This ranch embodies the history of progressive agriculture in Montana. Missourian John W. Popham brought his family to a homestead covered with sagebrush and bitterroot. They gradually cleared the land, did subsistence farming, and supplemented their diet with fish, grouse, and wild rabbit. Son Edward claimed an adjoining 160-acre homestead and joined his father and other settlers in surveying and digging the “Surprise Ditch” to bring irrigation water from the Bitterroot River. John and Edward, with other community leaders, helped found Corvallis’s Presbyterian Church and Odd Fellow’s Lodge. In 1909, Edward was a leader in forming the Farmer’s Mutual Fire Insurance Co., which is still active. Edward Popham pioneered mechanization of agriculture in the area, which allowed farmers to increase their land holdings and raise cash crops. In 1932, his son Clarence took over the farm operation and further mechanized it, making it possible to grow sugar beets and pears. Continuing the family tradition, Clarence Popham made many contributions to civic and governmental endeavors, including the Bitter Root Valley Resource Conservation and Development Project.

Images

Popham Ranch
Popham Ranch Popham Ranch (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]
Popham Ranch
Popham Ranch Popham Ranch (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]
Popham Ranch, west view
Popham Ranch, west view West view (recto) color print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]
Popham Ranch, barn
Popham Ranch, barn May 31, '87 (recto) color print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photogapher Date: May 31, 1987
Popham Ranch, outbuilding
Popham Ranch, outbuilding Popham Ranch (verso) b&w print Source: Official records of the Montana State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, Montana Creator: Unidentified photographer Date: [no date]

Location

460 NE Popham Lane, Corvallis, Montana | Private

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Popham Ranch,” Historic Montana, accessed February 21, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/1726.