impressed after passing the "house," we turned the car around and went back to get pictures. Our curiosity was piqued, and we began an internet search to learn more about this fascinating piece of architecture. If it had been open to the public, we would have waited in line for the opportunity to see it up close. Your father's spirit certainly lives on through his handiwork! Blessings to you and your family in your effort to protect and preserve this treasure!
|By||Kees van Dobben|
Just read about the mansion in an English language Thai newspaper (Bangkok Post), and I am really impressed by the building. I hope becoming known internationally will help you with your task of restoring and preserving the mansion.
|Subject||mansion, Date 2011-11-15|
so the article in "All Roads Lead to Yellowstone" travel guide. Always wondered what was behind that magnificent structure. Now I know. Hope it can be preserved for others to see.
|By||Nathan D. Brown|
|Subject||Remembering my tour of the Mansion|
Dear Sunny, sorry to hear about your brother he was a really nice guy treated me like a bro, while I lived in Cody. You were also a gem of a lady.. I know it was Bucky's dream to see the Mansion finished. I thank you guy's for the personal tour..Hope you are well,and keep up the good work... I would like to see the place again and help in the preservation.. hopefully one day.. Thanks again..Nate
|By||Chris Wheatley, Cheltenham UK|
|Subject||Crazy House restoration|
We passed by this place on our way to Cody and wondered what on earth it was. Got to this website by hunting down the road on Google Earth until I spotted it. Hope you succeed with the restoration and re-opening - maybe a cafe and gift shop ?
|By||Lorrie - from Saskatchewan|
We just returned from a family vacation in Wyoming, and like many others saw the Mansion, at the time wondered what it actually was, took a picture as we drove by and had to google it once I got home. I am a tourist who loves historical buildings and once safe, would definitely pay for a guided tour of the Mansion. After recently touring the Moss Mansion, I have learned the value of guided tours with the family stories make the experience much more interesting and enjoyable than just looking around in awe!
Good luck on your project!
|Subject||Way to go Sunny!|
This project I know is a hard task to take on, your dad, and Bucky I know are very proud of you! Keep up the good work! The next time you come down to work on it, let me know so I can help! I am also really looking forward to the fudraiser :)
|Subject||Open for visits|
Hi. Just passed by this interesting house last week. I'm glad you're trying to preserve it. Please open this wonderful place for visits. The entrance fees could be just what you need to keep it here for generations. I would love to be able to see it up close.
|By||Lindsay (Craft) Fair|
|Subject||Used to live near there.|
Hi Sunny and Bucky. It's so cool to see that you have created a website to honor your Dad's house! Every once in a while I search the web on places where I used to live, and I found your site.
My Mother stopped in Wapiti during a cross-country years back mainly due to your Dad's cabin. She's an artist, and the architecture really inspired her. We ended up living at the hotel below it where she worked for a summer just so she could be near the place.
My little sister and I would follow our Mom up the hill and play with the kittens (which we gave butter packets!) while she picked Lee's brain about everything cabin. He was a very kind man. I think we actually met you too (Sunny and Buckles) in passing, and Lee's brother Dee and his family. Everyone was very nice to us.
I remember that there were lots of geodes on the floor. Were those left after the cleanup? They seemed like part of the house. This was all back in 1989-1992, we ended up living in Cody for a couple years before moving on. I was 10, so it's been a while.
I remember my Mom saying that Lee had died after a fall from the roof. She was sad. We live in Alaska now, where there are lots of cabins, but none like Lee's!
|By||Sunny Larsen = Smith Mansion Owner|
|Subject||Re: Used to live near there.|
I have to say, your email brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad that you wrote to us.
I remember giving the kittens butter packets. I haven't thought about that for years, and your post brought that wonderful memory to light. It gave me a chuckle. I remember them being the flat pieces with paper on them. Is that right? Boy, that was a long time ago.
I started this website in Oct. 2009. I have done everything on my own up to this point. It has been quite the challenge so far.
I wish Bucky were here to stand beside me. That's how it should be, but life never works out the way we want it to. Bucky passed away while tubing the river in Cody. It changed my life in many ways. Besides me Dad, his death was extremely hard to deal with. We should be growing old and raising our kids close together.
That accident somehow gave me a push to start the Preservation Project, which I needed. I don't know if I would have done it or not, otherwise.
This is a huge project and it will probably take my entire lifetime to accomplish it, but I am determined to save my childhood home. Time will tell, I guess.
Some of those round rocks are still there, in the cold room. They aren't geodes however. I am big into rock hounding and thought they were as well, until I broke one open. But they are still there and are very much part of the Mansion. They came out of the ground prior to the foundation.
