Gehring Ranch Historic District

Born in Germany and raised on a farm in Indiana, Bartholomew Gehring left home in 1862 at the start of the Civil War. By 1865, he had arrived in the Helena area, where he began raising cattle to supply the area’s booming mining camps. Acco¬rding to family stories, neighboring farmer David Auchard summoned his sister Jane west from New York state, in part to meet Bartholomew. In 1871, Jane and Bartholomew married and together they homesteaded here, developing a successful, mixed farming operation along the Helena–Fort Benton Road. To attract customers, the Gehrings placed a trough by the road, where passersby could water their stock while purchasing chickens, dairy products, berries, apples, potatoes, and other garden produce. The Gehrings also raised cattle, horses, and oxen. Twenty-two structures trace the ranch’s growth over four generations. Several of the ranch’s earliest log buildings remain intact, including a stable, blacksmith shop, and granary, all built before 1878. Bartholomew and Jane’s son David mechanized and expanded the operation. In the 1910s he expanded many older buildings and added two hog barns, a second granary, and an engine house, used to work on the farm’s tractors. The iconic red, gambrel-roofed barn dates to 1930 while a milk house was built in 1933, reflecting the growing dairy operation. Perhaps the family home best illustrates the ranch’s development. Beneath the house’s shiplap siding are two 1870s-era log cabins; the large two-story gable rear section was added in 1928. The residence remains home to the fourth generation of Gehrings to make their living from the land.

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5488 Lincoln Road West, Helena, Montana ~ Private