Filed Under Missoula

Moon-Randolph Ranch

In 1889, Ray and Luella Moon filed a homestead claim on 160 acres two miles north of Missoula. The Minnesota couple built a shed-roofed claim shack, broke an acre of land, dug a well, and planted a garden. Five years later, the Moons had installed 580 rods of fence, constructed a 23-by-27-foot barn, planted seventy-five fruit trees, and expanded their cultivated acreage to thirty. The day after the Moons "proved up" in 1894, they sold the homestead to Ray's parents. William and Emma Randolph purchased the farm in 1907. Over time, they expanded their operation to 414 acres, on which they raised fruit, vegetables, poultry, dairy cows, a few beef, honey bees, and pigs. Six days a week, William peddled the farm's produce to Missoulians in a horse-drawn wagon along an established route. Cobbling together a living from small-scale mining, agriculture, and odd jobs, the Randolphs were well-known for their willingness to share food and coal—mined from a seam on their property—with those in need. The Randolph's farm reflected the family's necessary frugality. William constructed buildings from salvaged boxcar siding and incorporated car parts, shovels, and bed frames into his fences. After World War II, an expanding trucking industry, mechanization, and industry consolidation transformed agriculture. Small, diversified farms like the Randolph's became increasingly rare. Although he lived here until 1995, William and Emma's son Bill worked in Missoula to make ends meet. In 1995, the city purchased the property, which remains a testament to the era when local farmers produced most of the food that Montanans consumed.

Images

Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Harness Shed. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Kindling Shed. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. Overview of the ranch from the hill above, facing northeast. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. Looking south into the settled center of the farm. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. Overview of the ranch from the hill above, facing northwest. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the ice/milk house. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Homestead House. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Chicken House-1946 Remodel. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Winch Shed. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Tin Shed. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the barn structure. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of "The Cabin" and Woodshop building. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Homestead Outhouse structure. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000
Moon-Randolph Ranch Moon-Randolph Ranch. View of the Chicken House/Goat Shed structure. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Caitlin Desilvey Date: Apr. 2000

Location

1515 Spurlock Road, Missoula, Montana | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Moon-Randolph Ranch,” Historic Montana, accessed December 7, 2022, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1656.