Gehring Barn

Gehring Ranch Historic District

Residents in the North Helena Valley thought the early morning smoke rising near Silver Creek on September 8, 1928, was a wildfire. They soon learned that David Gehring’s barn was burning. The fire destroyed the barn and, to add insult to injury, took the lives of five horses. The large board-and-batten barn with its sweeping catslide haymow was less than thirty years old and insured for only half the cost of a new replacement. Despite the lack of insurance, drought, and rough economic times, David hired carpenters to rebuild the barn right away. Professionally designed and built barns like this one were a departure from the rough-hewn, labor-intensive buildings that preceded them. The new barn reflects the modern era of barn building and uses dimensional lumber and lightweight balloon framing. Its self-supporting gambrel roof housed a voluminous loft with a pulley and fork system attached to the ridge beam for easy hay loading. In 1933, David further expanded his milk operation when he added a combination cattle barn, milk shed, and loafing shed to the south of the corral.

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5488 Lincoln Road West, Helena, Montana ~ Private