Let me know what you think of the site. I have worked on it for over a year now. It has taken some doing, let me tell you.
I am delighted to see that something is being done to preserve this work of Lee Smith. I always thought it was so sad that Lee worked so hard on it, only to have it sit there and be unused. I haven't yet read the entire web site, but I hope that you are considering holding tours as part of your fundraising event -- even if only once a week during the summer. I think you would get more donations that way if people could see the incredible work done by Lee. I haven't been there in years, but I still remember how he fitted the pieces together and what wonderful workmanship it had.
|Subject||Quite the view|
My grandparents owned a home behind yours on Green Creek (Murray Lane to be exact - My Grandparents were Hansen & Marie Murray) and I remember at family gatherings the view from the front window was your home. It was a topic of many conversations - as you might imagine. My grandpa knew your Dad. How well, I can't remember. I do remember going on a walk with Grandpa and we walked across the road to the house. Your dad was not home and we did not go close to house but I remember how enormous it seemed. I feel very lucky to have watched it "grow" as I was growing up. I should take my son up to Green Creek so he can see where his Great-Grandparents lived and see the "view" from their home. I am sure he will be as in awe as I was.
We are currently gearing up for a Fundraiser to be held in Cody, Wyoming, in June of 2012. Keep checking back for further information. We have a lot of exciting events planned!!
|By||Brandon Conroy (from Maryland)|
Sunny, I would like to thank you and your family for all your labor, especially for this website and making all this information and pictures available. I saw the mansion for the first time in 1999 during a cross-country road trip with my friend Andy Smith. Our first reaction was "What in the world is that?" and we snapped a photo as we drove by. For years, every time I saw the photo I thought "there must be a story behind this amazing structure," but I was never able to learn about it because I didn't know what it was called, or anything. Finally today, I decided to try to find it on Google Maps, based on my recollection of where it was, and I found it... along with photos, and your comment on one of the photos giving this website. EUREKA!! I was SO DELIGHTED to learn all about the mansion, and I am so glad you are working to preserve it. This is a remarkable piece of art that should be protected and preserved, may God bless your efforts and grant you success.
We recently stayed in Cody, WY and drove into Yellowstone on several days. I was watching for the Smith Mansion since I had seen it on the internet and found your website. When we saw it, I had my husband pull into the little motel and campground below it, right on the highway. I couldn't see exactly where to go up to see the house any closer. My husband went into the motel office to ask if it was all right if we parked there just for a minute to take a picture, and he was chased out by the rude person behind the desk. He stated we were on private property, the mansion was private property & no one was allowed to take pictures. So, I would assume this is the same person the poster from 8/17/10 ran into. I would advise fans of the mansion not to pull into this motel area, and perhaps you could put a simple map on your website showing people where to go for pictures. I would have loved to get a little closer. But at any rate, the mansion is extraordinary and breathtaking and I think it is quite a tribute to the beautiful land around it. I hope that one day it can be finished as your father dreamed and everyone can enjoy it. Keep up the great work!
|By||Sunny Smith Larsen, Smith Mansion Owner|
Thank you for the post Amy! I am sure glad to get some clarification on this matter. I am sure not happy about it; however, I cannot control the behavior of others. I am a little offended by the Green Creek Motel for treating you and anyone else like this.
I am working very hard on this project and so far the experience has been wonderful. But I sure don't appreciate the actions taken towards visitors who come to the Smith Mansion. It sure doesn't look good for the project itself and of course when I am trying to raise funds for this cause.
I am sure sorry for your experience with the man from the Motel. Sad that the motel would treat people that way, especially when they could be their potential customers.
I sure appreciate the feed back that you have left on our site. The Green Creek Inn, Staff and its owners are not affiliated with the Smith Mansion or Smith Mansion Preservation Project what so ever.
With that said, I also need to let everyone know again that the Smith Mansion and Property are PRIVATE, and there is NO Trespassing! We will not be allowing tours of any kind until the well needed preservation work is started and many critical parts need to be completed prior to opening the doors.
As one of my goals, I am shooting for an online tour and a CD which will be available for purchase in the Smith Mansion Memorabilia Store.
Everyone is welcome to take photographs, but we currently do not have a place for visitors to park and view the mansion. Most people just pull off the highway and park off to the side.
I have thought about adding a pull out for visitors, but it brings up a concern that it would invite people to park and wander up to the mansion and trespass. That is the one thing that I want to avoid. The Mansion is just to dangerous for people to be climbing around on.
