A group of adventurous fly fishermen from Salt Lake City began annual fishing trips in the 1890s, first camping near Henry’s Lake in Idaho and eventually traveling over Targhee Pass to the South Fork of the Madison River in Montana. Originally arriving by wagon and later by train, the “Lonesomehurst Group,” as they became known, set up their fishing camp on the South Fork. In 1916, the construction of Hebgen Dam inundated the South Fork and changed a most beautiful part of the Madison River forever. In 1919, John H. Horlick of the Lonesomehurst Group took advantage of the 1915 Term Occupancy Act allowing for recreational residences on forest lands. He received a special use permit and built a primitive fishing cabin along Hebgen Lake’s western shoreline. One of the oldest recreational cabins in the Gallatin National Forest, it has been held by just three families since its construction. Attorney Robert Mark purchased the cabin in 1931 and improved it considerably. David and Mary Bascom bought the cabin in 1956, three years before the 1959 earthquake caused the lake to recede 22 feet. David, under the name Milford Poltroon, published West Yellowstone’s famed “piscatorial periodical,” The Wretched Mess News. From primitive fishing cabin to “improved” summer home, the cabin today reflects the eclectic timelessness of a long used and well-loved retreat. Jan Dunbar (Horlick’s granddaughter) speaks eloquently of the cabin: “the history of a place like Lonesomehurst is so unlikely, the survival of that old cabin also unlikely, and the window it gives on a former world is indeed fascinating.”

Images

Lonesomehurst Cabin
Lonesomehurst Cabin Lonesomehurst Cabin. Front to side view of the cabin structure, near the Fork Arm of Hebgen Lake. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joan L. Brownell Date: Aug.- Oct. 2010
Lonesomehurst Cabin
Lonesomehurst Cabin Lonesomehurst Cabin. Front/side view of the cabin structure, near the Fork Arm of Hebgen Lake. The shoreline is visible in this photograph in the foreground. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joan L. Brownell Date: Aug.- Oct. 2010
Lonesomehurst Cabin
Lonesomehurst Cabin Lonesomehurst Cabin. Rear to side view of the cabin structure, near the Fork Arm of Hebgen Lake towards the water. Source: Montana State Historic Preservation Office Creator: Joan L. Brownell Date: Aug.- Oct. 2010

Location

Lonesomehurst Residential Residence. Block A. Lot 1, West Yellowstone, Montana | Private | Public

Metadata

The Montana National Register Sign Program, “Lonesomehurst Cabin,” Historic Montana, accessed March 4, 2024, https://historicmt.org/items/show/601.