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Honorees recognized for efforts in preserving Cascade County historical sites

2023 Great Falls-Cascade County Historical Preservation Awards.png
Posted at 7:44 PM, May 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-27 16:08:37-04

GREAT FALLS — The 2023 Great Falls Historic Preservation Awards took place at the Great Falls Civic Center on Thursday evening. The annual event honored the outstanding efforts of four people and projects in Cascade County. It is also part of National Historic Preservation Month.

Honorees recognized for efforts in preserving Cascade County historical sites

This year's national theme was "People Saving Places."

The 2023 honorees were:

  • Burnette Batista - for her passion and leadership in the restoration of the Fort Shaw and raising awareness of the Sun River Valley's history.
  • Giant Springs State Park and Dustin Iverson - for their excellent work in restoring the retaining wall surrounding the Spring at Giant Springs State Park.
  • Bob Milford - for his monumental effort in restoring and rehabilitating the J.C. Adams Stone Barn.
  • The First United Methodist Church and Bryan Robinson - for their outstanding rehabilitation of the arched double door at the church’s northern entrance.

The purpose of the Great Falls/Cascade County Historic Preservation Advisory Commission is to provide a leadership role in the preservation of cultural, historic, and pre-historic sites, structures, buildings and districts within the City and County.
Honorees got the chance to step up to the podium and make their own individual statements.

"I'm very fortunate to receive this award, and hopefully we can continue our work through the years," said Burnette Batista.

Bob Milford spoke on the importance of preserving the old J.C. Adams Stone Barn. The J.C. Adams Stone Barn has been a staple in the Sun River Valley for quite some time (link). Rancher J.C. Adams had it completed in 1885, making it older than the state of Montana (1889). With its large size and Romanesque Revival stone architecture, it’s said to be the only barn of its kind west of the Mississippi River.

In his speech, Milford said, "Thanks to all the supporting members who not only give their time, but also support the barn financially. The stone barn has stood for 138 years, and we all hope it will last for another 138 years."

There are many projects that are still being worked on such as from The Vinegar Jones Cabin in Gibson Park, the city's only building remaining from the first year of the original townsite, to the Boston and Montana Barn in Black Eagle. 

Members of the Historic Preservation Advisory Commission say they will continue their mission in restoring and protecting the roots of Cascade County, keeping it alive for many generations to come.

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