I am hoping that this project takes off and that one day I will be able to open the doors to the public. Thanks for the encouragement and your thoughts!! Make sure to bookmark us and keep checking back.
Thanks Again Amy!
ATTN VIEWERS!! PLEASE DO NOT PULL INTO THE GREEN CREEK INN MOTEL PARKING LOT IF YOU ARE THERE TO VIEW THE SMITH MANSION!
|Subject||Re: Re: Beautiful!|
Hi Sunny - thank you for your kind response! Our experience was certainly not your fault - no need to apologize - and it didn't hamper our excitement to see the mansion. I actually had considered staying at that campground on our next visit to Yellowstone because they are closer to the entrance than Cody, but you are right. They definitely scared away potential customers.
One thought on your pull-out idea: I understand your concerns, but it could provide a great opportunity for you. If you could put in a pull-out, maybe you could also put up a sign giving a little information about the mansion. You could also advise that it is private property and no trespassing for now. You could give your website address if people want more information on it. It could potentially generate some more supporters for you. I'm sure many people pass by the mansion never knowing what it is, and this could gain you some more recognition and assistance with your efforts, in addition to providing a nice place to stop for a picture.
Just a thought. I know you have a lot of things to consider. Good luck!
|By||Peg and Nick Eaglehawk|
The pics and story are beautiful. You have done a wonderful job with the web site. We sincerely hope that the restoration project goes well and all works out. If we can help with anything please let us know.
|Subject||Property owners very Rude|
On a recent trip to Yellowstone and Wyoming, we stopped by this establishment to inquire on rates. The apparent owner came out towards our car as we were turning around and approached us. There was a very large house on the hill behind that we were trying to figure out when he came over and made some rude remarks stating he was sure that we saw the sign out front regarding the house on the hill. I said I was not sure what he was talking about but that we were interested in checking out the rates. My son was taking a picture of the large pagoda style house when the owner started yelling at me through our window and said how would I like it if he drove into my yard and started taking pictures. He approached us in a violent manner and I stated again that I was sorry and was just checking on the motel when the house on the hill got our attention. He became violent and I rolled up my window and my husband drove off. It was almost frightening. I would never stay there. This man was a lunatic. We never got far enough to even find out about the motel itself.
|By||Sunny Smith Larsen, Smith Mansion Owner|
|Subject||Re: Property owners very Rude|
Thank you for your post on our site. First off, thank you for taking the time to write to us and also checking out the Smith Mansion. Everyone is more than welcome to look and take photos.
Secondly, I would like to apologize for the behavior that you experienced with this man. I am not sure who it was that confronted you in such an awful manner, but I can assure you that it wasn't me or any representative of the Smith Mansion and/or the property.
I am unclear as to where this exactly took place. Were you up on the hill, below the hill, or on the highway? I am not sure if it was a owner of another property or if it was a man from the mobile home below the hill from the Mansion.
Please clarify because I do have tenants renting from me in that mobile home and I DO NOT approve of that kind of behavior.
I sure wish you would have had a better experience of the Wapiti Valley and its residents.
Please let me know, I wish to look into it further. Feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunny Smith Larsen
I saw the house last year for the 1st time and the fascination for me was unbelievable!! I've never felt so drawn to something but also I also felt eerie when I looked at it! I looked every where for info and read all kinds of strange stories but am really happy to know the TRUTH!! Thank you for the pics the place is amazingly eerie!! I will be back out there this fall and cannot wait to see it again!!
|By||Jerry & Cheri Kruger|
We stayed at the campsite right below the mansion. What a marvelous somewhat spooky building, that I seem to be drawn to. I can see it right where we are camped at. It would be interesting to see the blueprints of the finished mansion. This mansion and the Winchester mansion are two mysterious buildings that just awe me.
I was very much taken in by this impressive structure while on vacation in Wyoming. What a fascinating but sad story. To find out that the blood, sweat and tears that Mr. Smith put into his life long dream was not in vain, and lives on. What a wonderful tribute this web sight is. Thanks for sharing your father's life and dream with us spectators.
|By||Pete and Shereen Peterson|
While on vacation last week we passed the house and I was immediately taken with the obvious work that had been poured into it. I had no idea what is was called and couldn't wait to get home and see if we could find out about it. I was thrilled to find this site. A wonderful story and best of luck. ( And we agree you should write a book)
It's great to see that a great building like that is getting restored and hasn't been ruined by people. I lived in wyoming most of my life and never even knew it was there. i think it is a great project.... i wish you all the best of luck! Hope you make it to the end
Just wanted to say that my boyfriend and I had the luxury of driving by the mansion two years ago while on Holiday in Wyoming (from Alberta!) I was instantly fascinated by the home! Of course I had to stop and take pictures from the road! I am glad to hear that it is in the process of being preserved and maybe used in the future! We'll be back in Wyoming this May and look forward to driving by this beautiful building again!
