Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Bair Ranch ...

So among other places, yesterday's roadtrip took me to the tiny town of Martinsdale, Montana ... a place that's home to one of the most unique (and under-visited) museums in the state.

The Bair Family Museum is a sprawling, eccentric building that was once home to one of Montana's most prosperous sheep ranchers. The Bair daughters spent decades filling the house with original art and eighteenth-century French furniture ... and when the last of the ladies died the home became an endowed museum. The place has struggled -- Martinsdale is too remote to draw many visitors, and some of the big-city trustees tried to shut the house down and pirate everything off to the evil city of Billings. The Montana Supreme Court finally had to step in, but now there's hope that the family's legacy will be honored and the museum will survive.

It's a fascinating place, and I highly recommend a visit. If you don't head up there today, though, you'll only have one more chance on Wednesday before the museum closes for the winter. But with luck, they'll open up again next May.


  1. How many miles did you cover? I've wanted to go to Martinsdale too...a distant rellie (not a Bair, that we know of) was Postmaster there once upon an era. Maybe next trip I'll make it all the way there, and Neihart...Mrs. N. was another rellie.

    Friend & I had a great drive over Thompson Pass last Tuesday. What a sweet little town Thompson Falls is. I just adore roadie days...wish I could afford more of them. The weather has been perfect for tripping.

  2. ps...still sussing out the box of pictures I told you about.

  3. Oh, I didn't put an awful lot of miles on the car yesterday, at least by my standard -- a couple hundred or so. But I went via Sixteen MIle Canyon and the ghost town of Castle, so close to half of those miles were probably on dirt. For me, that's a requirement for a good trip. :)

    I do like Thompson Falls, and its lovely setting, too ... haven't been there for quite a while. I did manage to make it through Plains a couple months ago, though, so you can expect a photo or two from that part of the world one of these days!

    And I'm with you ... I could spend the rest of my life doing nothing but drive around, and I'd be completely happy. :)