Although my primary focus is on bird and nature photography I also enjoy seeing and photographing the old wooden buildings that I come across in my journeys. Those structures always make me wonder what life was life for the people who built the barns, granaries and the old homesteads.
At the 0 mile marker in Montana just across the Idaho state line on I-15 there is a turn off that goes towards Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge via a long gravel road, this toppled barn is at that location. I’m almost certain that when it was first built it was considered large and soundly built. The winter weather is extreme in Monida, with very low temperatures and high winds at the top of Monida Pass. The strong winds probably had a lot to do with toppling this barn.
The windows and doors of this pioneer homestead on the South Road of the Centennial Valley in Beaverhead County, Montana face the east probably to gain some warmth from the rising sun. Winters in the valley are tough even today because the gravel road is snow-covered for most of the winter and it can be bitter cold. I can only imagine what it would have been like in the late 1800’s. The extreme conditions there have taken a toll on this homestead.
There were cows outside and inside the building when I took this image.
Someone cared enough about preserving this old homestead that they put a metal roof on it to protect it from the elements and boarded up the windows and doors to keep larger mammals out that could be destructive to the interior. Someone scraped into the old wood to create the zig-zag pattern that is visible between the windows and door but other wise this old homestead is in the best condition of any that I have seen in the valley. The outbuildings near it though have seen much better days, some of them are without a roof and a few are collapsing.
The windows and door on this home face almost due west so the afternoon light must have helped to warm the people who lived in it. Next time I am in the valley I’d like to look at the foundation of this homestead and see if anyone left the date there of when this building was erected. I didn’t look at the chinking between the logs but this place looks like it was snugly built.
I sure appreciate being able to see these weathered old buildings because it does make me think of the history of the people who lived in this valley in southwestern Montana so long ago. They must have had rough lives and an excess of courage.