Helena mining man W. C. Child initiated this ranch about 1885, as the “White Face Farm” stocked with some of the first purebred Herefords in Montana Territory. Then came the infamous “Hard Winter of 1886-87,” when deep snows and months of freezing temperatures followed drought years that had left feed sparse. Open-range cattle herds were decimated. When spring arrived, Child built the massive fieldstone barn, 55 feet tall and 100 square feet on both lower level and loft, along with other stone outbuildings. The barn held stalls for 500 cattle and could store 350 tons of hay; it is Montana’s largest barn. Shortly after its construction came that of the octagonal ranch house, which runs 20 feet on a side. With his permanent residence in Helena, Child used the structure only for meetings and parties; guests arrived via Child’s personal railroad car. The house’s entire second floor was an open ballroom. The Silver Panic of 1893 ruined Child financially, and he died that same year. As the ranch passed from owner to owner, its buildings deteriorated over the years until the Paul Kleffner family began restoration in 1943.

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305 Highway 518, East Helena, Montana ~ private