THE CHARLES M. BAIR FAMILY HOME
A trip to the Bair Home allows the visitor to step into the home of one of Montana’s
most prosperous families.
Charles M. Bair came to Montana in 1883. He worked as a conductor on the Northern
Pacific Railroad and went into the ranching business in 1891. He made his fortune
in the Alaska gold rush and went on to invest in banking, mining, oil and real estate.
Bair was one of the most successful sheep ranchers in the world, at one time running
over 300,000 head. Among his friends were Will Rogers, Chief Plenty Coups, Teddy
Roosevelt and many other U.S. Presidents.
The Bair home was originally the John Grant homestead house built in the latter
part of the 19th century. While Mrs. Bair and the Bair daughters would often summer
at the ranch during the years they lived in Portland, Oregon, they stayed at the
ranch headquarters located in the original town of Martinsdale. (The town was later
moved to accommodate the railroad’s path.) When they moved back to live in Montana
year round, the Grant house was remodeled to accommodate the furniture they had
collected in Portland and Vancouver and in time for Mr. and Mrs. Bair's Fiftieth
Wedding Anniversary. After their parents passed away, Alberta Bair and Marguerite
Bair Lamb, who were the last to live in the house, added to their earlier west coast
purchases. They collected many of the antiques and all of the Paul Storr silver
on their frequent trips to Europe starting in 1954. They added late Impressionist
paintings to the family’s collection of paintings by Charles Russell, Joseph Henry
Sharp, and other American painters.