The Cunningham Cabin stands as one of the valley’s few remaining structures from the homesteading era when settlers filed nearly 400 claims in Jackson Hole. In the 1880s, John and Margaret Cunningham staked a claim for the Bar Flying U Ranch. Cunningham built his cabin in 1888 in the Appalachian style, commonly called “double-pen” or “dog-trot.” John lived in the cabin until 1895 when he finished his main residence, and it later became a smithy and barn.
An 1893 incident at the Cunningham Cabin on Spread Creek in Jackson Hole was perhaps
evidence that locals had decided to mete out justice instead of waiting for legal action. A
shootout at the cabin led to the deaths of two men, later thought to be innocent. Locals had been
riled up by men from Montana claiming that the two were horse thieves. The Montanans had
claimed to be marshals but it was later recalled that no one had seen any credentials, and the incident became a shameful community secret.