Living History Farm

Outside the Museum of the Rockies was a very cool Living History Farm.  The volunteers at this place continue to live and work in period dress and continue to do all the normal frontier chores that would have been common 150 years ago including growing all their own food and making homemade dishes from scratch that visitors can taste. I like places like this to really show visitors and their kids who grew up with the convenience of modern day civilization just what life was like out on the frontier. You can read all the books in the world and look at vintage photos but until you actually come to a historic site like this that has been preserved and continually used and see in this lifestyle in person you cant quite grasp just how much work every day life was.

We did a self tour of the home, all of the older ladies were buisy giving tours or doing end of the day chores to get ready to close up.  As we went through I was showing Cece what things were and they all seemed real impressed that I knew what everything was, its function and how to use it.  We explained that we were from New Mexico where a lot of this stuff is all still used.

A picture for my boss who grows and sells a lot of Heirloom variety vegetables at his hobby farm that takes up his spare time.  This was the last week of June and the growing season in Montana is fairly short so there wasnt a whole lot to look at just some rows of seedlings.  The old farmer told us they use everything they grow on site in the preparation of the meals. A real frontier farm would have been several times larger than this one, this one is just maintained as an example of the farming techniques of the day and doesn’t have to produce enough to fully support a family.

The back of the house shows just how narrow the rooms were indoors.  The staircase had to be very steep to not waste much floor space.

Several nice vintage appliances in the home like these Singer sewing machines.

One room was dedicated to cloth-making and had all the separating and spinning equipment you would need along with several examples of looms like this one.  There was also smaller kid sized looms for teaching the little ones how to weave.

What town or big farm could survive without a blacksmith around?  These guys were the high tech labor of the day, if anything needed fixed, built, or invented you had to call a black smith, now days you call your IT guy.  This guy was just a newbie and only making s hooks of various lengths,  I knew more about borax and forge welding than he did.

Shoes for a giant horse, they also had some mining donkey shoes with the 3 inch long cone spikes for traction.

Outside was some beautiful landscaping, I have no idea what kind of flowers these are the ones below are bleeding hearts.


This was the building that I was most impressed by.  It doesn’t look like much but I am going to build one of these when I end up building my house 🙂 This is a root cellar and a design I’d never seen before.  From the front it looks like just a shed, inside it has very steep stairs down into the cool underground chaimber. The walls are stacked stone without morter with a vaulted ceiling.  I’m not exactly sure how the roof was constructed I would have liked to have seen that done or some in progress photos. Its not as deep as cellars I’ve been in back home only maybe 5 or 6 feet down but with the cooler temperatures in Montana this should be sufficient.  Instead it has a higher mound of earth piled up on the roof at ground level, better seen from the side profile below.

I like this design with the doorway at the top of the stairs better than modern ones I’ve seen with the door at the bottom, or the kind that open up and out which would take too much effort when covered with snow or as I get too old 😉

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