Vincent Ranch, Hamilton, Montana, 1914

Frank's Homemade Raft

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When Frank Junior was a young boy, he wanted to run away from home. He built a small raft and hauled it to the irrigation ditch, next to the ranch, that ran through the Bitter Root Valley to sail away. The ditch is about six feet wide and 6 miles in length. Junior didn't get very far away from home.

THE SKALKAHO Hl-LINE DITCH is about 6 miles in length with a capacity of 175 cfs.

UPDATE: April 5, 2021

Turns out there was more to the story...Cousin Sallie shared this additional information about Frank's adventure. "Junior (Frank) was also going to float past a girl's place, his crush as they say today. The plan was the two of them would float out to an ocean. He described it as a real Huck Finn adventure."

Research reveals that The Vincent Ranch was located in a prime location next to the Skalkaho Hi-Line Irrigation Ditch which provided water for crops. The ditch is about 6 miles in length with a capacity of 175 cfs. An examination on Google Maps shows that the ditch flows back into the Bitterroot River south of Hamilton near the Old Darby Road.

Marcus Daly bought the existing Republican Ditch in 1901 and constructed three additional ditches; the Ward Ditch, Skalkaho Hi-Line Ditch, and Hedge Ditch. These ditches have been slightly altered over the years, but in many ways they function just as they did in 1901.

Source: Bitterroot Valley History of Irrigation

More information will be added when it becomes available.

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