AFTER HIS SUCCESSFUL entry into politics in 1914, Trail End's first owner, John B. Kendrick, was only able to enjoy the home for a few months at a time; the rest of his days were spent in either Cheyenne or Washington DC. Following his death in 1933, his widow, Eula Wulfjen Kendrick, lived in the home with her son Manville and his young family. Shortly before his mother's death in 1961, Manville and his wife moved out of the mansion and into a smaller home of their own. Although Manville and his sister Rosa-Maye employed a caretaker to keep the building safe and in basic repair, it was not lived in for several years.
SHERIDAN COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY
By 1968, Trail End (or the "Kendrick Mansion" as it is known throughout Sheridan) had stood empty for seven years. Because of regular housekeeping, there were no layers of dust on the furnishings, but there was a layer of apathy concerning the building's future.
The City of Sheridan briefly considered buying the mansion and running it as an art center. When that plan did not work out for financial reasons, the local school district contemplated purchasing the three-story brick structure for use as an educational facility. That effort also ended because of financial and regulatory concerns. No one seemed to have either the time or the money to turn such dreams into reality. Finally, it looked like the building would be torn down to make room for condominium housing. After the family took the items they wanted to keep, a public auction was held and the house was stripped of its contents, including furnishings, light fixtures and rugs.
Fortunately for Sheridan's "Castle on the Hill," a rescue team arrived in the form of the Sheridan County Historical Society. With money donated and lent by both private individuals and government agencies, the Society purchased the land from the Kendrick heirs, who in turn donated the structure and what contents remained. With the efforts of an all-volunteer staff, Trail End was turned into a community museum housing archaeological collections, local memorabilia, fine works of art, and a few pieces of original furniture.
STATE OF WYOMING
Eventually the rising costs of utilities and repairs became too much of a burden for the Society. Changes had to be made or the building they had fought so hard to save would be lost once again. In 1982, after months of internal debate, the Society voted to give up Trail End and turn the keys over to the Wyoming State Archives, Museums and Historical Department (now the State Parks & Historic Sites Division of the Wyoming Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources).
Shortly after the state took over operations, the decision was made to remove the museum-style exhibits and return the structure to its historic appearance. Trail End had suffered very few alterations since its completion in 1913, thus making it an ideal candidate for a historic house museum. Built by a cattle baron for a cattle baron's family, the fine workmanship, opulent style and close attention to detail showed the pride the Kendrick family had in their home.
Because of the generosity of the extended Kendrick family and the Sheridan community, many original furnishings have been returned to Trail End, thus affording visitors a remarkably true vision of life in bygone days.
The following mission statement guides all interpretive exhibits, collection efforts and educational programs at Trail End.
The purpose of the Trail End State Historic Site is to interpret this architecturally significant historic house and its related properties in context with the regional and social history of the early Twentieth Century. Emphasis is placed on the period of occupancy by the John B. Kendrick family, primarily 1913-1933.
State Historic Site