West Valley Pioneer: Edmond Levi Kelley

by Jeanine Buettner
nammy@montanasky.com

Edmond Kelley was born in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, on April 18, 1860 and was educated and lived in Pennsylvania until coming to Montana in 1885, first locating in Butte and then moving to the Flathead Valley in 1887. He spent his first night in Somers. He was told that the valley farther up had some value as a range for cattle but of no value for farming. The next day he walked to the site that would later become Demersville.

Continue Reading →

West Valley Pioneers: Frank and Ida Stiles

by Jeanine Buettner
nammy@montanasky.com

My great grandparents Frank and Ida Stiles moved to Kalispell in 1901, from Corona, South Dakota where Frank was a farmer, school teacher and a member of the House of Representatives. They packed everything they owned including farm machinery into a boxcar and made their way to the Flathead Valley, bringing with them their four children, my grandfather T. Milton being the youngest.  

Frank and Ida Stiles
Continue Reading →

West Valley Pioneer: Walter Jaquette

by Jeanine Buettner
nammy@montanasky.com

Walter Parke Jaquette was one of the Flathead’s early pioneers. He was born October 16, 1863 in Oxford, Pennsylvania to Peter and Eleanor Jaquette.

Walter was from a very prominent Pennsylvania family. His great great grandfather Maj. Peter Jaquette served under Washington during the Revolutionary war. His great grandfather Capt. Peter Jaquette organized and furnished a great extent of company horses for the military. His father Peter L. Jaquette was a veteran of the Civil War and was at the White House when President Lincoln was assassinated.

Continue Reading →

Late Summer and Early Fall at Ray Kuhn’s WMA

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Late August, 2021 Wheat ripening under smoky skies

The historic Ray Kuhn’s homestead off Farm-to-Market Road between Kalispell and Whitefish is under MFWP management as the Kuhn’s WMA (wildlife management area). 100 acres of the 1556.5A parcel are leased for farming to improve the soil, control noxious weeds, and provide food and cover to benefit deer and upland game birds. In this article, you can read more about this public resource in our community.

Continue Reading →

State Symbols in West Valley

by Pat Jaquith
pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Over the years, the State has adopted plants, animals, stones, songs, and other artifacts as symbolic of Montana. Here are several that I have collected just because I found them interesting, beautiful, awesome, and wonderful. Only recently have I discovered that these have gained such stature. Scroll down to see if the images inspire a reaction in you!

Continue Reading →

Barns are Noble

By Skip Via
skip@westvalleynaturalists.org

If you came here looking for the latest Harry Potter book, you probably should go to Barnes & Noble.

But if you came here because you, like me, can’t pass a barn without thinking about the stories behind it and the practical structural aesthetics of the building, then welcome. I have a thing for barns—old, new, and falling down.

This is just an uncommented photo essay—some images taken around the valley (and slightly beyond, in a couple of cases)—and not a history. But I hope that any readers that know anything about any of these barns will leave a comment and tell us a story.

This is part one of a photo essay series of West Valley barns. You may view the other parts here:
Barns, Part Two
Barns, Part Three
Barns, Part Four
Barns, Part Five

Continue Reading →

The Keller Homestead

by Jeanine Beuttner, with photos from Pat Jaquith
nammy@montanasky.com, pat@westvalleynaturalists.org

Editor’s note: Pat Jaquith came across a barn wood reclamation team dismantling an old pump house on Spring Creek Road. Pat contacted Jeanine Beuttner for more information and learned that this property was established by Jeanine’s great grandparents, Charles and Rosalia Keller. Jeanine graciously offered us this fascinating historical vignette.
Continue Reading →