Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
OVERVIEW: Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, located in Montana, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior.
This park is situated in Deer Lodge, approximately 38 miles northwest of Butte, and just over 80 miles southeast of Missoula.
The park was designated a national historic site in 1972. Each year, thousands of visitors come to discover the role of cattle ranchers in US history and explore the historic connections to the Grant and Kohrs families, who lived and worked here in the 1800s. Visitors can experience the preserved, historic landscape with a working ranch and engage in outdoor activities in the park's scenic setting.
A variety of experiences at the park can enhance your visit. Head to the visitor center for an orientation, information, and a bookstore. Follow walkways to over 80 historic structures at the ranch. Tour the Victorian elegance of the Ranch House and the ranch's wide-open spaces. Hike nature trails, where wildlife saddle up to the ranch's livestock. Complete the Junior Ranger booklet and other fun activities.
The park is happy to make accommodations to visitors with accessibility needs. The first floor of the main ranch house, the restrooms, and some walkways in the park are accessible. Accessible parking is also available. Please stop in at the visitor center for details. To find out more about what resources might be available, please visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections in this audio-described brochure. You can also visit the park website for more information.
OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure
Welcome to the audio-described version of the official print brochure for Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.
Through text and audio descriptions of the brochure's photos, illustrations, and maps, this audio version interprets the two-sided color brochure that park visitors receive.
The front of the brochure explores the history of the Grant-Kohrs Ranch and the cattle ranching era in the United States.
The back of the brochure explores the Grant and Kohrs families, provides two maps (the park and the surrounding area), and helps you plan your visit.
This audio version lasts about 60 minutes, which we have divided into 101 sections, as a way to improve your listening experience.
Sections 6 through 29 cover the front of the brochure.
Sections 30 through 101 cover the back of the brochure.
This edition is based off the Harpers Ferry Center Visitor Information Brochure GRKO 2018—403-332/82153.
We hope you enjoy this experience and learning more about Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.
OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure
The front side of the brochure has fourteen graphic elements, including three modern landscape images showing longhorns, horses, and ranchers; two illustrated maps about historic cattle grazing sites and transportation routes; an image of the ranch's historic branding irons; a Western-style painting; a timeline; and six historic images of US cattle ranchers.
This side covers open range history and cattle breeds, the historic US cattle ranching industry and the ranch's place in it, the history of the Open Range Era in Montana, a timeline of the ranch's history from 1804 to the present, historic transportation routes across the Plains states, the many people associated with cattle ranching on the North American continent, the decline of the Open Range Era, and cattle ranching today. A special feature looks at the myth and reality of the American cowboy.
OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure
The back side of the brochure examines the lives of frontier families who have called the ranch home, provides orientation to the park and regional area, includes essential information for planning your visit, and introduces you to nearby points of interest.
Also on the back are four historic portrait photographs, four modern photographs of park resources and landscapes, the park map with descriptions of the main buildings, and a regional map.
The park is happy to make accommodations to visitors with accessibility needs. The first floor of the main ranch house, the restrooms, and some walkways in the park are accessible. Accessible parking is also available. Please stop in at the visitor center for details. To find out more about what resources might be available, please also visit the "More Information" section in this audio-described brochure. You can also visit the park website for more information.
OVERVIEW: More information
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Learn more at www.nps.gov.
Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
266 Warren Lane
Deer Lodge, MT 59722
National Park Foundation
Join the park community.
IMAGE: Open Range Cattle Breeds
Texas Longhorn cattle were one of the main breeds during the Open Range Era. One shown at left in the foreground stands under bright sunlight. Its hair is rusty brown with swaths of white on its forehead and neck. Its long, textured horns jut outward then curve sharply upward. Its squinting eyes aim at you. It has a pale pink nose and mouth that isn’t exactly smiling. Hereford cattle, like Conrad Warren’s, were also introduced then. Dozens of plump, dark-colored ones with white heads and chests stand, knee-deep in a vast field of tall grass in front of a distant, rising mountain range in a black-and-white background photo.
TEXT: An Open Range of Opportunity
It was about wealth—opportunity. It was also about people who, by the early 1800s, made the trying journey west, across North America’s vast plains, hoping for a shot at fortune. Fur, gold, or trade—it didn’t always matter how. It was more about the prospect of it all.
They traveled through the Plains, these pioneers, trailblazers forging paths through the wild frontier. They couldn’t do it alone, so a patchwork of people emerged—African, American, Canadian, European, American Indian, and more—trading at outposts, blending as families, and working together.
With the 1850s came change. The fur industry ended, American Indians moved to reservations, and people began to wonder: Did the Plains offer more than passage to the next opportunity—gold fields farther west? A few thought maybe they still had a fighting chance on the Plains. They thought of settling and trying their luck at something new. Could they prosper on the wide open range? Was there money to be made in another industry—say, cattle ranching?
TEXT: The Lucky Few
By the mid-1860s the western cattle industry was set to boom. Dwindling bison herds, from 60 million in the early 1800s to under 1,000 by 1884, opened up the range to cattle. The growth of eastern cities, primarily due to the new industrialized economy, led to a demand for beef.
Soldiers returning to Texas after the Civil War found millions of roaming, unbranded cattle. Too many cattle in Texas, not enough beef in the eastern cities—this meant the same cow selling in Texas for $2 could sell in New York City, Boston, or Chicago for $30 to $40.
Montana’s industry took off. Poindexter and Orr were the first to register a brand in Montana in 1864. From April to December, 1866, Nelson Story made the first cattle drive from Texas to Montana. Driving more than 1,000 Texas Longhorns, he and his twenty-five cowboys defied the US Cavalry and continued through Sioux territory. After surviving several attacks, they arrived in Bozeman, where hungry miners paid ten times the purchase price for his cattle.
