Filed Under Red Lodge

Camp Senia Historic District

As a teenager, Alfred Croonquist guided fishing trips and dreamed of a place where eastern visitors could enjoy Montana’s bounty. In 1919, the first building on the banks of the West Fork of Rock Creek was completed. Camp Senia, named for Alfred’s wife, was the first, and is now the only intact survivor, of four dude ranches and fishing camps in the Beartooth Mountains. Forty-five dollars a week included plenty of good food and a horse. Visitors were instructed to bring “western togs” and hang their “city clothes on the hitching post.” With the help of friends, Alfred added nineteen buildings over the next decade that reveal sophistication and skill in the use of native materials. The summer of 1929 marked a record-breaking tourist year in the West, but the Great Depression brought an end to dude ranching at Camp Senia in the 1930s. Alfred, an organizer of the Dude Ranchers Association and an active conservationist, did much to pioneer tourism in Montana and Carbon County. Today the Western Rustic style cabins of lodge pole pine and native river cobble stand as a reminder of the Croonquists’ foresight, surrounded by the forest wilderness they both loved.

Images

Camp Senia Family Cabin Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Kate Hampton Date: June 2016
Camp Senia family cabin View of handpainted door symbol Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Kate Hampton Date: June 2016
Camp Senia family cabin Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Kate Hampton Date: June 2016
Camp Senia family cabin View of cabin and mountains Source: MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Kate Hampton Date: June 2016
Dining hall View of facade Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination form, MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Edrie Vinson Date: Oct 1987
Family cabin Source: National Register of Historic Places Nomination form, MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena Creator: Edrie Vinson Date: Oct 1987

Location

Custer National Forest | Private | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Camp Senia Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed February 4, 2023, https://historicmt.org/items/show/121.