There’s an old abandoned house falling apart deep inside the Bear Paw Mountains. I have driven past it occasionally when exploring the nearby mountains for photo opportunities. I do enjoy photographing old abandoned buildings on Montana’s plains…and Montana has no shortage of them. Seldom was the light dramatic enough, I felt, for me to photograph that old house, which is is slowly falling apart after having been long since abandoned. That is, until a few Sundays ago soon after the rain stopped. The plush, green hills surrounding the Felton House popped and framed the old homestead nicely, so I took this picture. The scene reminded me of rural Ireland.
The old house is called the Felton House. I know this because along the road near it is a faded old sign commemorating the site. The sign is attached to a leaning post and some of the words on the sign are missing because someone chose to use it for target practice years ago. With some effort I jotted down the message on the sign and reassembled the words as best I could. The old sign reads:
The Felton House — Built in 1897 by Robert Payne Felton. As an attorney in North Carolina he was forced to flee for his life when he successfully defended a black man. This brought him to the Bear Paws in 1890. With his wife Emmaline and their family of Prudent, Bob, Bill, Tom, Carrie (West), and Bessie (Allen), they lived here until late 1909. Carrie was married here in 1906 and Bessie in 1909.
This place was sold to Charles and Bessie Allen in 1909. Rittenhouse Stringfellow, a Havre merchant, purchased the property in 1913 and used it as a summer home. In 1917 Winfield S. Young, Bill Young’s grandfather, obtained the property. The last family to live here was Gordon and Ruth Young with their family of Billy and Dorothy (Perry) from 1919 to 1921.
Here’s to hoping the Felton House lasts another 100 years (or more).
UPDATE (7/14/2015): I drove by this location a couple of weeks ago and noticed that the bullet riddled historical marker had been replaced with a shiny new one.