HISTORY OF THE SIAS SPUR PROPERTY
The property was originally part of a 155.58-acre homestead. The upper Swan Valley was one of the last areas in the lower 48 of the United States to be open for homesteading. The early settlers to the valley often used a phrase to describe the area – Valley of the Hush. “It’s so quiet up here that you could go outside & listen, and the only thing you could hear was your head. It would ring! Dead silence.” (Kenny Huston, Voices of the Swan). From the same book – “What they treasured most is the peace that the place still offers.”
M. I. Sias filed on this parcel in 1915 and later gained ownership in 1921. The property was forested except for the glacial ponds and wetlands scattered about the land. The forested portion of the property consisted primarily of a dense stand of lodgepole pine from one to twelve inches in diameter. Most of the larger trees were dead from a mountain pine beetle infestation. As part of the homestead requirements, Sias hadto clear a portion of the forested property and drain several wetlands and ponds for agricultural purposes. However, there is no evidence that Sias cleared any of this area of his homestead.
The Sias family had four horses that roamed freely about the area. Most of the agricultural work and homestead buildings are located on the 80 acre parcel to the east of the property (now owned by Bill Moore). The Sias family lost the property to Missoula County in 1921 due to their inability to pay the annual taxes assessed on the homestead. This parcel stayed in county possession until being sold for the back taxes of $10.72 in 1929.
In the late 1950s the lodgepole pine trees on the Property were harvested. A movable scrag mill was used to cut up the trees into lumber. The timber was again harvested in 2005. Don Schmitz purchased this 40 acre parcel in 2009. The house was built in 1997 by the previous owner (Kahn) with an addition added in 2004. The logs used for the lower portion of the main house came from the Salish reservation.
The small cabin was built around 2000 and the garage in 2005.
The property was purchased in the Fall of 2016 by Roger and Debra Andruss – they live full-time on the property. To honor the Salish people, the first people of this land, the property was named “qámlexw” (calm, peaceful land) in 2019 to reflect the words most often used to describe this place. The name was given by Salish elder Johnny Arlee.