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Near Avon in Powell County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
 

The Valley of a Thousand Haystacks

 
 
The Valley of a Thousand Haystacks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, August 8, 2010
1. The Valley of a Thousand Haystacks Marker
Inscription. The Little Blackfoot Valley is filled with lush hay fields. You already may have noticed the rounded haystacks and commented on the strange lodgepole structures standing in many of the fields. This contraption that looks like a cross between a catapult and a cage is a hay-stacker that actually acts like a little of both. It was invented before 1910 by Dade Stephens and H. Armitage in the Big Hole Valley about sixty miles south of here. The device, called a beaver slide, revolutionized haying in Montana. It helped keep the wind from blowing the hay away and cut stacking time considerably.

To work the beaver slide, a large rake piled high with hay is run up the arms of the slide (the sloping portion of the “catapult”). At the top the hay dumps onto the stack. The side gates (the cage part) keep the stack in a neat pile and make it possible to stack higher. The sides were added to the system in the late 1940s. Although the lifting of the rake is usually powered by a take-off from a tractor, truck or car axle, on some operations horse teams still provide the rpm’s to muscle the hay up the slide.

Aside from minor improvements, the beaver slide has remained unchanged since its inception. Once used throughout a good portion of the northern west, modern technology that can shape hay into bales, loaves or huge
The Valley of a Thousand Haystacks Marker image. Click for full size.
By Google Street View (©2014 Google), June 2012
2. The Valley of a Thousand Haystacks Marker
View to west along US 12
jelly rolls have replaced it in many areas. The Little Blackfoot is one of several valleys in Montana where you can still see the beaver slide and its distinctive haystacks.
 
Location. 46° 35.462′ N, 112° 39.424′ W. Marker is near Avon, Montana, in Powell County. Marker is on U.S. 12 1.5 miles west of Chokecherry Lane, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Avon MT 59713, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 2 other markers are within 15 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Winter of 1886 (approx. 13.2 miles away); 1959 Riot (approx. 14.2 miles away).
 
Categories. Agriculture
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on February 23, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 407 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on February 23, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
 
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