Filed Under Turner

Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack

The Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 brought settlers to Montana and to this area called the Big Flat. Neil J. Scherlie was among the first to file a homestead claim and over the course of four years, three sisters and two brothers made claims nearby. Thirty-two-year-old Anna Scherlie arrived in 1913, becoming part of a long tradition of women homesteaders in Montana. In fact, in the four surrounding townships, women made up about one-fourth of the total homestead applicants. By 1916, Anna had forty acres planted in wheat, oats, and flax. Isolation on the Big Flat led many settlers to winter elsewhere and Anna followed suit. Legend has it that she went to St. Paul to work for the family of railroad magnate James J. Hill. Over the decades, Anna made few changes to her small wood-frame shack, adding only a vestibule for use as a summer kitchen, a storage shed, and laundry. Droughts, depression, and two world wars passed. Anna remained here long after her neighbors had built modern homes, insisting that she was “too old for modern conveniences.” The Spartan lifestyle seems to have been Anna’s preference. When she died in 1973, an estate of more than $100,000 was divided among eighteen nieces and nephews; her ashes were scattered beneath a lilac bush on the property. Leon and Nellie Cederburg purchased the homestead when its seasoned resident moved to Havre in 1968. Rather than return the site to crop land, the Cederbergs maintain the homestead exactly as Anna left it.

Images

Scherlie Homestead
Scherlie Homestead Scherlie homestead b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Nellie Cederberg Date: Copyright restrictions applying to use or reproduction of this image (which may be protected by copyright law - Title 17 U.S. Code) are available from the Montana Historical Society Research Center.
Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack
Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack. Front view of the house, facing west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Nellie Cederberg Date: May 1996
Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack
Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack. Front view of the storage building, facing west. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Nellie Cederberg Date: May 1996
Anna Scherlie Homestead
Anna Scherlie Homestead Photo of house exterior. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer Date: 25 June, 2022
Anne Scherlie Homestead
Anne Scherlie Homestead Photo of homestead exterior. Source: Montana Historical Society Creator: Tom Ferris, photographer Date: 25 June, 2022

Location

Highway 241, Turner, Montana | private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Anna Scherlie Homestead Shack,” Historic Montana, accessed March 2, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/104.