George Washington Memorial Park (Town Square), Jackson
George Washington Memorial Park, often called Town Square, is located at the center of downtown Jackson. The square is usually remembered for its elk antler arches at each corner of the park. Don’t feel embarrassed, go ahead and have your photo taken under one of the arches, most first time tourists do. Remember this is a tourist town, so your pose is just a part of the atmosphere of Jackson. The antlers used to build these arches are all sheds that have been collected from the nearby National Elk Refuge by Boy Scouts. These arches are occasionally rebuilt. Originally this park was an open area in the middle of the town, and was used as a commons by the town’s people, and sometimes as a thoroughfare for migrating elk. In 1924, as the town grew, and the area was improved, the towns people began calling it The Little Park in the Center of Town. When the 200th anniversary of the birth of George Washington came around in 1932, the state of Wyoming in cooperation with Congress created memorials throughout the state. The town square was renamed George Washington Memorial Park at that time. This square became the center of the town, and in 1953, a memorial to John Colter, who was a member of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition, was placed in the park by the rotary Club at the park’s southwest corner. The other three arches were built in 1966, 1967, and 1969.
Enter the George Washington Memorial Park, the Town Square, via the four corners, where huge elk antlers shape an archway entrance. So many antlers are intertwined to form each archway that you cannot count them. It can be a grim scene but remember that these antlers are from the past and the elk that they came from fed and clothed the pioneers. Benches and Statues are located along the paths through the park with the Stagecoach Depot on one corner.
After shopping some of the boutiques and stores surrounding the square, it is a nice place to sit back and relax and take in the beauty of the area. Now you can head for the nearest bar or restaurant, chill out, fill up, and start the shopping again. Yahoo!
Jackson Town Square is one of the town's only bona-fide attractions. It's not so much the park which is nice enough in itself but the four entrance ways have archways made entirely of hundreds of elk antlers! These have been here since the 1960s and are probably the only must stop in town aside from grabbing something to eat, drink or do some shopping on a rainy day. This seems a bit morbid at first but remember that antlers are shed by the male animals every winter so it's not like they are being hunted down which would be the case if these were horns. Everyone loves getting their photo take in front of one of the archways and since there is one on all four corners, you can get good light just about any time of day.
Jackson's Town Square is a traditional, small square on the northern side of town. At each corner of the park near the crosswalks you will see giant arches made of Elk antlers (but don't worry, liberals, these elk were not killed; rather their antlers were shed as part of the animals' natural yearly cycle. Also in the park are a few war memorials, and the centerpiece is a huge cowboy monument.
Around the square is some of the town's most expensive commercial real estate. We had dinner at the expensive Million Dollar Cowboy Bar then we walked across the street to the modern, trendy Town Square Tavern.
After visiting the Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitors centre, I walked back to city centre.
The entrance gates of the town square looked very special.
In fact they were made of deer antlers. (See detail in second picture)
This town square was also an ideal place to rest, and lay down in the grass to read / sleep a bit.
And this town square seems also be the place for the daily shoot-out (6.30 pm nightly Memorial to Labour Day)
The Town Square is a peaceful place to escape the crowds along the sidewalks and in the shops. I spent a very relaxing hour sitting on one of the benches and people watching.