Belden Museum

Belden Museum

Between 1916 and 1919 by Henry Sayles, Sr. constructed the Sayles building that is now home to the Charles Belden Museum of Western Photography. The building was initially built to house Sayles’ office and several businesses. The Belden Museum resides in the section of the building formerly used as the local drug store of Meeteetse. Paul Zimmerman, a practicing pharmacist, moved his drug store into the corner of the Sayles building in December of 1919. Zimmerman sold his pharmacy to Floyd Jones in 1937, who then sold the business under the name of Pioneer Pharmacy to Harlow Bassett ten years later in 1947.

In October of 1949, Bassett’s Pioneer Pharmacy, along with the adjacent Service Garage, were among several businesses that were robbed. The robbers stole $60 and a box of drugs containing morphine, codeine, and cocaine from the drug store. Adjusted for inflation, this amount would equate to approximately $652.79 in today’s money. Peggy and Leith Culver purchased the building from Bassett in 1962.

The Pioneer Pharmacy was operated by the Culvers for twelve years, before it was sold to Roger and Love Murray in 1974 and renamed Murray’s Pioneer Shop. The drug store received daily shipments of prescriptions from Cody for Meeteetse residents. On December 1st, 1979, the drug store closed and the building was later occupied by Louise’s Treasures and Things. In 1988, Lee Christiansen purchased both the old drug store and service garage in the same building to house his CompuMed business.

The Phelps-Belden family donated the Charles Belden collection of photographs, Molesworth furniture, and other belongings of Charles Belden to the Meeteetse Museums in 1990. Plans were initially made to build a new building adjacent to the museum, housed in the Masonic Hall building at the time. However, in May of 1992 the Phelps-Belden family began the process of leasing the old drug store building to display the Belden collection. In August 1992, the Belden Museum opened on the corner of State and Park Avenue.

Belden Museum

Permanent Exhibits:
Charles Belden Photography Collection
Belden Family Collection
Little Wahb, the Grizzly Bear
The Olive Fell Gallery

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