John McCafferty Ranch

Recognition Award

Location: Montana
Year of Award: 2008
Original Use: Horses
Current Use: Cattle

John McCafferty Ranch-Belt, MT after rehabilitation.

The sprawling John McCafferty Ranch covers 7,900 acres in northwest Montana.  Among the rolling hills and grazing cattle are several old homesteads, including a farm that was originally settled by Henry and Sara Johnson in 1895. The property changed owners several times until 1947 when John Robert McCafferty Sr. became the first McCafferty to own the property. Since then, the land, and the barn, have been used by three generations of McCaffertys. The 36' x 40' barn, with a hip roof, was built by a previous owner in 1916 and now houses cattle from the McCafferty's ranch.

In the 1950s, not long after the McCaffertys acquired the property, ten feet was removed from the height of the barn because the barn was starting to lean. Along with routine repairs to the barn every following generation of McCaffertys applied a fresh coat of red paint to the barn. And, this did not change with the most recent generation of McCaffertys to take over the ranch. A total of $2,300 was spent on painting the red walls, white trim, and the white stenciling.

When faced with the decision to rehab the old barn, the decision was easy. "The barn is not only an important feature on the landscape and in the history of our ranch; it is a vital and integral part of it. Without this barn we would not have a place to house and protect our cattle," say the McCaffertys.