Western Cultural conducted a historic building inventory for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) on the Dreyer Ranch on the Blackfoot Clearwater Wildlife Management Area in Powell County, Montana. FWP is proposing to remove a number of the structures due to safety and liability concerns, and the collapsed condition of several of the structures. The survey of the ranch occurred on May 2, 2018 and was conducted by Western Cultural personnel Daniel S. Hall, William T. Norman and Jay T. Vest. The proposed undertaking is located on public lands administered by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks, therefore the requirements of the Montana State Antiquity Act apply.
The Dreyer Ranch site (24PW0673) was originally recorded by Dori Passmann in 1998. The current project examined the buildings described in the original site form and assessed the integrity of each building. Two of the buildings described in the original site form, Building 1 and Building 2, have been removed since the initial recording. In addition to the buildings described in the original recording, Western Cultural recorded an additional 10 features and one building.
The land on which the Dreyer Ranch sits was first patented in 1902 by John T. Manning. In addition to the land patent, the 1900 US Census shows John T. Manning, and his brother James Manning, living on a farm in vicinity of the current location of the Dreyer Ranch. Obituaries for John T. Manning and James Manning, from 1907 and 1912 respectively, state that the Manning’s had lived in the area of the ranch for 25 to 30 years, indicating that they may have been living at the Dreyer Ranch location as early as 1883 or 1884.
The most significant change to the site is Building 11, the historic log barn, which fell victim to recent heavy snow loads. Unfortunately the historic barn has collapsed. This grandiose log structure dates to the original historic ranch settlement, circa 1905. Building 11 was originally described as a barn constructed of treated logs brought together with square corner notches and chinked with Portland cement. The barn had two stories and a poured concrete floor with no foundation and it is resting on the sill logs. The roof is gabled, constructed of planed lumber, and covered with tar paper has collapsed. The original recording also states that a concrete floor was poured inside the structure in the 1940s.