Saturday, September 22, 2007

Historic Homesteads in Missouri Breaks

This old home was adjacent to Hole In The Wall Campsite (river mile 63), and though I didn't locate any history on the place, it had furniture and appliances intact.

The small kitchen still had painted walls, shelving with a few dishes, and a wood burning kitchen stove...

... as well as this stove on the unenclosed front porch.

The Ervin Smith homestead located at Cabin Rapids at river mile 113 was originally built by a woodhawk, a name given to the men who tried to make their fortunes by cutting down nearly every cottonwood tree on the river to sell to the steamboats plying the river with goods and passengers. These boats required 30 cords of wood per day to fight their way upriver each Spring when the water level allowed their passage.

In 1922, 25 year old Ervin Smith filed homestead papers on the 149 acre property. He was soon joined by his brother, Arnold, and together they grew corn and alfalfa and raised hogs and cattle. In addition to this 20' by 30' house, they also constructed a 100' by 100' cattle shed and 2 log barns. Years later, Ervin, while talking to his friend Jim Kipp (for whom the recreation area is named), confided, "Some day they'll make a park out of this whole country down here!" How right he was! Below, Greg and his boys check out the interior.

The third homestead was at Gist Bottom campsite along Bullwhacker Creek at river mile 122. It was first settled around 1899 by John Ervin who raised a herd of 150 Percheron draft horses and 25 head of cattle. Below is the house, with the kitchen addition to the right.

The original building appeared to be only the large entry room, with the 2 small bedrooms added later.

The kitchen was an obvious final add-on, and still has operating drawers in the cabinets (albeit filled with mouse nests and dung.)

In 1930, the Sanfords bought the property, followed by the Gist family, who farmed the 320 acres until 1980 when the BLM bought the land. Below is the shed, a huge 5 double-door structure still partially intact, one of a dozen or so out-buildings. Hundreds of yards of triple rail fencing was still intact, some standing and some on the ground but with posts and rails still connected.

A dozen or so implements still dotted the acreage.

One of the out buildings was the out house, a two-holer still intact and equipped with a wire basket presumably to hold reading material/wiping material.

A well constructed and large root cellar was also still intact.

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