J.C. Adams Stone Barn gets $10K grant

Posted March 24, 2020

This story originally ran in the Great Falls Tribune.  Written by Phil Drake.

J.C. Adams Stone Barn Co. near Sun River has been awarded a $10,000 grant from the Montana History Foundation to help in the renovation, it was announced Tuesday.

This grant will go toward painting all the wood surfaces of the barn, which have not been painted for at least 15 years.

Bob Milford is president of the nonprofit group, the J.C. Adams Stone Barn Co., which owns the 9,000-square-foot structure. He was happy with the news. 

“It’s fantastic,” he said. “Over the years there has been a lot of money invested in that barn, grant-wise and individual-wise. It is still standing and in good shape.”

He said the work will hopefully be done this summer.

The J.C. Adams Stone Barn has been described as “one of Montana’s most beloved and best-known landmark barns.” It dates to 1885 and its large size and unique Romanesque Revival architecture makes it the only stone barn of its kind west of the Mississippi, supporters said.

James Calvin Adams moved from Kentucky to Montana, Milford, said, adding the barn was built by a couple of stonemasons for $10,000. 

Adams settled in the Montana Territory in 1863 and had worked for the Diamond R. Wagon Co. hauling supplies from Fort Benton to Walla Walla. In late 1874, he moved to Sun River and established the Sun River Ranch, according to the website, https://jcadamsstonebarn.org/.

He raised cattle, horses, and sheep, which he sold to the U.S. Army at nearby Fort Shaw. He opened stores in Sun River and in Augusta, Montana and by 1882 was one of the wealthiest landowners in the area. He died in 1913.

The barn was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, Milford said.

The paint to be used is an exact match to the current historic color and is needed to help to maintain the integrity of the wooden portions of the barn. The cost of the painting project is estimated to be $13,500.

For more information or to make a donation, go to https://jcadamsstonebarn.org/

The Montana History Foundation is a nonprofit charity that raises money and provide funding for history and preservation projects across Montana. It was established in 1985. Read more about it at https://www.mthistory.org/