It seemed the Plains did offer more than passage west. People could prosper on the open range, and money could be made in cattle ranching—at least, for the lucky few. This site, where the families of Johnny Grant and Conrad Kohrs ranched for over 130 years, helps tell the story of the many people of the Open Range Era.
IMAGE: Johnny Grant
This is a grainy black-and-white, historic portrait photo of a part white, part American Indian man in his middle years. Grant has a dark, bushy goatee; dark eyes gazing straight at the camera; a straight nose with slightly flaring nostrils; and dark, wavy hair combed generously over to the right that curls out a couple inches past each ear and ends about an inch below his jawline. He is wearing a dark, straight-collared shirt with a lighter-colored edge and a light-colored cravat. A very small, round pin shines brightly from the left side of his collar.
IMAGE: Conrad Kohrs
This is a crisp black-and-white, historic portrait photo of an older white man with pale-colored eyes gazing at the camera. Kohrs wears a dark suit jacket with a notched lapel that has a boutonniere hole on the right side. A white dress shirt peeks between the closed jacket collar and dark bowtie. His full, shaggy, gray-and-white beard covers half the bowtie. His smooth, silvery hair is combed far to the left and curls around the top of each ear. His nose is straight. His grayish-white eyebrows arch down around the sides of his eyes. Lines beneath his cheeks are deepened.
IMAGE: Nelson Story
This is a black-and-white, historic portrait photo of an older white man, angled to the right. His pale-colored eyes gaze off to the right. Story has thin, straight white hair parted neatly on the left side and cropped very close to his head. His longish nose juts out above a long, scraggly, white goatee that seems to fork a little bit at the end. He wears a dark, double-breasted suit with dark, decorative buttons on his jacket. Underneath, a dark v-shaped vest covers a white, collared dress shirt with white buttons. A dark bowtie is half-hidden by his goatee.
TEXT: US Historic Cattle Trails and Railroads
Ranchers could profit off the open range by supplying beef to cities. For six months or longer some cowboys drove thousands of cattle thousands of miles from Texas to the northern plains. They fattened up the cattle then trailed them to railheads for shipment east.
MAP: Overview—US Historic Cattle Trails and Railroads
In this illustrated map, the United States of America is shown from the West Coast eastward to just past the Mississippi River, and from its northern border with Canada down into northern Mexico and the Gulf states.
Pale green indicates the lower-elevation Plains states. Darker green shows higher elevations. Tan indicates desert areas. Blue indicates water. Red solid lines indicate historical cattle trails. Black solid lines with intersecting dashes evenly spaced throughout indicate historical railroad routes. Gray lines indicate state and international borders.
The following states are labeled, west to east/north to south: California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois. Several other states are shown but not labeled. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are more brightly colored to highlight the states in a regional map below.
Cities and towns labeled on the map, west to east/north to south, are Deer Lodge and Miles City, Montana; Fort Laramie and Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver and Pueblo, Colorado; Fort Buford, North Dakota; Julesburg, Colorado; Ogallala, Nebraska; Dodge City and Ellsworth, Kansas; San Antonio, Texas; Caldwell and Abilene, Kansas; Fort Worth, Texas; Newton and Wichita, Kansas; Red River Station, Dallas, and Brownsville, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Kansas City, Missouri; Houston, Texas; Sedalia and St. Louis, Missouri; and Chicago, Illinois.
MAP: Railroad Routes—US Historic Cattle Trails and Railroads
Three railroad routes are shown, all running west to east. The northernmost has stops at Denver, Julesburg, Ogallala, Omaha, and Chicago. The middle route has stops at Denver, Ellsworth, Abilene, and Kansas City; then, it could head northeast to Chicago directly or east to Sedalia, St. Louis, and Chicago. The southernmost has stops at Pueblo, Dodge City, Newton, and Kansas City; then, it could head northeast to Chicago directly or east to Sedalia, St. Louis, and Chicago.
MAP: Cattle Routes—US Historic Cattle Trails and Railroads
Five cattle routes are labeled. Others are not labeled.
The Kohrs Trail (1879) starts many miles north of Deer Lodge, Montana, and heads east to Miles City, Montana, where it meets the beginning of the Bozeman Trail.
The Kohrs Trail (1870-78) runs west to east/north to south from Deer Lodge to Fort Laramie, Wyoming, where it joins up with the Bozeman Trail.
The Bozeman Trail runs from Miles City, past Fort Laramie, to Cheyenne, Wyoming, where it splits, either heading east to Ogallala, Nebraska, via an unnamed trail to join up with an unnamed north-south trail or continuing south past Denver and Pueblo, Colorado, to merge into the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
The Goodnight-Loving Trail runs due south through the length of New Mexico before turning sharply east at the Texas border, where it meets the unnamed cattle trail mentioned before many miles north of San Antonio.
This unnamed trail runs from Fort Buford, North Dakota, through Ogallala, where it can connect to the Goodnight-Loving Trail, then through Dodge City, Kansas. At Dodge City, it can split off to join the Chisholm Trail, then end at San Antonio.
From San Antonio, the Chisholm Trail is a north-south trail that either splits off toward Houston or Brownsville, Texas, a little ways north of San Antonio or continues through Fort Worth and Red River Station, Texas, with a junction toward Dodge City. At Dodge City, it continues north to Caldwell, Kansas, where it branches off further, either northwest toward Ellsworth, Kansas, or northeast toward Wichita, Newton, and Abilene, all in Kansas.
An unnamed trail starting in Brownsville heads to the northeast past the Houston-Chisholm trail junction, through Dallas, Texas. It then forks at the northeast Oklahoma border three ways: north to Kansas City, northeast to Sedalia, and east-northeast to St. Louis, all in Missouri.
MAP: Grazing Sites for Conrad Kohrs' Cattle
By the 1890s Kohrs’ cattle grazed on over 10 million acres of public land. Green dots show where his cattle grazed.
