Aska Langman is well known throughout the Teton Valley community for her rescue work. Though typically, her rescues have four legs, chilly noses, and plenty of affectionate wiggles. This time, Langman and her husband rescued something less lively but much bulkier: a cabin that was slated for demolition in Jackson.
“I heard about the organization Shacks on Racks around a year ago. We love the idea of keeping things out of the landfill, and reusing things that still have life in them,” Langman said. While many people are aware that reusing and recycling keeps household items like cans and packaging out of the landfill, they aren’t aware that when a structure is demolished to make room for incoming construction, the entirety ends up in the landfill.
According to Shacks on Racks founder Esther Lennox, approximately 94 percent of demolished buildings in Teton County, Wyoming, in 2019 ended up in the landfill. Some of these were structurally sound and usable, but were simply removed in order to replace them with new construction.
“Building costs are so high right now,” added Langman, noting that constructing a barn on her property was cost-prohibitive. Rescuing the garage was not only an environmentally-sound move, but also more economical than constructing new.
The garage was built alongside a cabin — known as the Coey Cabin — in 1945 on Warm Springs Road north of Jackson. In 1982, both structures were moved to 105 Mercill Avenue in the town of Jackson, where the garage was used to house part of the Jackson Hole Historical Society’s museum and archaeological collection.
Langman said that she was aware of Shacks on Racks and their efforts, and she was following the story of the garage. “They were knocking it down because they’re building an affordable housing unit there. Someone else was going to take it, and they backed out the week before. So we went for it.”
Teton Valley resident Vern Woolstenhulme, owner of Teton Transport, drove the building to Langman’s property on April 2.
“We plan to use it as a barn and utility storage. It will certainly be in support of all the animal care and rescue — a perfect place to keep things like the snowblower, and other farm and agricultural storage,” Langman explained.
Langman said that she and her husband are still on the lookout for a house to rescue and move to their property as well. “I just think it is so cool to save usable stuff, and repurpose things that have a little bit of history to them.”