Jane Stanfel Capturing Forever


Gallery
 
Watercolors

Sidney Area

Available
Price: US $550
Contact to Purchase

Nohly Store and Bridge
2013 Oil on Old Saw

Please see the detailed pictures.

Availability: Sold

Nohly Bridge
2013 Oil on Old Saw 30" x 6.25"

This was a commissioned work. Please see the detailed pictures. The house over the bridge is where the person, who would operate the bridge, lived. The two towers are where the two sections of the four-section bridge were lifted into the air so a ship would continue its trip down the Yellowstone River. River travel chained considerably since it was built, and locals think it was only raised twice in its history. However, trains still use the bridge daily. The Great Northern railroad used it extensively while it was in existence.

Availability: Sold

The Ice Saw
2013 Oil on Old Saw 5.25 ft x 3 to 5"

This was a commissioned work. Please see the detailed pictures for views of the house, barn, farm animals, etc.

Available
Price: US $1300
Contact to Purchase

Bringing Home His Bride
2012 Oil on Old Barn Wood 28" x 12" unframed

Joe Klasna was born in Nebraska, and in 1911 or1912 he headed northwest to claim his homestead in the Sidney, Montana area. His first home, made of sod, sufficed as a beginning. On a nearby ranch lived the Goss family, who numbered many children, and Joe met their eldest, a dark-haired beauty named Helen. Love blossomed, but one could not move a true love into a sod house. To rectify this in 1918 he hand-built a popular style, single-story house. It really wasn't much of a place, wasn't even different from many others built in the area, just 15 feet by 24 feet and consisted of two rooms, a bedroom and a combo living room and kitchen, but it was his and would be the house for his beautiful bride. Without a church nearby, on August 19, 1919, Joe and Helen exchanged vows in her parents' house. It was fortunate he built a sturdy house, for 1919 was a horrific winter with much snow. They ranched and farmed, and, as they became prosperous, added rooms to their home. Two sons were added too: the first Joseph Jr., in 1921, another son nine years later during which interval a set of twins were still-born. Ultimately they sold their house, it was moved somewhere in the valley and still stands. The picture depicts Joe and Helen as they leave her family's house after a visit. in the winter of 1919.

Available
Price: US $1300
Contact to Purchase

Feeding Time
2012 Oil on Old Barn Wood 15" x 17.5" unframed

The Rudie farm, located near Fairview, Montana, celebrated its centennial in 2006.  In this painting, Sigurd Jr. was helping his dad store the hay in the barn, and that shiny truck is much prized and still in use.  The Rudie brothers brought their agricultural traditions from Norway, filed seven homesteads at first, and added even more as other brothers and Sigurd Jr.’s grandmother sailed to the United States and became citizens. The prosperous and well-kept farm raises wheat, malt barley, oats, angus cattle and sheep and produces oil.

Availability: Sold

Little School on the Prairie
2012 Oil on Canvas 16" x 12" framed in Old Barn Wood

Located about a mile north of the Kjos farm outside of Fairview, Montana, the Church School - though not affiliated with any church -  was a typical, tiny, one-room country school, having been moved to this location around 1950. The attached lean-to was added as living quarters for the teacher.  It consisted of a tiny bedroom and living room with cooking facilities.  If the students were especially good the teacher would allow them to bring potatoes from home which she would bake in her teacherage. In the school room were desks for the students, who never numbered more than seven. Blackboards, a wall map, the teacher’s desk, chair, a flag, and a Seigler heater were in the front of the room, while the back had an old pump organ.  Water was hauled to the school and stored in the entry next to a wash basin for cleaning hands.  A barn with three doors was also hauled to the site.  The first door was the boys’ outhouse, and the other two were used for animals, while the girls’ was a separate outhouse. There was a swing-set for play.  Subjects were the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic along with art, and organ lessons were given after school.  Cold lunches and drinks were brought from home.  Since there were no telephones – electricity in the area arrived in 1949 – parents would watch for smoke from the chimney to ensure the teacher was present. Keeping a teacher was not easy in such a rural environment, and some lasted only a few days.