In this illustrated map, against the tan background of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, thirteen grazing sites are shown as green dots. Montana has ten sites. The nearest to Idaho is at the town of Deer Lodge, labeled in western Montana. Seven sites are northeast of Deer Lodge, two of which meet the US-Canada border. Two more sites are southeast of Deer Lodge, one of which crosses the Wyoming border. Wyoming also has a south-central site and a site southeast of here that is mostly inside the Colorado border. Finally, Idaho has one grazing site near its border with Wyoming.
IMAGE: The CK Was One of Kohrs' Brands
Brands symbolized pride, reputation, and a cow’s ownership. A modern, color photo shows two rusty branding irons, “C” and “K.”
TEXT: Ranching People and Cultures
For centuries Spanish ranch hands (vaqueros) roamed North America’s western lands. They honed skills and techniques in horsemanship and raised cattle in vast, arid terrains.
Spanish land grants led to many of the West’s first ranches. Spain granted some land to women. Maria Rita Valdez, of Spanish and African descent, owned a 4,500-acre cattle ranch in California. Her ranch, Rancho Rodeo de las Aguas, is now the site of the Beverly Hills Hotel, and Rodeo Drive is named after it.
The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole raised cattle in the Indian Territory as early as the 1830s. By 1861 the Cherokee Nation’s herd had grown to 250,000. Their approach of communal land ownership suited open-range grazing. When the last grazing ground opened to white settlement in 1893, tribes lost over 300,000 cattle.
Cattle ranching was established in Mexico by the 1860s. Many Mexicans owned ranches, especially in the Southwest and California. Some Mexican ranchers ventured northward into the Plains.
Some women found success as cattle ranchers. Widow Margaret Borland took over her husband’s cattle business, grew the herd to 10,000, and became the first woman trail boss. She once drove over 1,000 head up the Chisholm Trail from south Texas to Wichita.
As a single woman, cattle rancher Lizzie Johnson registered a brand in her name. In 1879 she and her husband signed a premarital contract that allowed her to keep control of her financial affairs and keep her property separate. By her death her estate was worth almost $250,000.
Nearly one in four cowboys were of African descent. Born enslaved in Tennessee around 1854, Nat Love wrote one of the few surviving first-hand accounts by a black cowboy. Cowboy Daniel Webster “80 John” Wallace bought a ranch of about 1,200 acres and 600 cattle. Many born into slavery could find new freedom on the range and experienced less open discrimination.
Along with Americans and Europeans of Dutch, English, French, German, Scottish, and other backgrounds, the open range became a colorful landscape of people and cultures connected through cattle ranching.
IMAGE: Margaret Borland
A young white woman poses in this historic, black-and-white photo. Borland wears dark, shiny shoes; baggy pants; a baggy, fringed jacket cinched at the waist with a belt; a light-colored cravat; and a plaid shirt underneath. A darker-colored, cowboy-style hat with a narrow brim rests askew on her head. Her dark hair is pulled back, she is unsmiling, and under a furrowed brow her gaze aims at the camera. She stands against a dark, indistinct background. In her right hand she holds a dark rifle barrel; the rifle stands at rest beside her.
IMAGE: Nat Love
An African American man poses against an indistinct background in this historic, black-and-white photo. Love wears loose-fitting chaps with large, covered pockets at the hips. He stands with one leg straight and the other bent with its foot resting atop a horse saddle surrounded by a haphazard pile of reins, a lariat, and related gear. Off his hips hangs a belt of bullets, arranged vertically side-by-side, which he holds in the crook of his right hand. He wears a loose-fitting medium-colored top with sleeves rolled back to three-quarter length. A light-colored cravat is knotted loosely under his shirt collar. The broad brim of his large, white cowboy-style hat is angled straight up toward the sky. His long, dark hair with bangs curls outward, to as wide as his hat’s brim, and comes to just below his shoulders. He has a strong angled jaw and looks directly at the camera.
IMAGE: "80 John" Wallace
An elderly African American man poses for this historic, black-and-white portrait photo against an indistinct background. He wears a closed pinstripe suit jacket with a notched lapel; a light-colored, collared dress shirt; and a light-colored tie. Covering most of his bright, white hair is a wide-brimmed cowboy-style hat, tilted upward.
TEXT: The American Cowboy: Myth or Reality?
He was a young man, late teens or early twenties, with a great responsibility: driving his cattle across the Plains. Awake through lonesome, starry nights on the open range, he sang soothing melodies to calm his cattle. Fearless and strong, he swam with his herd across swollen rivers and stayed with them during dangerous stampedes. A lover, a fighter, a just man, he was an American cowboy. But were cowboys really like this?
Since the first trail drives, people were captivated by stories of the rugged men who herded half-wild longhorns across America’s prairies. Articles and dime novels treated readers to Wild West adventures. Handsome, honorable, and brave, cowboy heroes in these popular books and later movies rode proudly. They were tough and hardworking, independent and free.
Many stories exaggerated cowboy life. Clothes, for example, were worn for specific purposes. A wide-brim hat protected him from the sun, a bandana covered his face from dust the cattle kicked up, and high boots shielded him from needles and thorns. Yet these practical aspects of cowboy life became cultural symbols of the values cowboys portrayed. Part myth, part truth, the American cowboy lives on.
IMAGE: Bronc to Breakfast by Charles M. Russell
This is a colorful painting of a rust-colored horse with a white nose and feet arched up to buck off his rider, a dark-haired cowboy who is in the air, half out of the saddle. They flail in front of a wagon full of food, run by a man in a white apron. The horse has trampled the cowboys’ campfire, where pans of half-cooked food and pots of coffee are turned over to the surrounding dust. A cowboy sitting in the horse’s path has dropped his food plate and recoils, his hat flying off his head. A cowboy crouching behind him in a bright red cravat seems ready to spring out of the way. Behind them, cowboys and horses observe the scene with interest, while one man who has climbed onto the wagon wheel reaches out either to help the rider or catch his black hat as it flies through the air. The scene is a flat area that is part tall grass, part dry dirt. Behind them rises a purple and white mountain range tinged pink with sunlight.
