Krutar Homestead

History of the Krutar Homestead


Soon after homesteaders started to move into the Blackfoot Valley in the 1870's, the Kleinschmidt brothers began a cattle and horse ranch near Ovando, on the Flat that now bears their name. Their ranch was part of Ovando's early growth that prospered from local ranching, logging and mining. Ovando, named after its first Postmaster, Ovando Hoyt, grew to include hotels, saloons, several stores, and even two brothels. When the railroad failed to reach Ovando, the Forest Service headquarters moved, and a period of drought made ranching impossible, people began leaving the valley. Ovando began a period of slow decline around 1900, and when seven downtown buildings were destroyed in a devastating 1919 fire, none were ever rebuilt.

In 1909, and again in 1917, the Kleinschmidt ranch was sold. Roy and Betty Krutar, only the fourth owners, bought the ranch in 1949, and moved their family into the fine log house Dr. Tait had built on a prominent hill not far from the North Fork of the Blackfoot River. The Krutars raised cattle, chickens, milk cows, and hogs. After the grand log home burned in 1967, a new home was built at the foot of the small hill where the original house was located.

When Roy Krutar died in 1986, his oldest son Jon and his family took over the ranch, working it on a part-time basis while he and his wife, Diane, and their two boys, Eric and Chad, lived in Helena. When Jon and Diane retired from their teaching jobs at Carroll College in 1994, they moved to the ranch permanently. In 2001 Jon and his sons decided to build the Homestead. Two buildings dating to the Kleinschmidt years, featuring hand-hewn log, dove-tailed corner construction were dismantled to serve as the new Homestead. Eric and Chad sited, designed and built the new house facing stunning views of the Flat and Ovando Mountain. Necessary lumber for the Homestead was harvested from the ranch, and some of the house's fixtures and interior décor were salvaged from local sites of historic interest. The Homestead welcomed it first guests in 2002.
Little Fisherman