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Preserve Montana holds event that teaches masonry

Milk House.jpg
Posted at 2:45 PM, Aug 16, 2022

HELENA — An event put on by Preserve Montana is teaching folks how to fix and maintain stone and mortar buildings.

“And they all tell a story, these buildings too. And those stories are important. They’re our history,” says Bob Valach, Master Mason.

Around a dozen or so people signed up for this event. Bob Valach, a 3rd generation mason, master mason, and Preserve Montana board member, taught the class over several days. A lot of the work they focused on was re-pointing joints, or filling in cracks with mortar, as well as relaying stone into the building.

“And if you give them the maintenance like we're doing here, it'll last a lot longer again. So, we're not a, masonry is not a throwaway society. It's a long-term project...” says Valach.

The building that the group helped repair was a milk house on the Sieben Ranch Company owned by John Baucus, 4th Generation Ranch Owner.

Some of those at the ranch were there to eventually pass these skills on to others or take the skills to work on other similar projects throughout the state.

“...the ability to have some of that knowledge so that I can take it to other citizens and other people around the state of Montana to be able to better advise them for how we can take other structures that need this same work and be able to preserve those other areas,” says Eric Newcombe, Historic Architecture Specialist.

As the only stone building on the ranch, ranch owner John Baucus hopes that others also see the value in preserving such structures.

“...I'm hoping that the next generation will look back favorably and said we made a smart decision by fixing up this old milk house,” says Baucus.