This article originally appeared in the Blackfoot Valley Dispatch. Written by Hope Quay.
The Montana History Foundation has awarded the Upper Blackfoot Valley Historical Society a grant of $10,000 in support of the Matt King House Project.
Carissa Beckwith, Grants Manager for the MHF, notified the UBVHS of the grant — the maximum yearly amount awarded to any one project by the MHF — in a March 18 e-mail.
“I was sick with a head cold and didn’t see the email until two days after it was sent,” said acting UBVHS President Erin Dey. “I was so happy and excited and relieved that we can now really get going on the project.”
The project gathered momentum last fall when the Lincoln Heritage Alliance merged with the UBVHS to purchase a centralized, visible lot in downtown Lincoln where the historic log home will be re-erected.
Previously, the Lincoln Heritage Alliance was formed in 2015 to “Save the King,” believed to be the valley’s oldest ranch house, from being sold for salvage. After purchasing the building, which had been disassembled and tagged, the LHA worked closely alongside the UBVHS to find a new “home” for the historic building.
With demolition already begun on an existing structure on the property, springtime will herald foundation work for the King.
“The foundation is a huge step and that’s what this grant was for,” Dey said. “It’s becoming more tangible all the time.”
The Matt King project was previously a recipient of support from the MHF in 2015, when the MHF agreed to act as the LHA’s fiscal sponsor, loaning their non-profit status as the fledgling group raced against the clock to purchase the building from Heritage Timber.
An independent non-profit dedicated to preserving Montana’s past, the MHF is the leading source for contributions and funding to preserve and protect history resources throughout Montana. Last year, the Foundation awarded $134,451 in grants to communities across the state. This year’s grantees, including the UBVHS, will be officially announced by the MHF in April.
“The Montana History Foundation has been a great partner from the beginning, and continues to be a great partner on this project,” said Dey. “We thank the MHF for this grant.”