In 1932, Thomas and Agnes Regan and their five children hiked the Continental Divide searching out the perfect site for a family cabin. A U.S. Forest Service program, available from 1915 through the 1970s, encouraged recreational use of the national forests by offering multi-year leases to those who would build vacation retreats. The Regans, among the first to lease land in this area, chose this clearing for its expansive view, gentle slope, freshwater spring, and proximity to the newly constructed Highway 12. A busy Helena dentist who preferred to reserve Saturday nights for his family, Dr. Regan wanted a place where he could not be reached by phone. He and his teenaged son built this cabin with assistance from some of the doctor’s patients. Money was scarce during the Depression, and many people were eager to work off their bills. Elliston-area rancher Ross Teets helped cut and haul trees to the cabin site with his team of horses, while East Helena carpenter and businessman Al Harstead provided construction expertise. Stonemason Neil O’Donnell built the rubblestone foundation, retaining wall, stone entry steps, and the massive interior fireplace. The cabin’s Craftsman-style elements include battered (tapered) corners, multi-pane windows, and exposed rafter tails. Both the structure and its setting, with their romantic associations to the pioneering West, provided the perfect antidote to modern life for a family seeking refreshment in the forest.

Images

Map

McDonald Pass, Highway 12 West, Helena, Montana ~ Public