|Subject||Eager to learn more|
I would be interested in reading about your life growing up in the mansion. Write a book, that would be a wonderful source of funding!! Your dad sounds like an amazing guy, so sad that the house he worked so hard on was also his demise.
|By||Debby Guse Yanoska|
|Subject||My father's story|
From time to time my father, Bud Guse, has told me his story about Lee Smith and his young daughter, Sunny Smith. Back in 1990 my father was working to remodel the Gambel's store in town. Lee would come every day to the work site to ask for any available wood. His young daughter, Sunny, was there sometimes too. My father gave Lee the old discarded Birch flooring from the Gambel's store that he was remodeling. My dad said Lee got 2 truckloads of wood from that store. Lots of wood to help build Lee's mansion. Dad said Lee was a very unique and interesting man. The Smith family mansion is worth preserving. Their home and their story is like no other on earth.
|By||Chanda - Wilton, IA|
|Subject||Best of luck!|
That house was always fascinating me every time we drove by it as I grew up. I still make a point to go by it when I'm back in Wyoming to visit, too! Hope the preservation and cleanup goes well. I'll watch to see what happens!
|By||Billy & Germaine Williams|
|Subject||Friends from Mississippi|
We first saw your place in 2007 while on vacation .We stayed just up the road at Elephant Head Lodge, had a lot of questions about the house. Kevin and Debbie sent us an article out of the Cody Enterprise. Good luck we will be out in July ,check on you then. Billy
I was actually sorting mail just last week when I first learned the Smith Mansion. I happened to catch a glimpse of its picture on the front page of the Powell County newspaper as I was putting it in a mailbox of one of my co-workers. Buildings such as this and their history REALLY intrigue me, so after reading the story I was determined to learn more.
I live in Missoula, Montana otherwise I would be there to help with the clean up. I will be checking your site often to see the progress. Hopefully some day will be able to come see it in person with my family. Best of luck to you!
|Subject||U can count on me!!|
I'm a native Wyomingite and appriciate unique Wyo. people and stuctures. Raised my family in Ten Sleep 30 years ago and drove by your dads place many a time. Family has all grown up now.lOne of my daughters is a defense lawyer in Az. and the other a Dr. of English at the University of Philladelphia. Both remember viewing, in awe, as we passed by. Built a 2story log house w/dormers, myself, "only heat - woodstove" - believe me - the girls rembember those days, maybe the reason they don't live in Wyo. anymore, "chuckle, chuckle" At any rate you can count on me w/truck and flatbed trailer to help out. --Looking forward to meeting you and your husband.-- Allmost forgot to mention, I'm a retired Industrial Arts Teacher, have a couple of tools laying around, and still capable of using them.
|By||Bill and Patti Brewer|
|Subject||Summer beneath the Pagoda|
Patti and I spent the past summer with our good friends, Jeff and Carolyn Rogowsky, who own the Green Creek Inn. We came for a week to visit them, was captivated by the beauty of Wapiti Valley and the hospitality of our friends, and stayed 'til the first of October. The Pagoda(the local common name for the mansion) dominated the ridge above us and we were always fascinated to see the way it presented so differently with the changing light and weather conditions that are part of the everyday in Wyoming. I never went up and into the inside because of my respect for the no trespassing sign and personal safety. If it could be made safe, I'm sure folks would pay to tour and take pictures. I guess the first thing I would suggest would be to try to get the mansion on the National Historical Registery. That might make you eligible for grants etc. I am too far away to be able to haul and tote but if you get something set up for donations we might could make a small one. Remember small donations add up fast, especially in the early phases when the main goal is to stop the deterioration caused by the weather and vandals. It'll be a real project and possibly beyond one person's energy, but I believe others would be willing to form a committee of some kind to provide advice and, with any luck, actual help. LOL If we can come again to the Valley we'll be glad to help.