TEXT: The Impact of an Era
The open-range cattle industry boomed for only a short 30 years. Railroads became more convenient, homesteaders fenced off land, and ranchers faced loss due to disease, theft, encroachment, overgrazing, and environmental challenges like the Hard Winter of 1886–87. The long trail drives of the Open Range Era were over.
This era of ranching helped shape America’s character, and its impact endures. With new technologies and techniques, ranching has brought new ways to raise and market cattle. Ranching continues to feed populations and provide economic opportunity for many.
Established in 1972, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is the only national park dedicated to this story. The park preserves buildings, furnishings and decor, operations, skills, and the many stories and ways of life connected to this era. Ranch records give an unbroken story of past operations.
Though this ranch was only a small portion of the huge cattle empires of the West, the site symbolizes ranching heritage and the evolution of the American West while inspiring future generations.
IMAGE: Open Range Era Today
Ranchers continue to drive cattle across the West and raise beef to feed America.
This modern, color photo shows four riders on horseback on a grassy, inclined trail. A white woman in a white ball cap and gray shirt leads the way down a mown, grassy path. Behind her, on the path and in some unmown areas of tall grass beside the path, are about twenty longhorns of a variety of colors and coat patterns, primarily rust-brown, white, dark brown, black, solid, and spotted. In the back, at the crest of the small incline in the landscape, are three riders wearing cowboy hats and shirts of green, blue, and red. All are headed toward the camera.
IMAGE: Draft horses graze on the ranch’s western side
This modern color landscape photo shows a winter scene of the ranch’s flatland in front of a dramatic mountainscape. A maze of snow-covered, wooden fence railings seem to be in good condition. A small, dark-red, barn-like building wears a couple inches of bright, white snow on its roof. Five horses graze—three brown, two black.
1804–06: Explorers Lewis and Clark pass close to Deer Lodge Valley. They take back descriptions of this fur trapper’s paradise.
1850s: Johnny Grant marries Quarra (Lemhi Shoshone). Her brother Chief Tendoy poses for a portrait.
1861–65: The Civil War depletes cattle supplies in the Mississippi Valley, creating shortages in eastern markets. The cattle industry responds.
1862–66: Johnny Grant builds the “first good house” in Deer Lodge valley. In 1866 Conrad Kohrs buys the house and ranch for $19,200.
1860–70s: Homesteaders want cheap, durable fencing. The first US patent for barbed wire is issued. Open-range grazing continues.
1886–87: During a hard winter some ranchers lose 95 percent of their herds. Kohrs loses 60 percent of his valley herd.
1880–1900: Barbed wire enclosing farms signals the end of the open range. Ranchers develop ways of producing and harvesting quality hay.
1940: Conrad Warren’s stock-raising operation is nationally acclaimed for its Hereford cattle and purebred Belgian horses. He buys the ranch.
1977: Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site opens to the public. Members of the Kohrs, Bielenberg, and Warren families attend festivities.
1993: Conrad Warren dies. A horse-drawn wagon carries his casket to Hillcrest Cemetery. This wagon is displayed at the park today.
Ongoing: The National Park Service, Deer Lodge community, and volunteers preserve the Grant-Kohrs Ranch for future generations.
End of list.
IMAGE: Chief Tendoy
In this black-and-white photo, Chief Tendoy poses for a portrait. His gaze looks directly at the camera, and he is unsmiling. He has high cheekbones, a prominent nose, deepening lines under his cheeks and around the corners of his mouth, and a strong, square jaw and chin. His long, straight, dark hair is turning a silvery color. It comes to a point in the middle of his forehead. Two braids come down along each side of his face to about the middle of his chest. Feathers splay upward out of his left braid. He is wearing a gray suit jacket with notched lapels; a white, collared dress shirt; and a medium-color tie.
TEXT: Families at Home on the RangeThis begins side two of the brochure.
TEXT: John "Johnny" Grant
John “Johnny” Grant was born in 1831 to a Canadian fur trader employed by Hudson’s Bay Company. His Métis mother died, and his grandparents raised him. At 17 he joined his father at Fort Hall, a fortified trading post in today's Idaho, and worked as a fur trader.
Recognizing cattle and horses could graze all winter in “this luxuriant grassy valley,” Grant settled in Deer Lodge valley, established his ranch, and built a permanent home. Others—mostly traders—joined him, and together they founded the town now known as Deer Lodge.
Grant prospered in Deer Lodge's community of Mexican, French-Canadian, and Métis families. He ran many businesses and traded with American Indians and many immigrants traveling west to Oregon and California. When gold strikes in places like Bannack and Last Chance Gulch changed Montana's population, he sold his ranch and cattle to German immigrant Conrad Kohrs and returned to Canada, as did most of the French Canadians and some of the Mexican families of Deer Lodge valley.
Throughout his ventures in Canada, Montana, Idaho, and Oregon, he was a caring father to over thirty children, biological and adopted.
IMAGE: John "Johnny" Grant
This is a grainy, black-and-white historic photo. Grant is standing. His right hand holds a hat, which hangs down in front of his knee. His left hand rests at his hip, as if his thumb were hooked inside his pants’ pocket. He wears dark pants and a cravat. His dark, long-sleeved shirt with tightly buttoned cuffs has a widely spread collar, buttons down the front, and a light-colored edging around his collar and in two straight lines beside the buttonholes. He has a dark, trimmed goatee. His dark hair is swept to the left and curls outward a couple inches below his ears.
TEXT: Conrad Kohrs
Conrad Kohrs came to Montana with little more than the clothes on his back and a bedroll slung over his shoulder. He primarily made money from cattle ranching and selling water rights to mining camps and a nearby gold mine. He faced many challenges—transporting his cattle to market, major losses during the Hard Winter of 1886–87, and livestock rustling. But his perseverance, keen business sense, and hard work contributed to his success.
