Oliver and Lucy Bonnell Gothic Arch Barn

Oliver Bonnell, his wife Lucy, and their seven children settled in Livingston in the early 1890s, where Bonnell operated a boot business and later a feed store. In 1905, they acquired title to 640 acres from the Northern Pacific Railroad. The Bonnells first ran cattle and, like many ranchers, they maintained a residence in Livingston so the children could attend school. In 1915, they purchased an additional 80 acres and some of the older children received homestead patents on adjoining land. The family established a small dairy in the early 1920s. Bonnell and his sons milked the herd by hand, and each day Lucy drove the milk to the creamery in Livingston. The Bonnells built this Gothic-arched barn in 1922 for their milking operation. The Gothic arch design provided maximum storage for loose hay without the interference of interior braces. The Bonnells also hosted dances in the loft. In 1929, the Bonnells sold to Noble Irwin, a local bootlegger who continued to run a dairy. In l944, Ralph and Alma Woodring bought the farm, installed a milking machine system, and continued in the dairy business. They raised six sons on the farm who remember playing basketball in the loft. In 1959, the Woodrings sold the farm to Gus and Margaret Sarrazin, who used the barn for their beef cattle operation. This handsome barn reflects the ultimate architectural innovation for the storage of winter feed in the early dairying industry. Its majestic silhouette continues to dominate the Lower Shields Valley landscape.

Images

Bonnell Barn

Bonnell Barn

Gothic arched barn in winter | Source: Official records of the Montana Historical Society | Creator: Tom Ferris View File Details Page

Bonnell Barn

Bonnell Barn

Gothic arched barn in winter | Source: Official records of the Montana Historical Society | Creator: Tom Ferris View File Details Page

Access Information:

private

Street Address:

247 Shields River Road East, Clyde Park, Montana [map]

Cite this Page:

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Oliver and Lucy Bonnell Gothic Arch Barn,” Explore Big – Montana's Historic Places, accessed June 24, 2017, http://explorebig.org/items/show/1700.

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