About the Historic Hood House

 

The Hood House was originally built by Thomas H. Hood in 1892.  If these walls could talk, they would tell tales of interesting owners and their families, and the evolution of the small western town of Saratoga, Wyoming.

 

The original history of Saratoga's Hood House was written by Gay Day Alcorn. We have copies of her book in our lending library. The following is a brief summary of Hood House owners from Mrs. Alcorn's book.

THOMAS H. HOOD, a carpenter by trade, was the original owner of the Hood House. Hood arrived in Laramie, Wyoming in 1888, from Wisconsin, in search of fame and fortune. He soon gained a wife, Eva Dickson (a Canadian and teacher in Laramie) and a solid reputation as a craftsman. It wasn't long before he was asked to build the Episcopalian Church and rectory in Saratoga.

 

Hood moved his wife and new family to Saratoga in 1890. With the discovery of gold in the Snowy Range, commerce came to the area, along with a need for homes and buildings. Hood and his partner, Nelson Scott, built 33 new buildings on the west side of the North Platte River. In addition to homes and buildings in Saratoga, Hood built a variety of other needs including sailboats, post office boxes, snowshoes, and wagons.

 

In 1892, Hood built a 5-bedroom home for his family for $2,500 that featured a Japanese roof, 2 porches, ornamental gables, and a large bay window. A windmill was constructed and used to pump water into a large tank in the attic to give the house running water. (See photo above). The family occupied the Hood House for less than a year due to the ending of the gold boom. They then relocated to Chicago where Hood went on to become a dentist.

DR. ADAM GUTHRIE BURRELL, a physician from Laramie, and his wife Clara Jane purchased the Hood House for $1,000 in 1894. The Burrells were involved in Saratoga and entertained at dinner parties in several homes. After a few months, Dr. Burrell was appointed the County Physician for the southern part of Carbon County.  However, due to a skirmish with the local newspaper publisher, his reputation suffered and the Burrells move back to Laramie. Trouble followed Dr Burrell there and sadly, beyond. In an effort to leave his troubles behind, he went hunting in South Africa. There he was captured by cannibals and eaten.

125 Years - Meet the Owners

 

 

 

 

 

ANDREW J. DOGGETT, an astute businessman, moved into the Hood House in September of 1895 with his wife, Freida Wolf. Andrew and his brother, Sam, then purchased the Hood House for $800 in February 1896. Andrew J. Doggett was an excellent fisherman and co-owner of the Doggett Brothers--a store that sold groceries and dry goods. In 1897, Doggett was elected to the Wyoming State Legislature where he sponsored bills to protect the state's game and fish. Freida, the daughter of the owners of the Wolf Hotel, was the first woman in Saratoga to own a bicycle. Although the ambitious Doggett Brothers had expanded their business to Encampment, Wyoming, Andrew and Freida were in need of a change. Andrew sold the Saratoga store and the Doggetts moved out of the Hood House in 1898.

 

 

DR. BENJAMIN BURGER was a dentist who wanted to bring his family West and invest in the Copper Boom. After finding the Hood House suitable, he purchased it for $2,000. Dr. Burger lived and practiced in Saratoga for two years before moving his family to Encampment. Active in mining investments, Dr. Burger was a representative of the the Upper Platte Mining District. The Burgers eventually moved to Denver in 1902.

 

Since Andrew J. and Freida Doggett had not left the Platte Valley, they purchased and moved back into the Hood House in 1900. They remained active in the community and became interested in community projects and civil welfare. A. J. Doggett was elected  to serve a one-year term as Saratoga's first mayor in 1900. In August 1901, the Doggetts moved to Denver. Several years later,  A. J. started a men's clothing store there.

 

 

EDWARD G. ASHLEY and his wife, Alberrini purchased the Hood House in 1902 as a retirement home. Mr. Ashley, a Civil War soldier, came to Carbon County to work for the Union Pacific Railway in 1879. For the next 23 years, he was a stationary engineer at Fort Steele. In 1902, he partnered with his son Will, a pharmacist, to run a drug store, soda fountain and ice cream parlor. Hard times fell on the area. The business struggled and was eventually sold--leaving the Ashleys to find work and rent out their home. Mr. Ashley died in 1912. Mrs. Ashley then sold the Hood House and moved to Phoenix, Arizona.

 

 

WALTER PILON was the oldest son of Saratoga's leading merchants. His father had arrived in Saratoga in 1905 to expand and develop what would become the Pilon Mercantile Company. Walter became a good businessman and eventually married, Theresa Boudreau from Beaverville, Illinois. In time their family began to grow. The Pilons purchased and moved into the Hood House in 1912. The family business continued to expand as well. In 1914, Walter, his brother Paul and his father became agents for the Mawell '25' cars. People in the Platte Valley lined up to order them. Walter and Theresa were very involved in the community, however, in 1917 they decided to move on.

 

 

ROBERT MIDDLEWOOD and his wife purchased the Hood House as a wedding gift to their daughter, Florence, and her husband, Paul Pilon.  The Middlewoods were native Canadians and came to Saratoga as pioneer sheep ranchers. Having purchased much of their ranching equipment from Pilon Mercantile, the two families became friends. At the time the couple married, Paul was part-owner of the Jensen Opera House. With a child on the way, Paul bought his brother's interest in the Pilon Mercantile Company. Things were going well, it would seem. However, after several months, Paul began seeing the newly hired and very attractive bookkeeper at the store. The marriage ended in divorce after four years and Florence sold the Hood House in 1923.

 

 

WILLIAM E. TILTON and his wife, Ellen, purchased and moved into the Hood House in 1923. William arrived to the Platte Valley in 1883. He settled on the banks of Brush Creek, where he operated a cattle ranch  for over 40 years. He was active in the area, serving as Justice of the Peace, president of the Carbon County Fair Association, secretary of the Platte Valley Stock Growers Association and also two terms of the Wyoming State Legislature. The Tiltons entertained many high profile guests including presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan. In 1915, William purchased the hardware business in Saratoga for his son, Roy. Later in 1916, Tilton & Son acquired two car dealerships as well. Ellen Tilton became a leader in the community and organized both chapters of the Eastern Star in Saratoga and Encampment. She continued to live in the Hood House after her husband's death in 1931 until she sold it in 1934.

 

 

GEORGE FRYER and his wife, Clara Wilcox purchased the Hood House in 1934, where they lived for 47 years. George

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