IMAGE: Conrad Warren and Conrad Kohrs
Conrad Warren, age 6, and Conrad Kohrs, age 79
This historic, black-and-white portrait photo shows an elderly white man with a young white boy behind him. Both gaze off to the right. The elder Kohrs is dressed formally in a medium-colored suit, dress shirt with a starched white collar, and a cravat. He has smooth white hair, combed over to the left and cut short, and a fluffy, white goatee with no moustache. Behind him, positioned a head higher than Kohrs, is young Conrad Kohrs Warren. He has short, medium-colored hair, parted far to the right with a gentle wave in the middle. He wears an all-white outfit with an undershirt and long-sleeved jacket with lapels so wide they drape over his shoulders. The boy’s left hand rests lightly over his grandfather’s left shoulder.
TEXT: John "Johney" Bielenberg
John “Johney” Bielenberg was Kohrs’ younger brother and an expert cattleman. At 18 he arrived in Montana to help with Kohrs' gold camp butcher shops. Their family partnership lasted over 50 years. His passion for breeding horses grew with the need for superior saddle horses on the range. As early as 1873, he was breeding Thoroughbred stallions to native mares, producing some of the best horses for working cattle in the state.
IMAGE: Horses Graze
This is a modern color photo of two brown horses stretching their necks down to graze in a grass field. The short grass under their hooves is yellowish tan in most areas mixed with a few green areas. There may be a light glaze of frost or snow cover on the ground. The horse in the foreground is a medium-brown color with white spots high on its rear thigh. Its two front forelegs are white up to the knees. A long, white diamond runs from its forehead to its muzzle. It has a long blonde tail and short-cropped, blonde crest (mane). Its ears are perked up, and its legs look like they are in motion toward the grazing spot. The horse in the background is a rust-brown color throughout, except for a tiny white diamond on its forehead. Its crest and tail are black. Its front legs are split like a V-shape to support it while it grazes while its hind legs are blocked from view by the rear of the front horse.
TEXT: Conrad Warren
Conrad Kohrs Warren spent many summers here with his grandparents and his Uncle Johney. He developed a love of animals and the family ranch. At 25 he became the ranch manager. He experimented with artificial insemination, a breeding program for draft horses and cattle, and veterinary skills. In 1940 he bought the ranch. His and his wife Nell's foresight and determination helped preserve the buildings, artifacts, records, and lore of his family that are today part of the park.
IMAGE: Mount Powell Rises Above the Ranch
This is a modern color landscape photo of part of the ranch. The foreground features wooden fencing, flat grassy areas with a lush green color, several red or white buildings with gray roofs, and a few other indistinct human-made structures. Behind these are a dark green treeline and rolling, green hills, lit up in some places by sunshine peeking through the overcast sky, that crawl up the mountains beyond. The dramatic backdrop is Mount Powell, which is centered in the photo. A tall, snow-capped mountain range in the distance.
TEXT: Pioneer Woman
When newlywed Augusta Kohrs arrived at the ranch, she found a rough, pine-floor house—an informal home for her husband Conrad, and his ten hired men. Her first mattress was a homemade, straw-filled sack infested with bedbugs. She waged a “war of extermination” until no bug could be found. Pregnant with their first child, she kept floors “spotlessly white by scrubbing,” made soap and candles, cooked, roasted coffee, tended chickens, and milked cows. Her hard work over the next 20 years created the luxurious Victorian home her family enjoyed.
IMAGE: Augusta Kohrs, 1849-1945
Proud, tall, beautiful, Augusta (age 33 in this portrait) met Conrad Kohrs when children in Germany. They married in Iowa February 23, 1868, after dating for about three weeks.
This is a historic, black-and-white portrait photo of a white woman gazing to the right. Kohrs’ has high cheekbones; dark, arched eyebrows; and soft features. Her coiffed hair is parted deeply in the middle and pulled back. Her clothing is dark with a small, dark pattern, buttons at the neck, and a white ruffle showing above the collar. A dark fabric covers both shoulders. An earring is visible hanging from her earlobe to her jawline. A choker with a chain made of large links has a large, diamond-shaped pendant that rests just below her neck.
IMAGE: The Kohrs' Monarch Stove
This is a modern color image of an exhibit display with the historic stove and period-specific kitchen items. The Kohrs’ Monarch stove stands against a wall with wood paneling stained red about halfway up and a light green paint the rest of the way up. The stove is black with silver-colored details: the edges around its drawers, oven, a pull-out countertop on the right side, and other features. A vertical pipe vents the oven. The six-burner top displays silver-colored kettles, a clothing iron, and a frying pan. Above the burners is an attached hutch with two cabinets; the right one is closed. Displayed in the open cabinet are a loaf of bread and a pie in a pan. Placed on top of the hutch is a row of several historic kitchen items that fade out of the photo. Beside the stove are a pair of mustard-yellow cans, a couple wooden chairs (one with a white apron draped on the back of it), and a large wooden storage bin showing some wear.
TEXT: The Frontier Family
In public Conrad and Augusta Kohrs appeared stoic, reserved, and formal; at home the close-knit couple was loving and attentive to their children and extended family. In 1880 the family went to Germany, where the children attended school and “kept up their English and music with their governess.” They stayed through the winter while Conrad returned home, writing them affectionate letters, like “our old ranch don’t look like home without you all. . . . it makes me feel bad to stay here.”
IMAGE: Augusta and Conrad Kohrs' Children
Augusta and Conrad Kohrs’ children Willie, Anna, and Katherine, 1886
This is a historic, black-and-white formal portrait photo with three children in a row with medium colored hair, all gazing at the camera. Willie is the young boy on the left with short hair, parted far to the right. He wears a white collared shirt under a buttoned suit jacket with a notched lapel. His upper lip sticks out over his lower lip. Two older children—Anna in the middle and Katherine on the right—have tightly curled hair pulled back, earrings, and dark, high-collared dresses with different patterns going down the front. The girls lean their heads against each other. Katherine’s right shoulder is positioned in front of Anna; Anna’s right shoulder is positioned in front of Willie. Katherine wears glasses with small oval frames.
