The Farmers’ State Bank of Jay Em opened in 1920. The single-story, rectangular building had a bank office and vault at the rear, and a post office in the front corner of the building, east of the teller’s line. The massing, form, and front facade are typical of small banks, yet the wood-framed construction with a false-front is not. The front facade is straightforward, with a center entry door flanked by large plate glass windows. A concrete foundation wall acts as the plinth for the wood clad walls above.
The post office’s history demonstrates the Harris family’s determination, before the town of Jay Em was founded, to provide for the needs of the area ranchers. The original post office, which had been established on Jay Em Creek in 1899, was shut down by a visiting postal inspector after a heated dispute with the whiskey-loving postmaster William “Uncle Jack” Hargraves. In 1905, eighteen-year-old Lake Harris negotiated with the U.S. Postal Department to bring the post office back to Jay Em Ranch. As part of the negotiation, Harris had to deliver the mail himself (without compensation) every other day, for a period of ninety days, traveling on horseback between Rawhide Buttes Station, ten miles north, and the ranch. Having performed this task, Harris was allowed to return the post office to the ranch, and then to the Town of Jay Em in 1915.
Gorman, Michael, and WRC Staff, “Jay Em Historic District,” Goshen County, Wyoming. National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, 1984. National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C.
CTA Architects Engineers. Architectural & Structural Assessment of the Town of Jay Em, November 10, 2010.