Thursday, August 6, 2015

Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site

  The Grant-Kohrs Ranch has been preserved as an example of  a frontier cattle operation. Johnny Grant, who started the ranch, built up his herd by trading with Oregon Trail emigrants – one healthy cow or horse for two worn out ones. He built a spacious house in 1862 which became even larger after the new owner Conrad Kohrs, who bought the property in 1866, added a wing in the rear. From the 1880s to the 1950s 15 buildings were constructed on the ranch. At it’s peak the Kohr ranch had  50,000 head of cattle, grazing on 10 million acres of open range land.
  The park has a tiny visitor center plus exhibits in many of the ranch buildings. Sign up at the visitor center to take a guided tour of the house which has the Kohr’s original furnishings from the 1800s. The rest of the ranch is self guided. No fees are charged to enter the park or tour the house.
  The visitor center is accessible. A paved path leads to the ranch house or, with permission, it’s possible to drive and park near the house. A short step from the porch to the house interior could be easily be bridged with a short ramp but the park does not have one. The house interior is accessible.Very little of the rest of the ranch is accessible. Each bunkhouse room has displays with push buttons to start narrations about ranch life but they all have high steps at their entrance. A dirt road with a steep section leads to all of the other buildings. If you can make it down the road, the blacksmith shop and the displays at the restrooms are accessible.
  The parking lot is large enough for RVs.  Ranch
  46.40559, -112.73592


  1. What a huge property Millions of acres....mind boggling!

    1. I think most of it was open range, not really owned by anyone. This was before barb wire and during a huge cattle speculation craze. The buffalo had all been killed and the Indians sent to reservations so people in the east and Europeans figured that they could raise as many cattle as there were previously buffalo but cattle are not nearly as hardy as buffalo. In 1887 a blizzard and record cold killed 100s of 1000s of cattle. Many ranchers quit. The Kohrs survived only with a large bank loan to replace their stock.

      One telling statistic is that it takes 100 acres to feed one cow in Montana while two cows can survive on just one acre in the east. You need a lot of land to be a successful rancher out here!