Robert “Bruce” Porter – The Founding Great-grandfather


Bruce Porter photographing the cows on the summer range on Elk Ranch in Grand Teton National Park (around 1956).

Bruce Porter photographing the cows on the summer range on Elk Ranch in Grand Teton National Park (around 1956).

 

Our great-grandfather, Bruce Porter, graduated from the College of Pharmacy at Creighton University on February 23rd, 1914. Bruce spent his summers during college working in Jackson Hole, Wyoming at the Jackson Mercantile, which at the time was located on the Town Square, in the Clubhouse building. The building still stands on the East side of the Town Square and is the oldest building on the town square. It is currently home to Hines Jewelers, Wilcox Gallery, and the Resort Store. In 1917, Bruce was called to serve in World War I, where he served in France. In 1919, when Bruce returned home from his tour he purchased the Jackson Mercantile and changed the name to the Jackson Drug Co. 

 

Clubhouse Building circa 1900 (left). A young Bruce Porter working at the Jackson Mercantile Co (right). 
Jackson Merchantile Co. circa 1905

Jackson Merchantile Co. circa 1905

In 1937, Bruce Porter moved the Jackson Drug Co. to the north side of the Town Square.

Early on in his career, Bruce was recognized as a local business leader. Later he made a name for himself in the local ranching community. At that time, the main industry in Jackson was cattle ranching, not tourism. During his summers working in Jackson while attending college, Bruce developed an interest in ranching. The longer Bruce lived in Jackson, the more his interest for ranching grew to become a passion. This passion eventually led him to start his own ranch. 

 

Bruce Porter, started the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch in the 1928 on what is now known as Dog Creek Ranch, in the Snake River Canyon. Bruce bought his first herd of Hereford cattle with the help of his father-in-law Seaver Callahan. In 1938 Bruce Porter purchased the Wort and Leeks Homesteads and moved the ranch from Dog Creek to its current location on South Park Loop Road. We take great pride in continuing to carry on the ranching tradition that he started so many years ago. Even though Bruce was a pharmacist by trade, he was a true Rancher and conservationist at heart.

Dog Creek Ranch in the early 1930s (left & center). Dog Creek Ranch present day (right).
The southern border of the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch in 1972. Notice there's no Rafter J or Melody Ranch subdivisions. 

The southern border of the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch in 1972. Notice there's no Rafter J or Melody Ranch subdivisions. 

Bruce (right) talking with the ranch Foreman.   

Bruce (right) talking with the ranch Foreman.   

Bruce Porter was not only Jackson's first pharmacist but also a true visionary for Jackson's future. With his uncanny ability to sense opportunity, Jackson locals constantly sought his counsel. Even with his success, Bruce never outgrew his interest in young people and the Jackson community as a whole. He was a huge supporter of the 4-H club activities in Jackson as well as other various service clubs, fraternal organizations, churches and business/industry groups.

 

Bruce was the first commander of the Jackson Hole Post of the American Legion. He was also a member and treasurer of St. John's Hospital board of trustees. During his time on the board, Bruce played an instrumental role in locating and purchasing the land where the current St. John’s Hospital resides. Bruce was even involved in politics on state level as a member of the Wyoming State Senate for 4 years, declining to run for re-election only because of his health.Our great-grandfather was in constant awe with the beauty of Jackson and intensely enthusiastic about sharing it with others. Because of this, he became interested in photography, becoming a wildlife and landscape photographer. 

 

Bruce’s passion for the Jackson community, its people, its beauty, and the opportunities it provides lives on in his Grandson Robert, and his Great-Grandchildren Nikki, Patrick, Jessica, Scooter, and J.J. We feel honored to be able to carry on the traditions of stewardship, ranching, public service, and entrepreneurship he started here in Jackson over 100 years ago.

Ariel view of the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch in 1968. 

Ariel view of the Jackson Hole Hereford Ranch in 1968. 

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