The Keller Homestead

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by Jeanine Beuttner, with photos from Pat Jaquith,

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.

My great grandfather Charles Keller was born in Miltonburg,  Ohio on July 13, 1868,  My great grandmother Rosalia Keller was born in Stutten, Germany, October 10, 1869.  They were married in 1892 in Nebraska, where they lived until the late 1800’s when they settled on a homestead at Lothair, Montana. In order to prove up on the property Rosalie stayed on this place and Charles came to Kalispell and homesteaded 160 acres on West Spring Creek Road in 1900.  They also homesteaded 80 acres on what is now known as the Grosswiller dairy on West Valley Drive,  80 acres on Browns Road where they wintered the horses, and also a wood lot up Rhodes Draw. They farmed all of these pieces of property.                                                                                                                                                       

Charles and Rosalia were parents to 10 children,  6 sons and 4 daughters,  my grandfather Herman being the third son.  In later years the boys split up and lived on all the homesteads. The Lothair property is still in the family.

Original house and garage on Spring Creek Road.

In this picture the garage closest to the house had a front door and a back door.  Charles eventually got a car but could not back it up so the need of a  front and back door. My dad used to tell the story of a large hole being next to the house.  They would dump carbide powder into it with water and mix it with long polls.  This then became the gas that powdered their gas lighting in the house.

House and buggy.

The pump house next to the house had a large tank in the ceiling.  It was filled with water and it gravity fed the house and for all the livestock in the corrals down below. (The tank was still in the pump house when they tore it down). Charles and Rosalia eventually moved to Kalispell and took their milk cow with them.  You still see some of the older homes in Kalispell with a barn in the back.  Room for the milk cow.

Charles passed away in 1953 and Rosalia in 1957. The house was burned down by an arsonist in 2012.

Charles and Rosalia Keller wedding anniversary.
Barn, corral and outbuildings.
Pump house and original house.

The following photos are from Pat Jaquith.

Pump house before final demolition.
Some hardware in the pump house wall.
A lead slug embedded in the wall.
Crew carefully reclaiming the pump house lumber.
Nesting material in the old pump house, probably from a raven or an eagle.
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Pat Jaquith
Pat Jaquith
3 years ago

What a wonderful story! What could have been a story of demolition is beautifully resurrected!

Dianne Klinski
Dianne Klinski
3 years ago
Reply to  Pat Jaquith

Jeanine, this is wonderful!!! There’s a picture there that I don’t have, so thank you for that as well!
Now that we’re back home again, it’ll be easier to get with you to watch your presentation. Hopefully soon, you let us know. I’m going to forward this to the cousins
Thanks so much!!!!!

Jeanine Buettner
Jeanine Buettner
3 years ago

One thing I forgot to mention was the house is a Sears & Robuck house. Sears sold home kits that included everything you needed to build a modern home and that also included something very new and that was sheet rock. No more horse hair and plaster. The kit was delivered by way of box car. My great aunt told me this house was built in 1904 but Sears did not start selling kits until 1908. That summer 3 Sears homes were built in our area. One of those being the home I grew up in on McMannamy. And remember no power tools were used. Electricity did not hit McMannamy Draw until 1949. The same crew built all 3 homes. Sears sold 447 different styles of homes. They sold kits from 1908 to 1940 at the price of $452.00 to $1,096.00.

Kathryn Reynolds
Kathryn Reynolds
3 years ago

This is a wonderful article. We are neighbors to this “homestead” and my husband is a great, great grandson to Charles and Rosalia. Thank you for sharing our history with us Jeanine!

Dianne Klinski
Dianne Klinski
2 years ago

I just happened to find this article again and you mentioned that there were 3 Sears houses built. I believe that the house that my Gramma and Grampa VanBemmel was the same model Sears house as the one built by my Great Gramma and Grampa Keller and Uncle Mike.