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Sheridan College - TravelStorys

Hemingway Highways - Sheridan

Location Trip Time Travel Type
Wyoming 2 hours

Sheridan College

Sheridan College lies on the southern end of the city of Sheridan. You'll soon see signs as you approach the campus. The college, in conjunction with Wyoming Humanities, the Ucross Foundation and the Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research, is leading efforts to celebrate the legacy of Ernest Hemingway through its National Endowment for the Humanities Hemingway Highways project. The college will host authors and exhibits that highlight the continued relevance of Hemingway. The project includes events across Wyoming, with emphasis on Hemingway sites from Sheridan through Yellowstone. Public events began in the spring of 2018 and will continue until January 2021. Hemingway's connection to Sheridan College is even more powerful at its mountain campus, about 28 miles from the main campus, in the Bighorn National Forest. It is the site of the former Spear-O Ranch, where he finally found whatever it was he needed to complete A Farewell to Arms. We've marked the location of Spear-O on the map for you with a red flag in case you would like to travel there to see it for yourself. Spear-O, founded in 1923 and owned by Willis Spear and his daughter, Elsa Spear Byron, was the second guest ranch Hemingway stayed at during his 1928 writing visit to Wyoming. He also stayed there in 1929 and 1931. Showcasing spectacular forest and mountain scenery, the ranch was remote, surrounded by the Bighorn Mountains' Cloud Peak Wilderness Area and situated at 8,300 feet above sea level. Like Hemingway's many adventures and escapades throughout his lifetime, not for the faint of heart. Elsa Spear Byron remembers his routine: "He ate a huge breakfast … and he would write for the rest of the morning. In the afternoon he would fish, and at night he drank whiskey." Hemingway finally found the inspiration he needed to complete his novel in a rustic Spear-O cabin in late August or early September 1928. The stone-and-lodgepole-pine abode proved to be just the place. He wrote at least 40 and as many as 47 different endings to the novel before arriving at the perfect one. The cabin, known as the Hemingway Cabin, is now part of Sheridan College's Mountain Campus at the Spear-O Ranch. Lee Gutkind, the founder of literary magazine Creative Nonfiction, writes of Hemingway's time there: "The stone and log cabin in which Ernest and Pauline Hemingway lived sits at the edge of a clear amber stream ... from his desk, Hemingway could look out the window at blue-gold Wyoming sky, a deeper, more honest sky than you can see in the East or perhaps anywhere else ... Early in the morning, Hemingway could walk outside and look across the rushing stream ... Ernie finished his book and Pauline came and they hunted and fished together for a spell,' Mrs. Byron recalled. 'Then one day he said he had to start rewriting, and we didn't see him for a while ... I never knew the name of the book until after it was published.'"

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