Elkhorn Ranch Historic District

By 1920 more Americans lived in industrial cities than in rural places, leading to a growing romanticism about the natural world. At the same time, films and dime novels fed fascination with the Old West. These factors combined to fuel a new industry: dude ranching. In 1922, Ernest and Grace Miller purchased an existing homestead cabin and property for $500 and established the Elkhorn Ranch, hosting four eastern guests that first summer season. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, the Miller family, with the help of former trapper, legendary guide, and long-term employee Cruse Black, added thirty-three Rustic style buildings. These included substantial log cabins carefully sited to maximize breathtaking views. Unlike buildings typically found on working ranches, the cabins feature large windows and spacious porches, furnished with hand-hewn chairs and benches. Other aesthetic details, including log multi-chord gable trusses, antler door handles, horseshoe latches, stone fireplaces, and wagon wheel chandeliers added to the Rec Hall in 1949 when electricity arrived in the canyon, ornament ranch structures. Today the Elkhorn Ranch remains a stunning example of an intact, purpose-built dude ranch little changed from the ranch's early period. Industry pioneers, the Millers helped found the Dude Ranchers’ Association in 1926. The Millers’ daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Ron Hymas, took over the ranch in the 1960s. They brought in several Rustic style buildings from the nearby 7-11 Ranch and the former Sage Creek Ranger Station. Yet even as they expanded the ranch’s capaMiles City, they carefully maintained an atmosphere of hospitality echoing the spirit of the Old West.



33133 Gallatin Road, Gallatin Gateway, Montana ~ Private