MAP: Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
This map shows the ranch's main buildings (described below).
Some map features are indicated by numbers that correspond with descriptions listed after the map description.
Please start at the visitor center to get information and to sign up for a guided tour of the ranch house.
Please note firearms are prohibited in the visitor center and buildings 1, 4, 10, 11, 15, and 16.
TEXT: Full List of Map Features
List of numbered buildings on the map follows:
1. Ranch House
2. Bunkhouse Row
3. Ice House/Tack Room
4. Garage/Blacksmith Shop
5. Thoroughbred Barn
6. Leeds Lion Barn
7. Feed lot and Sheds
8. Chicken Coop
9. Buggy Shed
11. Draft Horse Bran
13. Oxen Barn
14. Bielenberg Barn
15. Warren House
16. Warren Barn
End of numbered list.
List of unnumbered buildings on the map follows:
Beaver Slide Hay Stacker
End of unnumbered list.
TEXT: Overview—Descriptions of Map Features
The park map shows the ranch's main buildings. Some map buildings and features are indicated by numbers that correspond with descriptions. Others are not numbered but are described on the brochure.
TEXT: Building 1, Ranch House, 1862–90
Grant built the white portion of the house in 1862. It had a trading post downstairs and a residence upstairs. In 1890 Kohrs built the brick wing with a formal dining room, large kitchen, a second bathroom, and bedrooms. Augusta Kohrs acquired elegant furnishings over several decades. Coal to heat the house was stored in the shed behind the back door of the brick addition.
TEXT: Building 2, Bunkhouse Row, 1907-30s
Cowboys and ranch hands ate and slept here. In the evenings they swapped stories, mended gear, and played cards.
TEXT: Building 3, Ice House/Tack Room, 1880s–1930s
Ice cut from ponds in winter was stored here for summer use. With refrigeration in 1935, the ice house became a tack room. The added room was the summer home of Ham Sam, a Chinese cook.
TEXT: Building 4, Garage/Blacksmith Shop, 1935
Conrad Warren stored gas powered vehicles here. It also served as a repair shop and a place to shoe horses.
TEXT: Building 5, Thoroughbred Barn, 1883
Kohrs built this stable for Thoroughbreds; Warren used it for show cattle. Today, it houses horse-drawn vehicles and equipment original to the ranch.
TEXT: Building 6, Leeds Lion Barn, 1885
Each of the ranch's stallion barns has its own hay loft and corral. To prevent fighting, each barn stabled only one stallion. This barn was named for a famous English Shire draft horse stallion Kohrs owned.
TEXT: Building 7, Feed Lot and Sheds, 1930s
Warren added this part of the ranch when he began raising Herefords
TEXT: Building 9, Buggy Shed, 1883
This shed once adjoined the east end of Bunkhouse Row. In 1907 it was moved to make way for railroad tracks.
TEXT: Building 10, Granary, 1935
Grains (oats and corn) were ground and mixed for cattle feed then stored here.
TEXT: Building 11, Draft Horse Barn, 1870
Kohrs and Bielenberg raised several breeds of draft horses—Shires, Percheron-Normans, and Clydesdales—to do heavy chores.
TEXT: Building 12, Dairy, 1932
Dairy cows were milked here. In the 1930s Warren sold the milk to Deer Lodge Creamery.
TEXT: Building 13, Oxen Barn, 1870
As draft horses replaced oxen, this barn housed other livestock but kept its name.
TEXT: Building 15, Warren House, 1934
The Warrens' home was a wedding gift from Augusta Kohrs.
TEXT: Building 16, Warren Barn, 1950s
The barn stored hay, grain, and Warren’s prize Herefords.
TEXT: Beaver Slide Hay Stacker
In August this horse-run stacker piles hay into 50-ton stacks.
TEXT: Railroad Tracks
Utah Northern Railroad arrived in 1879; Milwaukee Railroad in 1907.
Look for three styles of fences: pickets enclose the ranch house, boards and barbed wire mark pastures, and jacklegs (rails on crossed posts) represent the main fence style on early Montana ranches.
TEXT: Irrigation Ditches
The Kohrs-Manning Irrigation Ditch dates back to the 1870s.
Hike about 10 miles of roads and trails throughout the park. Ask at the visitor center for a map of park trails.
TEXT: Building 8, Chicken Coop, 1930s
Chickens provided meat and eggs. Hens laid eggs in nesting boxes, pecked for food in the yard, and perched on roosting bars at night.
TEXT: Building 14, Bielenberg Barn, 1880
Young cows having their first calves were often kept here so ranch hands could make sure the calving (birthing) went well.
MAP: Overview—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
The illustrated map gives a “north-is-up” overhead view of the park. Amid the faded brown and green groundscape are pockets of tree areas in a darker, faded green. Park buildings are in a medium brown. Other buildings are in faded light gray. The map uses several other color cues: a bright white paved trail, thin white fence lines, pale yellow walkways, tan dirt roads, gray railroad tracks, black bridges, and a blue waterway. All buildings and features described, except the railroad tracks, are park properties.
MAP: Anchor Sites and General Orientation—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
The Ranch House is in the center of the map.
North of the Ranch House, moving west to east and south to north, are the Ice House/Tack Room, Bunkhouse Row, Granary, Dairy, Draft Horse Barn, Oxen Barn, and Bielenberg Barn. To the east of the Dairy is accessible parking.
East of the Ranch House, in order, are the northern halves of two railroad tracks, Cattle Drive, Warren Lane, Warren House, and Warren Barn.
