Lot 84 of 382:
Homesteading at Montana's Sun River Project  

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Lot closed - Sold For (Includes Buyers Premium):$120
$200 - $300

Letter regarding the Sun River Project in Montana, and the possibility of obtaining irrigated homestead land within its bounds

Robbins, S.B.

Fort Shaw, MT


Dec. 18, 1908


Typed letter, possibly a carbon. signed S.B. Robbins, Project Engineer, in type. On letterhead of the Department of the Interior, United States Reclamation Service. With original mailing envelope and a pre-addressed postcard to respond to the letter.

Form letter writing to a possible homesteader, noting that additional information on the massive irrigation project was available, and that the recipient could request that information by using the enclosed postcard. 

The Sun River project was initiated to provide storage of Sun River water at Gibson Reservoir, Willow Creek Reservoir, and a few other reservoirs. On September 26, 1906, the Department of the Interior authorized the USBR's Sun River Project, under pressure from local residents, namely those of Great Falls, who wanted the irrigation of lands east of the Rocky Mountains along the Sun and Teton Rivers. 
Construction began on the Fort Shaw Division in May 1907 with the bulk of the work completed by July 1908. Water was first delivered to the lands in 1909. The main storage dam, Gibson, was constructed during 1926-1929 with the construction of lateral systems was finished in 1936.
S.B. Robbins, sometimes called the "father" of the Sun River project, was project engineer when the Fort Shaw division opened in 1908. Joining the Reclamation Service soon after its establishment in 1902, Robbins took part in the early surveys of the Sun River project and by 1904 was the engineer in charge of the project. He held that position until 1910.
Through the cooperative advertising efforts of the Reclamation Service, the Great Falls Commercial Club, and the Great Northern railroad, people in other parts of the United States learned about the Sun River project. Notices in newspapers suggested that interested parties write to the project manager for more information.
Robbins developed several form letters that he used to respond to these requests. One letter emphasized the low cost of the land; productive soil that required no clearing; the close proximity of telephone lines, mail routes, schools, and churches; the planned electric railway; and the moderating effect of Chinook winds on the area's winter weather. We have one of these letters sent to the interested party. Since the advertising campaign targeted Midwestern states with large numbers of dairy farmers, another letter focused on the great potential for dairy farming in the project.

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Very good or better condition.

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