Montana Homestead Granted by FDR Hits Market: Tour the 760-Acre Property With Massive Cabin, Private Lake

by Jennifer Shea
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A Montana homestead that was among the last homesteads granted by former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is for sale near Condon, outside Missoula.

Listing the property is Live Water Properties. (Which also has a property available in Hamilton, Montana. That’s pretty close to the Chief Joseph Ranch, where “Yellowstone” films.) It features a custom-built cabin, a lakeside sauna, a garage and a carport big enough to host boats, ATVs and even campers.

Surrounding the 4,686-square-foot cabin on all four sides is U.S. Forest Service land, meaning there’s no chance of encroaching development. Next to the cabin is a 14-acre private lake.

The Homestead Act of 1862 Made It All Possible

The Homestead Act gave U.S. citizens up to 160 acres of public land on the condition that they live there, improve the land somehow and pay a registration fee. Former President Abraham Lincoln signed it into law during the Civil War, on May 20, 1862. It was open to homesteaders who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government.

Between the first claim in 1863 and the repeal of the Homestead Act in 1976, the U.S. government granted more than 270 million acres of land, including in Montana, according to the National Archives.

However, in many areas of the country, the original homesteader left before they had time to file for deed of title. Frontier conditions were harsh. There were blizzards and plagues of insects that wiped out crops. The lack of trees on the plains forced some settlers to build houses out of sod. Moreover, 160 acres was too little to sustain agricultural undertakings on the plains. And the lack of natural vegetation made it hard to raise livestock.

The Homestead Act was also inextricably linked to federal Indian policy. In the 1880s, the U.S. government sought to break up reservations by granting land to individual Native Americans and to settlers.

Montana Homestead Is Nestled in Quiet Community

The homestead in Montana, known as The Last Homestead, is located about one mile off Highway 183. The nearest town, Condon, sits nestled along the Swan River, between the Swan Mountains and the Mission Mountains. The area is checkered with alpine lakes and wilderness.

The area offers a farmers market, the Arlee Farmers Market, in nearby Arlee, Montana. Condon’s smattering of restaurants range from the Swan Valley Café to East Shore Smoke House. Nearby Polson also hosts a plethora of restaurants, from Taco Bell to Ricciardi’s on Main to Grinde Bay Winery, according to VisitMT.com.

Take a tour of the homestead here.

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