3.2
23 votes

The Smith Mansion

2903 N Fork Hwy, Cody, Wyoming 82414 USA

Free
Free to Visit
  • Independent
  • Not Wheelchair
    Accessible
  • No Public
    Restrooms

“The famous crazy house”

It's hard to not to drive past The Smith Mansion on the Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, just outside Yellowstone National Park and wonder what the hell it is. It looks like the work of a madman-- each story of the 75 foot structure is precariously stacked, held up by what seem like impossibly unstable 2x4s nailed together by hand.  The Smith Mansion was built by local resident Lee Smith-- it was his passion project. By all accounts, he wasn't off-his-rocker crazy, he just wanted to build, and the mansion was his ultimate creation. As Smith's daughter put it, "Not many people have that much passion in their lives...[it's] a rare piece of art." Looking at it, you probably don't need to be told that he didn't have any blueprints; he was just building what felt right and complemented the ruggedly beautiful wilderness around him. He lived in the house while he built it, with no running water and little electricity. But, one windy day in 1992, tragedy struck. Smith was killed after taking a 12 foot fall off the mansion while working on it. Ever since then, the structure has sat, untouched, but not quite forgotten. Each year, thousands of people drive past along the byway and see the Smith Mansion-- it's a great photo op. Despite the building's popularity, Smith's daughter is struggling to raise enough money to preserve it-- as it stands, the mansion is too unstable after years of neglect to offer tours. You can get special permission to go inside, but otherwise, it's best to stick to photographing the outside of the building-- at least, until the mansion is properly restored. -Roadtrippers The famous Smith Mansion sits along the Buffalo Bill Scenic Byway, approximately 15 miles  East of Yellowstone National Park. Located in the heart of Wapiti Valley Wyoming, the Smith Mansion is surrounded by wild back country and beautiful wilderness. In April of 1992, Lee Smith passed away while working on his home, the Smith Mansion. He fell twelve feet. It was Lee's life long dream to create a cabin that would naturally fit into the countryside; he succeeded. There were no blue prints for the mansion's construction, only what was thought up in Lee's mind. He would then create it. The Smith Mansion sits in the middle of Wapiti's Valley. It made it a special spot for Lee. The mansion stands approx. 75 foot high. Its built primarily by hand and most of the timbers used in its construction came off Rattle Snake Mountain. After the terrible fires in 1952, it became free picking to help clean out the burnt timber. Smith brought 5-6 timbers off the mountain, by hand, one truck load at a time. The mansion has sat abandoned for twenty years. Its skeleton and contents have slowly started to rot and decay from exposure of the elements. Timbers need to be replaced and entire roof systems need to be rebuilt. Among other things, many of the 1/4 inch thick storm windows are broken due to vandalism. There are also many safety issues that need to be addressed. The mansion itself is a piece of art which was created by my one man, by hand. And this enormous log creation manifested itself from deep inside his mind. That is one of the neatest things about the structure. Lee dedicated over two decades of his life to the mansion and unfortunately, lost his life doing what he loved. The Mansion is a landmark to the locals, tourists or anyone with a real interest in the home. This legendary structure holds a significant value to the town of Wapiti Valley.      The Smith Mansion, also known as the crazy house stands high in the beautiful Wapiti Valley. It is a piece of the Wapiti Valley's history and is known to locals, tourists or anyone will a real interest in the home, as a landmark.It is a piece of artwork left for the public, built by the late Architect/Engineer: Francis Lee Smith. Smith's daughter has started The Smith Mansion Preservation Project which is in full swing.

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Reviewed by
Joel Schat

  • Photographer
  • 238 Reviews
  • 409 Helpful
July 01, 2014
Rated 4.0

I got special permission to go inside the mansion.. It is definitely a dangerous place as of right now as its not finished, but is very very cool even to see from a distance!

8 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Greg Newkirk

  • Expert
  • 315 Reviews
  • 324 Helpful
September 19, 2014
Rated 4.0

Very, very cool house. Looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. You can't actually go inside of the building, but you can walk around it and take some pictures of the place.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
suzanneledo

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 26, 2017

Last year his daughter held a tour and I lucked out to be visiting my Mom in Cody that week. Pretty amazing story.

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Reviewed by
DanielBrojakowski

  • 9 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
July 05, 2016
Rated 3.0

Interesting Road side view. Nice to have something to look for, immediately recognizable overlooking the Highway.

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Reviewed by
DavinieFiero

  • 18 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 05, 2016
Rated 3.0

Looked interesting. You can see it from the road. We were pulling a travel trailer and weren't sure where the turnoff was and whether we could get up there so we kept going, but definitely something that stood out!

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Reviewed by
DavinieFiero

  • 18 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 30, 2016
Rated 3.0

Pretty crazy looking. You can see it from the road so it was a neat thing to look out for as we drove to Yellowstone.

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The Smith Mansion

2903 N Fork Hwy
Cody, Wyoming
82414 USA

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  • Independent
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • No Public Restrooms

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