Southeast of the Ranch House, in order, are the southern halves of the two railroad tracks, two railroad bridges which the paved trail goes under, the paved trail to the park visitor center, the visitor center, restrooms, and parking. The paved trail and parking area fade off the map in the southeast corner.
South of the Ranch House is a Nature Trail that heads south off the map and open land.
Southwest of the Ranch House, going east to west and north to south, are restrooms, the Garage/Blacksmith Shop, Thoroughbred Barn, Leeds Lion Barn, Beaver Slide Hay Stacker, the trailhead for the loop trail back to the Ranch House that fades off the map, the trail to the Clark Fork River which fades off the map, and the Kohrs-Manning Irrigation Ditch.
West of the Ranch House, from east to west, are the Buggy Shed, Chuck Wagon, Stallion Barn, Chicken Coop, Feed lot and Sheds, and five unnamed brown-colored buildings.
MAP: Visitor Center Area—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Starting at “5 o’clock” in the lower right quadrant of the map is the visitor center building with a restroom building and parking area, all connected with paved roads.
Leaving the park from here to the southeast leads to Main Street and Deer Lodge.
Heading northwest on the paved trail leads to the Ranch House.
MAP: The Paved Trail—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
From the visitor center, a paved trail is 0.25 miles (0.40 kilometers) to the Ranch House (marked on the map as building number 1).
The paved trail heads north then bends to the west, heading over two north-south railroad tracks that run through the park.
Past the second railroad track is a nature trail that heads south then fades off the map.
The paved road then heads north again to the yellow walkways of the main ranch area and beyond.
All paths mentioned in the map description from this point on are yellow on the map.
MAP: The Ranch House and Bunkhouse Row—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
The first building from the visitor center is the fenced-in Ranch House (building number 1).
Heading northwest from the visitor center, a walkway leads to the Ranch House and Bunkhouse Row (building number 2).
MAP: Cattle Drive—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Near the accessible parking area, Cattle Drive runs east from the Ranch House area, over the two railroad tracks, and past the Warren Barn (building number 16), then off the map. In two places, Cattle Drive connects to the south with Warren Lane.
MAP: Warren Barn—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Used as a park maintenance building, Warren Barn is north of Cattle Drive.
MAP: Warren Lane and Warren House—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Warren Lane connects to Cattle Drive to the north in two places. Warren Lane runs east off the map. In the middle of Warren Lane is the Warren House (building number 15), which has park administrative offices.
MAP: The Intersection By the Dairy—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
From the hub heading west past the Dairy is an intersection.
North of this intersection, all on the east side of the walkway, are the Dairy, a path southeast to the hub, then the Bielenberg Barn.
Northwest of this intersection, across from the Dairy, is the Draft Horse Barn (building number 11). Just north of the Draft Horse Barn, before you get to Bielenberg Barn, is the Oxen Barn (building number 13). The walkway does not continue northwest past the Draft Horse Barn.
Southwest of this intersection is the Granary (building number 10).
South of this intersection is Bunkhouse Row. The walkway continues south here, curving west between the Granary, to the north, and Bunkhouse Row, to the south.
MAP: South From the Dairy Area Intersection—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Heading south from the Dairy at the intersection, the walkway curves west past the Granary and around Bunkhouse Row.
It continues south past the Ice House/Tack Room (building number 3) until it becomes a walkway hub immediately southwest of the Ranch House.
MAP: West of the Ranch House From the Southwestern Walkway Hub—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Southwest of the Ranch House, the walkway becomes a hub.
North of this hub is the Ice House/Tack Room.
Northeast of this hub is a path to Bunkhouse Row and areas beyond.
East of this hub is the Ranch House.
South of this hub are the Garage/Blacksmith Shop (building number 4) with restrooms, a continuing branch of the walkway to western areas of the park, the Thoroughbred Barn (building number 5), and the Leeds Lion Barn (building number 6).
West of this hub is a walkway leading to the Buggy Shed (building number 9) and other park buildings and features.
MAP: West of the Buggy Shed—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
From the Buggy Shed, continue west along the walkway, past the Chuck Wagon to the south and the Stallion Barn to the north. The walkway fades at the Stallion Barn.
West of the Stallion Barn are an unnamed building, the Chicken Coop (building number 8), another unnamed building, the Feed lot and Sheds (building number 7), and three other unnamed buildings.
MAP: Beyond the Thoroughbred Barn—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
South of the Thoroughbred Barn, the walkway bends west past the Beaver Slide Hay Stacker.
The walkway continues west, where it meets the head of the park loop trail then passes over the Kohrs-Manning Irrigation Ditch and continues west off the map as the trail to Clark Fork.
MAP: How To Reach the Ranch's Accessible Parking Area—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Continue north past the Ranch House and Bunkhouse Row to reach an accessible parking area with a map note added to “Enter park on Cattle Drive.”
From the accessible parking area, the walkway heads north past the Bielenberg Barn (building number 14) then off the map.
MAP: The Northeastern Walkway Hub—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
Northeast of the Ranch House is a hub in the walkway.
Continuing north past Bunkhouse Row, the walkway becomes a hub that leads east as Cattle Drive, north past accessible parking, and farther north where it fades beyond the map. The walkway continues from the hub, west to the Dairy (building number 12), and northwest to the Dairy and Bielenberg Barn .
MAP: The Loop Trail and Irrigation Ditch—Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
A loop trail leads from the southwestern area of the park to the Ranch House. The total distance is 0.75 miles (1.2 kilometers).
Before reaching the Clark Fork trail, the loop trail heads north. Along the western side of the loop trail runs the Kohrs-Manning Irrigation Ditch.
Continuing north on the loop trail, the Feed lots and Sheds area is east of the trail before the trail fades off the map.
TEXT: Explore the Ranch
You are invited to tour the ranch on your own. While here, take time to notice little things—feel the fresh air on your face, listen for birds, count colors in the sky and fields, observe textures of wood and leather, or smell the aroma of horses and hay.