Tales about the students include a boy who stuck his tongue on the metal support of the swing set one cold winter day, and it took a couple of cups of water poured over the tongue to get it loose.  Another describes how a boy took a girl’s newly knitted mittens and threw them down the outhouse’s pot.  The lucky teacher got to fish them out.

In 1954, when the number of students fell to two, the school was closed.  Now a crumbling structure in the middle of the never-ending plains, the little school house seems almost unreal; but if one stands there and listens and dreams just a little, one can almost see and hear those little blond, blue eye Norwegians scampering about and making life difficult now and then for the very young teacher.

Available
Price: US $1300
Contact to Purchase

School Days, 1913
2012 Oil on Canvas 24" x 18" framed in old frame found in a 'ghost ranch'

Why or where this picture was taken is not known - except it was early spring, 1913, and the little chap at the far right of the painting was Sigurd Rudie.  The children were dressed to the hilt, so all knew the box camera would take their photo.  Perhaps it was the first known school bus in the Sidney area, perhaps in all of Montana, where getting children to and from school was not easy in difficult winters.  In the Miles City area, the problem was sometimes solved by having one mom and all the children live the winter in a dug-out structure built near the school.  Another was setting a wooden, mobile, one-room class within walking distance of students’ homes.  Different solutions were involved families’ banding together to build roads to carry their children on horseback or buggy to schools.  If a family was large enough, the teacher would just live with them or in another structure on the ranch and teach there.  Others had to leave their families to attend schools in neighboring towns.  As to Sigurd, not dressed quite as fancy as the others, he and his family were new arrivals in the United States that year from Norway.  He and his grandmother became U.S. citizens in 1919.

Availability: Sold

The Prairie Princess
2012 Oil on Old Barn Wood 24" x 23" unframed

On Christmas day, 1889, Gunda Mellumbraaten was born in Norway.  Losing her mother while still a baby, she was raised by her aunt and uncle.  At sixteen she fell in love with Lars Borg, they married a year later, and eight children were soon born in the house built by Lars. In 1911, when just 22 years old, she, Lars, and the six surviving children embarked on a small cattle boat  for Liverpool, England. They would then take a passenger ship to America, where her brother and two of Lars’ brothers lived.  Enduring a foot of water in their cabin caused by high seas’ breaking the portholes, they discovered their second ship was also badly damaged by the same storm and unable to sail. Thus, they set sail for Quebec, Canada, from which they traveled by train to Sault St. Marie and entered the U.S.  Lars worked as a carpenter in Minnesota, where another daughter was born, until they were finally able to move to Montana in 1913, first to Sidney then on to the Fairview area, where they took over the homestead of Gunda’s deceased brother.  Six more children were born after their arrival in Montana.  Our princess was Edith, child number fourteen, born on October 25, 1920.  The painting shows the female part of the family walking home from Sunday service at the Scandinavia Lutheran Church, a half-mile away from their home.  The other three young ladies are Gerda, Thyra, Anna, and Ruth with Nellie still to be born four years later.  When she could take time from parenting, cooking, and gardening, Gunda crocheted and knitted.  Princess Edith’s fine attire was surely hand-made by her mom, Gunda, while the regal carriage must have been created by her father, Lars.

Available
Price: US $500
Contact to Purchase

Yesterday's Treasures
2012 Oil on Canvas 14" x 11" unframed

The original homestead living quarters have been used for many different functions during its more than a century of existence. It was moved to this site over a hundred years ago and was home to the Rudi family after they arrived from Norway in 1905. Looking into the tiny structure it is almost impossible to believe anyone could live there. Then, many years later, and after larger and finer homes were built, it was given a concrete floor, and used to store grain. Siding and a metal roof made the structure modern-looking from the outside, but inside are stored all the ancient gems no longer used but still too laden with memories to make disposal possible. Gathering dust and dirt and a mouse dropping or two here they sit simply awaiting the family to need them again.

