Historical Map of the Yellowstone Bend Ranch

View 1889 YBR Map as a PDF

History of the Yellowstone Bend Ranch

Yellowstone Bend Ranch has been ranched and farmed for many years. The ranch history reflects its strategic location along the Yellowstone River. Tipi rings and other artifacts are evidence of Crow, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, and raiding Sioux who all claimed the area as hunting grounds. Captain William Clark made his way along the property on his return trip on July 17, 1806, some 200 years ago. The Homestead Acts beginning in 1864, the Bridger and Bozeman trails coupled with the construction and completion of the Northern Pacific Railroad brought settlers to the area. The hallmark of conspicuous history of Yellowstone Bend Ranch lies with the Spannering family. The family constructed the house and barn in the 1920s, which serve as the ranch centerpiece today and are recognized on the National Register of Historic Places. The homestead compound served the Spannering family while they kept dairy cows in the barn and produced grain and grass hay for subsistence living. In the decades since, the ranch has been enlarged as some homesteaders sold out. For the past 20 years, the over 3600 acre Yellowstone Bend Ranch has been managed primarily for wildlife habitat. The current owners of Yellowstone Bend Ranch manage for wildlife and livestock grazing in keeping with the century old tradition of the ranch.