Blake/Delfelder House – Riverton, Wyoming

By Judy Pedersen

Picture1.pngRiverton locals have called this the “Delfelder House” for years, but in reality, it was originally the Blake house. John Wesley Blake probably arrived in Riverton in 1906 although a newspaper article in the Riverton Republican dated October 12, 1907, stated that J.W. Blake and family had arrived in Riverton and would soon be moving into their new residence. He came to Riverton after success in the Casper area with his Mokoma Sheep Company and Mokoma Trading Company. He and his wife had two daughters and a son, all pretty much raised by the time they arrived in Riverton. Mr. Blake suffered an injury when he was thrown against his saddle horn while riding.  He was being transported to Denver for medical care when his condition worsened and he died in Douglas, Wyoming.  That was May 13th of 1908; he was brought back to the Riverton area and buried in Lander with Masonic rites by both the Riverton Lodge and the Lander Lodge.His wife of thirty years remained in the house for a few years before returning to her home state of Oregon. 

She sold the house to Jacob Delfelder in 1912. Mr. Delfelder had married Miss Evelyn Bain, of Denver in 1910 and that apparently made Delfelder mindful of the need for a more comfortable, substantial residence.  In 1912 the house became known as the Delfelder house. Delfelder was a sheep rancher and contributed much to the Riverton community. He served many terms as Mayor in addition to other business activities.  Delfelder died in March of 1921 and Evelyn Delfelder remained in the house until just before her death in the early 1960s.Picture11.png

The house still stands proudly on the corner of Broadway and Adams Street. It has seen some additions over the years, but its original character remains intact. Many families (and a few businesses) have occupied the house over the years and the stories are probably as varied as the owners.

The Fremont County Historic Preservation Commission is an appointed board that is tasked with preserving historical buildings and sites.  The group works closely with the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office in addition to the National Register of Historic Places.  Information about buildings that are on the National Register can be found in the Library of Congress.  Riverton has only one building as of this writing that is listed on the National Register.  The Riverton Chicago & Northwestern Depot was added in 1978. The effort is driven by a dedicated group of community members.

If you have questions or suggestions for historic buildings the Preservation Commission can be contacted through Becky Enos at the County Building in Lander 307-332-1130.