The History of Kane

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Date: February 5, 2010
Contact: Christy Fleming, 307-548-5406

“Dust to Mud and Gone but Not Forgotten”, is how Bill Scott described Kane in his book, Pioneers of the Big Horn.   Kane began as a railroad shipping point for lumber, cattle and sheep.  The small town was established in 1912. At that time, the treeless community consisted of four log houses, one railroad section house, a railroad car used for the depot, and a store. By the 1930’s, Kane grew to include a bank, two general stores, two hotels, a motel, a dance and pool hall, a school and service stations. In 1965 with the Yellowtail Dam nearing completion, the Bureau of Reclamation knew that a full capacity Bighorn Lake would flood Kane. They condemned the land and bought it from the community. In 1967 the rising lake waters silenced the hum of Kane forever.

Art Schatz, son of Chris and Lois Schatz, has lived most of his life in the Lovell area. His family farmed at Kane, until 1965 when the Bureau of Reclamation bought out the farmers. The history of his family living in the Kane area began with his mother’s grandfather, Henry Gifford, who worked for the cattle baron Henry Lovell. Together they brought a herd of cattle from Ellsworth, Kansas in 1897 to the ML Ranch. 

For the past four years, Art Schatz has been working on a book about growing up in the Kane area. The book is not completed, but Art has collected oral histories and information about the Kane farmers’ way of life. On February 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm at the Lovell Visitor Center, Art will share the history and stories from the town of Kane, as well as talk about the trauma felt by the families that were uprooted when the Yellowtail Dam was built. 

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Headquarters Office
PO Box 7458

Fort Smith, MT 59035


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