Filed Under Superior

Swanson Homestead Historic District

The 1855 Hell Gate Treaty and the 1862 completion of the Mullan Road opened the Clark Fork Valley to Euro-American settlement. The discovery of gold at Cedar Creek in 1869 further attracted fortune seekers to the Clark Fork Valley, including Swedish immigrant August Swanson. By 1896, Swanson owned productive claims he worked in the Quartz Creek mining district near Tarkio. He married the recently widowed Sadie Donally McDonald in 1899, who brought daughters Lauchie and Alice into the family. In 1904, the Swansons claimed this 160-acre homestead. They built a log house and subsistence farmed, raising vegetables, fruit, cows, and chickens. August and Sadie welcomed daughter Edna into the fold in 1905. The Swansons continued improving the homestead, adding an orchard, root cellar, barn, cabin, and spring-fed cistern. In 1910, the family took refuge in the cistern’s access tunnel when “The Big Burn,” a colossal wildfire event, threatened the homestead. The Swansons received full title to the land in 1913. Their daughters eventually married and left the farm but maintained close ties with their parents. Edna, and husband Clyde Smith, moved to the homestead in 1938 to help August and Sadie as they aged. After August and Sadie died in 1948, Edna and Clyde raised a family, pursued outside work, and operated the farm until 1987. Nearly unchanged from its formative days, the Swanson Homestead is a lasting testament to the role mining and logging, and later railroad construction and homesteading, played in the settlement of this stretch of Montana’s Clark Fork Valley.

Images

Swanson Homestead
Swanson Homestead Overview of Swanson Homestead, view to the north Source: National Register of Historic Places. On file at MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Richard Gould Date: 2021
Swanson Homestead
Swanson Homestead Farmhouse, view to the southwest Source: National Register of Historic Places. On file at MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Richard Gould Date: 2021
Swanson Homestead
Swanson Homestead One room cabin, view to the east. Source: National Register of Historic Places. On file at MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Richard Gould Date: 2021
Swanson Homestead
Swanson Homestead Swanson barn in winter, view to the east. Source: National Register of Historic Places. On file at MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Richard Gould Date: 2021
Swanson Homestead
Swanson Homestead Root cellar, view to the south. Source: National Register of Historic Places. On file at MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Richard Gould Date: 2021
Swanson Homestead
Swanson Homestead Remnant orchard, view to the north Source: National Register of Historic Places. On file at MT State Historic Preservation Office, Helena, MT. Creator: Richard Gould Date: 2021

Metadata

Montana Historical Society, “Swanson Homestead Historic District,” Historic Montana, accessed July 13, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/3499.