Camera icon. This link bypasses navigation taking you directly to the contents of this page.

How to Use the Images


Inquiry Question

Historical Context



Photo 1
Photo 2
Photo 3
Photo 4


Table of

Visual Evidence

Photo 5: Bagg Bonanza Farm,
ca. 1930s.
[Photo 5] with link to larger version of photo.
(State Historical Society of North Dakota, photographer unknown)

The Downing-Bagg bonanza farm originally consisted of 9,000 acres. When J. F. Downing died in 1916, his nephew inherited one-fourth of the land. He moved the buildings and machinery a mile away and began his own bonanza farm, which would eventually total 6,000 acres. Photo 5 is an aerial view of the headquarters of the Bagg farm.

Drawing 1: Bagg Bonanza Farm, 1985. [Drawing 1] with link to larger version of drawing.
(National Park Service)

This plan shows the buildings and structures on the Bagg Bonanza Farm when it was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places. The circled numbers indicate buildings that are either modern or so changed that they cannot be considered historic.

Key to Map 2

1. Owners' residence (lived in by them only briefly)
2 and 3. Storage sheds
4. Granary
5. Sheep barn
6 and 7. Machine sheds
8. Long barn (blew down in a storm in the 1950s, ruins removed in 1999)
9. Harness workshop
10. Bunkhouse
11. Modern oil supply shed
12. Iron supply shop
13. Cow barn
14. Privy
15. Collapsed barn
16. Machine shed
17. Shed
18. Modern building
19. Modern shed
20. Blacksmith shop
21. Blacksmith shop privy
22. House used by relatives of the owner
23. Bunkhouse
24. Privy
25. Ice house
26. Modern hoist
27. Threshing machine
28. Modern combine
29. Miscellaneous vehicles and parts
30. Chicken coop

Questions for Photo 5 and Drawing 1

1. Note the large wooden elevator in the lower left of Photo 5. Farmers stored wheat in these elevators until they were shipped by rail. They sometimes waited several months before shipping their grain. Why do you think they might have done that?

2. Compare Photo 5 with Drawing 1. Label the structures on Photo 5 using the corresponding numbers from Drawing 1. How many buildings shown in the 1930s can you find on the 1985 map?

3. What characteristics of the landscape shown in Photos 4 and 5 might make it easy to farm this land. Can you find any that might indicate problems? If needed, refer to Reading 2.

4. Even after the bonanza farms were broken up in the early 20th century, farms in the Red River Valley tended to be very large. Why do you think that was the case? How would large size be an advantage for a farm? What problems might it create?

5. The Bagg Bonanza Farm has been restored as a museum showing what bonanza farms were like. Why do you think the farm was restored? What kinds of things might you learn by visiting this farm?

6. How many of the structures on Drawing 1 are historic? How many are considered "modern"? Why do you think it is important to know which structures are historic and which are modern when learning about the farm's history?

* The images on this screen have a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 5 and Drawing 1, but be aware that each file will take as much as 30 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

National Park Service arrowhead with link to NPS website.