Bunkhouse

Gehring Ranch Historic District

Family accounts associate the bunkhouse with the original Auchard homestead north of the Gehring Ranch. The log skids on which it rests indicate that the building was mobile and a team of draft horses could have dragged it from the Auchard’s. Bunkhouses fill a common ranch need—housing for hired hands. Although most of the hired hands who stayed here tended to farm and ranch duties, carpenter Nelson Sherburne lived in the bunkhouse in 1900 while he remodeled the Gehring House. Sherburne may have introduced lath and plaster to the bunkhouse interior. Often hired men would eat in the rancher’s house to discuss the day’s accomplishments and work plans, but the bunkhouse afforded its occupants privacy and the comforts of a soft bed and warm stove. The pages of a 1928 magazine glued to the walls, a common thermal improvement of the time, attest to the building’s marginal comfort. Although the bunkhouse fell out of use when Gehring acquired another used bunkhouse in 1929, this original bunkhouse served as an occasional home for transient men in search of work during the Great Depression.

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5488 Lincoln Road West, Helena, Montana ~ Private