My family and I grew up in cody. My grandparents were late Al and Ann Vanderpool. I can remember driving past the house to go camping and to go to Yellowstone for the weekend. I always thought it was a cool house to look at as a young kid. I never knew you our your family but that house has always been an eye catcher. And I think it is so neat that you are wanting to do something special with it!! I know that I would want to do the same if it were me. When we go to the park this summer I will have to stop by and show my kids. And take a closer look around myself! I hope that you can finish your fathers dream! And make it even better for him to look down on! I know you will make him very proud. Good luck and God Bless you and your family!
|By||Becky Bereman Grimes|
|Subject||Dreaming the Dream|
I hope this will be something that will be a place where an artist can come for creating and sharing their visions of the Wapiti Valley, I love this place. It would be wonderful to have the old, the new and some visioning into the future.
|Subject||Save the house|
It should be preserved. A local artisan group could convert it into a working studio/bed & breakfast for artists that could donate a portion of their work towards the upkeep of the structure.
|By||Amanda White Villarreal|
Sunny. I think it is great you are fixing up the mansion. I remember spending weekends up there with you and your dad. It was great. It is a beautiful landmark and should be preserved. You dad worked so hard on it and would be so proud of you.
I think it is great that you are trying to preserve the mansion your father built. When I would visit my mom I could see it from my bedroom window. I also loved to point it out to friends that would come to Cody with me. If I lived there still I would be right there helping you. Best wishes to you and this project.
Hi Sunny...we've only met a few times a long long time ago...during my many sumer visits to Cody to see my dad. Your family's mansion is in so many of my family's albumns from all of the vacations out west when I was little and later after my dad moved to Cody. Good luck with this project! I'm going to let my dad know and forward him this link.
|By||Laura Lee Nickerson (Smith)|
I got your note and looked at the site right away. How wonderful. I am so proud of you for taking this on. When we come out to visit we would be glad to help. If you're home for Thanksgiving or xmas please take a moment to go and visit my dad. He would love to see this. He misses his brother every day and will also be so proud of you for this. I know the smith cousins are spread out but know that if you ever need anything from Pony or I we're here for you. I'm bookmarking the site and will come back often. If you don't mind I'll make a link to it off my facebook site and classroom website.
Keep your head above water and your powder dry.
|Subject||visited one time|
Sunny -- Excellent web site. I remember visiting the house while it was in the early stages of construction. I have no idea what year that would have been. In the back of the house, your Dad showed us a rope and pully system with a counter weight that he was using at the time. I didn't have any memory of what it looked like on the inside, so I was very happy to see your pictures. Thanks.
|By||Kris Bakke Surat and Jerry Asay|
We both watched as your dad built this cabin. I, Kris, used to stay with the Hankins and the Downings on Green Creek...all along wondering if your dad would ever finish.
We would like to come help out. When are you all getting together? I can be contacted at email@example.com.
Thank you for sharing this with us....Kris
|Subject||Glad to help!|
Hey Sunny! Great idea! I am soooo excited. We just wanted to let you know that if you still need help, Mike would gladly haul the cars off for you. Since we have the equipment it would be something that we could definatley help with. Just give us a call and let us know what we can do. 307-587-TOWS(8697) I also wrote on your FB page,
Call if you need anything!
Ok...so i know that you don't know me but we so have some mutual friends, and when I saw the pic of your dad's house for your profile pic, I clicked on your profile and clicked on the Link for the preservation project!!! I am SOOO excited that you are taking on such a project. I have driven past that house for YEARS hoping some one would renovate it and turn it into a hotel. I do not have money to donate yet, but I would like to take a trip out there and help with any handy work I can. I think this house is a magnificent piece of art and would love to be a part of the preservation process.
Please let me know how I can help. Your dad's house has always had a special place in my heart.
|Subject||The New Website|
This is awesome. It brings back memories of Paul and Sunny giving my 2 boys and I a tour quite a few years ago. Good luck in bringing this to the tourists. I know they will love and appreciate you feeding the curiosty.
|By||Kelly (Holcomb) Von Letkemann|
Sunny-It is so great that you have set this website up! I have always wanted to know more about the house, and this is such a great way to honor your dad and his amazing work! Good luck with everything!
|Subject||life with good friends...|
Howdy sunny, I can remember when we were kids and mom and al used to take us up there to play.,How funny..I remember your hamburger costume that you wore in your young days.. Just wanted to check out the site people always ask me about that place,and I tell them my friend sunny owns it ... I dont think they believe me. You did an outstanding job!!! good luck if you ever need a plumber and a carpenter to help with the house jeff and i can help:)
It was nice to see what some of the inside looked like. I was always curious when i saw it. I hope things are good for you and your family Sunny. Glad that i found you on facebook!! I hope all this goes well for you!!!!
Smith Mansion Preservation Project
SMPP's Mission is to Protect and Preserve the Famous Smith Mansion. Saving this legendary piece of artwork, requires the support of donors like you! Every donation of $30.00 or more, will recieve a free gift. Please, help us save a piece of the Wild West! Donate Today!! Giving your gifts through paypal is a secure and easy way to give.