Former Proulx Home

Contributed photo
Contributed photo
Location: 37 Kelly Creek Road, Centennial, WY
GPS:   41d 17m 20s    -106d 9m 6s
Map / Satellite Image: Google Link

Travel Directions:
From I-80 take WY Exit 311, “WY-130 / WY-230 / Snowy Range Road.”
Turn West on WY-130; go 28.6 miles to Centennial.
Turn Left (S) on Weber Creek Road; go 0.7 mile.
Turn Right (W) on Kelley Creek Road and go 0.65 mile to 37 Kelley Creek Road.

British critic D. J. Taylor once wrote that Proulx “lashes character to environment like a hawser.” [1] Her friend Mark Jenkins has said that her characters are seemingly “pawns in the landscape.” Renown for her ability to integrate story and place, Proulx has always chosen her writing environments with great care. To see and experience the place where much of Brokeback Mountain was written is to appreciate not just the story’s setting, but the story itself, in a new and powerful way.

Brokeback Mountain was “born” in a 3,500 square foot home which occupies an elevated two-acre parcel under imposing Centennial Ridge [2] in the Medicine Bow National Forest. This house was Proulx’s home between 1995 and 2006. A visitor wrote that “her home is like her books, like her; it opens out in unexpected directions, full of colorful stories.” [3] It is decorated in deep greens, blues, and browns with exposed log work. The house has an open kitchen and a wood stove.

The art? Eclectic, but you already knew that! Western landscapes by John Hull, a cowboy illustration from Close Range, hand-carved wooden snakes, a Serrano gagged priest [4], and a windmill fragment gathered as she researched That Old Ace in the Hole lined its walls. Proulx appreciates art and sometimes paints with watercolors, recording landscapes for reference while writing.

A bit unpolished in some respects, Centennial is a former mining town of approximately 200 people. Before the Brokeback phenomenon, and now that its creator has moved on, most everything in Centennial centers on the historic Mountain View Hotel, which dates to 1907.

Locals we spoke with (“had to ask about ten different people”) said that they were aware that Proulx was their neighbor, but that they rarely saw her. “She drove a truck,” said an obliging patron in the bar where we conducted our research. Proulx’s work habits are legendary—12- to 16-hour days are the norm. Each word and phrase is carefully vetted for authenticity. Everything is written in longhand. No line, not even a word, is ever drafted casually.

Just west of Centennial are the imposing Medicine Bow Mountains, which are mentioned in the story. [5]


Always obtain appropriate permission before entering private property.

“For me, the story falls out of a place, its geology and climate, the flora, fauna, prevailing winds, the weather. I am not people-centric, and I’m appalled at what human beings have done to the planet. I think it would be quite marvelous if human beings disappeared—but in the meantime, while they’re here ... 100 years ago I would have written the great-fight-against-the-elements kind of books, whereas now the landscape has moved from being the great enemy to being the victim.” [3]

[1] The Independent, March 18, 1995, “Cornfields and the smell of woodsmoke,” D.J. Taylor,
[3] The Guardian, December 11, 2004, “Home on the Range,” Aida Edemariam,
[5] “Years on years they worked their way through the high meadows and mountain drainages, horse-packing into the Big Horns, Medicine Bows ...” Brokeback Mountain - Story to Screenplay by Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana (Scribner) ISBN-13: 978-0-7432-9416-4, page 17.

Pictures of surrounding area:















  Revised 07 June 2011