Experience history up close! Stay overnight in a BN caboose, a 1930s oil worker’s house, or a 1917 reproduction homestead.
Your adventure begins with a site orientation by staff, dinner (optional), a one-on-one experience with a historian about your building and its role in history (1 to 1 ½ hours), an overnight, and a full breakfast the next morning.
Caboose: What was the role of the caboose on the railroad? Who worked in them? What are lantern signals? Why are there no cabooses anymore? Spend the night shift on BN caboose 12424 and learn the answers to these questions and more. After your visit with the historian, enjoy an evening in the caboose, built in 1981 by the International Car Company of Kenton, Ohio, and in service from 1981 into the 1990s. Railroading comes alive at night with the caboose’s lights, especially the red marker light. Relax in the reversible chairs up in the cupula and watch the sun set. Outdoor chairs on a platform deck are there for your relaxation and enjoyment. The caboose is also equipped with a lunch table and two chairs, an office desk and chair at each end of the car and two single cots. A hospitality closet offers area railroad and history books, playing cards, cribbage, and a variety of snacks.
Oil Worker’s House: Come explore what life was like in 1935 in Santa Rita, an oil camp just 5 miles north of Cut Bank. Spend the night in an authentic oil worker’s house, one of the few preserved in Montana. The house is furnished as when the Hegg family lived here. Only 12 feet wide, the home has a living room, kitchen, and bedroom as well as a shed addition with a front entry and the rear entry doubling as a laundry room. A historian will meet guests at the house for a discussion of life in the oil camp of Santa Rita from the perspective of the Hegg family. Learn the difference between an oil house and an oil shack. What did families eat, do for entertainment, and wear? How was laundry done? This chat will be around the dining room table set up for entertaining in 1930s style with a plate of treats and water heated on the gas stove for tea and coffee. After the historian’s visit, continue to enjoy music from the 1930s, read a periodical from the period, play cards, or cribbage, or other popular 1930s games, or listen to an episode of the radio show Fibber McGee & Molly. Amenities: gas heating stove, electricity and double bed.
Homestead: Beginning in 1909, hundreds came to Montana with high hopes of transforming the barren prairie into a prosperous farm with horse-drawn equipment. The government offered up to 320 acres of free land. At the Lois Maltby homestead, learn her story and about her family. Her homestead is tiny-house living at its best, consisting of a small house measuring 8 feet by 20 feet, a privy (non-functioning), a chicken coop with feathered residents, a vegetable garden, and farm equipment. Inside the house is a bed, stove, dry sink, table and chairs.
A historian in period attire will meet guests at the homestead for a discussion bringing you into the world of a homesteader. How did a homesteader get free land? What did a typical homesteader raise for crops? Learn about washing clothes using a stone boat, copper boiler, rapid washer and washtub—and the 5-mile quest for water. Your guide will show you the operation of the woodstove. You may use the woodstove for heating if necessary or to make coffee or tea. Try your hand grinding coffee beans in the grinder. Refreshments will be available.
After the historian’s visits, enjoy the evening inside or out. Oil lamps and lanterns provide light at night. Reading about area homesteading is available. Play cribbage or traditional card games. Amenities: wood heating stove, oil lamps/lanterns and double bed.
Historically accurate. Real. History is waiting for you.
Hours + Season of Operation
Season: April 1 - October 15
Hours: Monday - Saturday
Full Breakfast Included
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