Marcy before she became a wilderness woman and before she married Virgil.


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A Little Pre-Horn Family History of the Flat

In the book, we touched on some of the early history of Raymond Flat. For the people who might have an interest in that, I am going to post some pictures I got from the estate of the late Jim Smith of Junction City. He did slideshow presentations for the local historical society about his time growing up in the Helena area in the 1930s.

To my knowledge these are the only early photographs of the Flat. I heard rumors of them right after we first move onto the Flat   but it took me nearly 40 years to get my hands on these rare photocopies of photocopies. If anyone knows of any other historical photos of this part of the North Fork, I would love to see them. Thanks, Joel Horn



The construction of the log crib dam across the North Fork. The dam tender’s cabin that burned down is visible in the upper left of the photograph.


The dam building crew posing on the dam. The cedar trees our summer kitchen was under is just above the peavey the center man is holding.


Looking upriver at the dam. The beginning of the 14-mile-long flume can be seen on the left.



On the lower left is the floodgate to the flume.



This is the water pouring over the dam after it was finished. Notice the driftwood logs that are wedged on the top of the dam.


And here is a picture of John S. Barnes (Red) in the 1930s.

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How it feels to be to be an ant in an ant lion’s hole. Dredging in the early 1980’s.


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My wife Crystal and I packing Christmas jewelry orders out in 2 feet of snow. Dec 2002.

Crystal and Joel Getting the Shipment Out

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Building a wood fired bread and pizza oven.

I just finished this outdoor oven. My Mom always wanted one but I wasn’t fast enough to get it done before she passed last fall. So Ma there it is, I hope you like it.

A lot of cement went into this project but within this project went a number of different items that had historical significance to us. The fire box door came from an old Gibson tractor we got from our friend Gary’s sister around 30 years ago. She was a very beautiful and great lady and sadly she passed, way to young, only months after she gave us the tractor. So Debbie as you look down you will see your tractor lives on.

The hoop steel for the oven structure came from recycling parts from the old organ blower, Virgil brought up when we first moved. It served many years as the cover to the original pelton turbine. Virgil your organ blower lives on as well.

And lastly the original sawmill carriage we made with straightened, burned bed frames was cannibalized  and the steel went into this oven. So I guess should the oven not work when it gets tested it will live on as a shrine to the Flat’s early history.


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Outdoor kitchen

Summer kitchen

I spent a lot of time huddling behind that woodstove on chilly mornings.

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A color picture of Red (John S Barnes)

Care for some snuff?

Care for some snuff?

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Gold mining early 1980s


Notice the D10 dozers and 400 excavators…..

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Making a Candlebug

A reader contacted me about how a candlebug was made. Thanks Becky in PA! It has been decades since I made one but I did a quick candlebug how I did it video this morning.  Cut sheet metal can be VERY sharp.

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Finding Gold in the Early 1980s

Dredging in the early 80s



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