TEXT: Plan Your Visit
The following information can help you plan your visit to Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.
The visitor center and ranch are open daily except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1.
TEXT: Ranch House Tours
A guided tour is the only way to visit the inside of the ranch house. Tour size is limited. You may have to wait. You may visit the grounds until your tour begins.
This is an operating cattle ranch with year-round chores directed by the seasons. The ranch can bustle with activities like branding, haying, and more or seem quiet. Programs and ranger-led activities are offered seasonally. Please visit the park website to learn more about special events.
TEXT: Safety and Regulations
• Please help preserve the park.
• Smoking and pets are allowed only in the parking lot.
• Stay in designated areas; watch where you walk.
• Close gates behind you.
• Do not climb fences or enter corrals or pastures.
• Be careful on railroad tracks; the east track is active.
• Livestock can be unpredictable; do not approach.
• Do not touch historic objects. Federal law protects all historic and natural features.
• For general firearms regulations check the park website; for specifics check the map.
• Emergencies call 911
TEXT: Venture Beyond the Ranch
During the early years of the Montana Stockgrowers’ Association, Kohrs befriended another cattle rancher—Theodore Roosevelt. Roosevelt’s Chimney Butte Ranch is now part of Theodore Roosevelt National Park.
When Kohrs heard of the military attack on the Nez Perce camp in the Big Hole, he sent an ambulance to transport the wounded. Big Hole National Battlefield honors all involved in the conflict.
In 1883 Kohrs and Bielenberg trusted George Lane to trail 1,800 cattle from Sun River to the Belly River area in Alberta, Canada. Lane met Fred Stimson and accepted his offer to be the Bar U Ranch foreman, now a unit of Parks Canada. Lane became very successful, bought the Bar U Ranch, and helped found the Calgary Stampede.
IMAGE: The Kohrs' Dougherty Wagon
During the battle at Big Hole, the Kohrs’ Dougherty Wagon transported the wounded to the nearest hospital in Deer Lodge.
This is a modern color photograph of a black-painted, wheeled, and covered wooden wagon. Exterior paint has worn off here and there and reveals brown wood underneath. Inside the covered wagon is a front bench painted black with a high back. Black fabric covers a lumpy bench cushion and hangs over the top of the bench’s back. The outside of the wagon’s cover is a shiny, wrinkly black material with large flaps closed securely on all sides but the front opening. The inside of the wagon cover is a faded, decorative print with fringed valances to match. A pink pattern on a cream background is on the sides of the cover. A more decorative image is on the back of the cover.
MAP: Regional National Park Service Sites
This north-oriented map shows the area of Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. It shows regional states, towns, interstates, highways, and national parks in the area. The park is in western Montana between the towns of Missoula and Bozeman. The map has a scale of 1 inch to 50 miles.
State borders are white. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming are tan. Cities are indicated by white dots with black borders. National park sites are either shown as green dots or as green land areas with green labels. Grant-Kohrs National Historic Site is labeled with white text on a green callout box. The callout box points to the park location, which is just north of the town of Deer Lodge, Montana.
Interstates 90 and 15 are shown as red with a black border. State highways 2, 93, 43, 287, 191, and 89 in Montana and 20 in Idaho are dark gray. Driving routes are outlined in bright yellow. These routes show the main roads to take between Glacier National Park in Montana and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in Wyoming.
Many towns and national parks are labeled on the map. From east to west/north to south, the following sites are labeled: Kalispell, Montana; Missoula, Montana; Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho; Big Hole National Battlefield and Glacier National Park in Montana; Deer Lodge and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site in Montana; Butte, Montana; Idaho Falls, Idaho; Helena, Montana; Great Falls, West Yellowstone, and Bozeman, Montana; and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in Wyoming.
Interstate 90 runs west from Idaho through Montana. From the Idaho-Montana border, I-90 crosses Montana 93, then runs through Missoula, and then past the park and Deer Lodge. I-90 then crosses Interstate 15, through Butte, then crosses Montana-287 and Montana-191. I-90 then continues through Bozeman, and then crosses Montana-89.
Interstate 15 runs north and south through Montana into Idaho. Heading south, I-15 passes Montana-2; the cities of Great Falls, Helena, and Butte, and then crosses Interstate-90. I-15 next passes Montana-43, and then the Montana-Idaho border. I-15 then passes through Idaho Falls, where it meets Idaho-20.
I-15 leads to many sites on the map. In Idaho, take I-15 north then Idaho-20 east to reach Craters of the Moon National Monument. Heading north out of Idaho and into Montana, take I-15 then Montana-43 to reach Big Hole National Battlefield in Montana and the southern end of Montana-93. Take I-15 then I-90 west to Deer Lodge, Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site, Missoula, Montana 93, and the Montana-Idaho border. Take I-15 north past I-90 to reach Butte, Helena, Great Falls, Montana-2, and northern Montana.
I-90 also leads to many sites on the map. From Idaho into western Montana, take I-90 east to Montana-93, then head south to reach Big Hole National Battlefield or north to reach Glacier National Park. Take I-90 east past Montana-93 and Missoula to reach Deer Lodge and Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. Past I-15 and Butte, continue east on I-90 to Montana-287 and Montana-191, then further east past Bozeman to Montana 89. All three state routes head south to Wyoming, West Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, and Grand Teton National Park. I-90 then continues eastward through Montana.
Montana 2 leads west to Glacier National Park, Kalispell, Montana-93, and I-90.
Montana 93 south leads to Big Hole National Battlefield, Montana-43, and I-15.
Montana 93 north leads to Kalispell, Montana-2, Glacier National Park, and I-15 north of Great Falls.
The yellow routes lead southeast from Glacier National Park along Montana-2 to I-90 then Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site. The yellow routes also lead northwest from Yellowstone National Park along Montana-89, Montana-191, or Montana-287 to I-90 west toward Grant Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site.