Frederick and Josephine Bottler House
Fred Bottler came to Montana over the Bozeman Trail in 1865, moving circa 1868 to the Upper Yellowstone, where he and brother Phil claimed 320 acres. Fred was a commercial hunter, supplying thousands of wolf pelts and elk hides to the New York market. An avid explorer who claimed to have visited Yellowstone’s Fire Hole Basin in 1866, Fred also served as guide and hunter for the 1872 Hayden Expedition. This is his fifth documented residence on the ranch, his share of which grew to over 1,700 acres. The first house was a primitive bachelor shanty. Early guidebooks described Fred’s second residence, the 1874 two-story frame hotel where he lived with mother Catherine and two brothers, as the “last abode of civilization.” Opened to serve Yellowstone Park visitors, the hotel prospered until the 1883 completion of a railroad line from Bozeman to Gardiner. In 1880 Fred married Josie Shorthill and the couple, seeking privacy, built the tidy log cabin where their two children were born. When the federal government banned most hunting in the park in 1883, Fred and Josie turned to sheep ranching; in 1893 they built a grand twenty-one-room Victorian mansion as a testament to their success. After a fire destroyed that home in 1904, they rebuilt on a more modest but still elegant scale. The gable-front-and-wing, “Free Classic” Queen Anne style residence features the jumble of rooflines typical of the Queen Anne style and the boxed cornices and minimalist detailing found in Neoclassical style homes.