Green Meadow Ranch/Farm • Founded 1887

46°37'33.88"N 112° 2'49.70"W

Architect's Rendering of the Green Meadow Ranch, ca. 1914


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Built by Harry W. Child (1856-1931), former President of the Yellowstone Park Company, the 620-acre spread was located along Green Meadow Drive, just north of the Lewis & Clark County Fairgrounds.

The four main buildings (house, barn, blacksmith shop and granary) were designed in a romantic Swiss chalet style by Robert Reamer (1873-1938). Reamer is best known as the architect of the rusitc Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park.

In 1887, Harry W. Child made a financial killing in the purchase and resale of the land that would become the Green Meadow Ranch. Acting as trustee for a consortium of Northern Pacific Railway executives and others, Child purchased the 620 acres for $62,000 in May and June of 1887. It was sold in August to the St. Paul and Helena Land and Improvement Company for $250,000.

In 1892, Harry W. Child, with partners Silas S. Huntley, L.H. Hershfield, Aaron Hershfield, and others, established the Yellowstone National Park Transportation Company to provide stagecoach travel in the Park. In 1901 Child, Huntley, and E.W. Back purchased the stock of the Yellowstone Park Association to consolidate their control of the concessions. Later that year, Huntley died, leaving Child to control both companies. Child also operated Child & Anceny with C. L. Anceny; that business dealt in real estate and cattle ranching. In 1909 Child, his wife Adelaide D. Child, and their son Huntley Child reorganized the Yellowstone National Park Transportation Company into its constituent parts, the Yellowstone Park Transportation Company and the Yellowstone Park Hotel Company.

In 1914, Child bought back the Green Meadow Ranch (under his wife's name) for an unknown amount. He contracted with Old Faithful Inn architect Robert Reamer to design the main structures.

The showplace barn was 450' long, and 40' high. It was constructed of heavy hand-hewn timbers; the window-frames were hand-carved with fanciful designs featuring horses heads, birds, etc. The barn had three cross-passageways, large enough to drive a team and wagon through. It had three lofts, one of which was sometimes used for dancing.

The residence burned to the ground in 1924, as did the barn in 1956 -- with the loss of twenty head of prize stock. The last owner of the Ranch was Black Angus breeder W. J. Harrer, who sold the land in the 1970s. It has since been subdivided. Harrer and his wife were major benefactors of Helena's Grandstreet Theatre.

 

Two Views of the Green Meadow Ranch Barn


COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON

 


COURTESY OF WENDI KOTTAS PETERSON

 


"Ringmaster" Champion Shorthorn Bull

 

Known for Spuds


The Green Meadow Farm Warehouse, April 3, 1936
Still Standing at 1930 Brady St.


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The warehouse building, 1930 Brady St., has been significantly altered over the years. Tax records show that it is now (2017) owned by Montana Rail Link, Inc. I have not been able to find a construction date.

The sign on the side of the warehouse, "Home of the great big potato", may have been an attempt to piggy-back on a popular and long-running advertising promotion by the Northern Pacific Railway.

Starting in 1908, and running for over thirty years, the N.P. promoted "Great Big Baked Potatoes" in their dining cars. It was discovered that oversized tough-skinned Yakima Valley spuds, which were being sold mostly for livestock feed, lent themslves well to long, slow cooking. Hazen Titus, head of the N.P.'s dining cars, started featuring the big potatoes as a novelty on the trains. They were a big success, and were widely promoted.

I have found no evidence that any of the big N.P. spuds were grown in Montana, but came instead from Washington's Yakima Valley. Green Meadow's warehouse sign, which was located right beside the N.P. tracks west of Helena, may have been a bit misleading, but it probably helped sell some spuds. You can read more about the N.P.'s Big Potatoes here.

It is unknown why the pictured fleet of trucks from Hamilton, Montana were at the warehouse in early spring of 1936, but it's possible they were loading up on potatoes.

In the aftermath of the 1935 earthquakes that rocked Helena, the warehouse served as a Salvation Army shelter.

 

The Green Meadow Farm Warehouse Building, July 2017

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