Available
Price: US $500
Contact to Purchase

Rock of Ages
2012 Oil on Canvas 11" x 14" unframed

Pierre Wibaux arrived in Montana from France in 1883 and became a successful rancher even through the horrible year of 1886 by feeding his cattle cottonwood branches. He then bought up at rock bottom prices the cattle of other ranchers who went belly-side-up and by the mid 1890s supposedly had 65,000 head. At that point he persuaded the Northern Pacific to change the name of the area from Mingusville to Wibaux. Coming from a devout Normandy-French Catholic family, his father in 1884 sent him the capital needed to build a stone church in the style of churches back home in France. The small building, of native stone and lava rock, is an imposing structure built on a high bluff overlooking the endless prairie. During his lifetime, Pierre built himself a magnificent ranch about 14 miles from town, but those buildings all burned, and this church, St. Patrick's, is the only standing tribute to his contributions to this town, save for his clapboard office building in town, which now houses the county museum.

Available
Price: US $750
Contact to Purchase

A Farmer's Necessities
2012 Oil on Canvas 16" x 12" unframed

The Fischers bought this interesting ranch in 1971. Its history dates back to the turn of the century when the railroad owned the property and mineral rights as part of their five mile of clearance to either side of their track. Early owners include the Bouchards in 1905, the Gauthiers in 1927, and the Christiansens who owned it when Viola Fischer was in grade school. When they moved in there were no trees, just open plains for as far as one could see. Figuring that at retirement he could sell them for extra cash, Gabe planted the evergreens. Now eighty years old, the owners enjoy the beauty and quiet the trees give them, and cutting and selling them is not an option. Viola was a house painter throughout her life, and she keeps the house looking brand-new both inside and out. This building with its fancy red trim is a shed, while the trusty old tractor has since been replaced by a fancy newer one. Each has served the land well as has their owners.

Availability: Sold

Sylvia's Church
2012 Oil on Canvas 14" x 11" unframed

The Four Mile Scandinavian Lutheran Church, located outside Fairview, Montana, was originally constructed in 1910, though the inside was not completed until 1917. Services were held in Norwegian every other week with their minister's handling two other churches as well. It burned to the ground in 1926 and was immediately rebuilt. This painting is of the second church. As the years passed and fewer of the parishioners understood Norwegian, the services were held in English. One parishioner, Sylvia Kjos, remembers being taught the native songs, which she proudly sang in a duet with another child, Sonja Jacobson Tomalino. Neither understood the Norwegian they were singing.

The Church had no well, and toilets were the two outhouses out back. Baptismal water was brought in a thermos bottle, and when someone forgot that one Sunday, folks quickly drained a Model T, and the minister used that water for the baptism. Afterwards the water was replaced in the car's radiator.

The congregation separated by sex, with men sitting on one side of the church and women on the other. Once a visiting family attended and, not knowing the seating etiquette, they sat together, which occasioned much staring from both the visitors and the regular attendees. Communion was not a common part of the service, and when it was to be distributed, those wishing to receive had to visit the minister privately beforehand. The church did not receive electricity until 1950, just three years before it closed. It had gas lights, but since all the services were during the day, no one remembers them ever used.

In 1925 Leonard Thorbjornson was the first person baptized in Sylvia's Church, and in 1954 his son, Larry, was the last. Roads had improved as had vehicles, and farms had become bigger, so fewer lived rural. Those that did, attended services in Fairview. The structure was sold, dismantled, and hauled away, but in 1969 the old congregation built a native stone monument to their beloved Church in the parish cemetery. The base contains the original Corner Stone along with the weather vane from the 1910 Church.

To Kalispell

Back to Ghost Ranches Index

 


Copyright 1998-2012
©Jane Stanfel