The House of Bair
Sheep, Cadillacs and Chippendale

by Lee Rostad

published by Lee Rostad

produced by Sweetgrass Books

  • The House of Bair tells the story of one of the most remarkable families of the early 20th century.

    The Bairs built a dynasty in the small ranching community of Martinsdale, Montana. They left behind a legacy of philanthropy, and displayed in their ranch house, a vast and invaluable collection of American and European art and antiques.

    The Bairs left their home as a museum to the people of Montana, a seemingly simple request that ultimately divided friends, sparked numerous lawsuits, and made national headlines. Rostad details the fight of the community to save the ranch museum and uphold the wishes of these beloved and colorful figures in Montana's history.

232 pages, 6 x 9, 98 b/w photos, 2 illustrations, 20 hardcovers per case, 40 softcovers per case

ISBN 10: 1-59152-067-3
ISBN 13: 978-1-59152-067-2

ISBN 10: 1-59152-068-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-59152-068-9

February 2010





The House of Bair
Sheep, Cadillacs and Chippendale

The House of Bair align=

Lee Rostad align= Lee Rostad and her husband, Phil, ranch in the northern foothills of the Crazy Mountains, not far from the Bair Ranch. A graduate of the University of Montana and a Fulbright Scholar, Rostad has authored five other books, including Grace Stone Coates: Her Life in Letters.

Praise for The House of Bair: Sheep, Cadillacs and Chippendale

"Lee Rostad has done it again. Like her award-winning biography of poet and fiction writer Grace Stone Coates, The House of Bair offers us an insider's view of the life and times of extraordinary but undersung Montanans. With her deft storytelling, meticulous research and close ties to her subjects, Lee provides key insights into the history of the entire Bair clan, but it is especially her lively recounting of Alberta's remarkable character and key contributions to Montana culture, including the house museum that bears the family name, that make The House of Bair such an engaging (and delightful) read."
-Rick Newby, editor of The New Montana Story

"Lee Rostad has brought us a warm account of the Bair family and their place in Montana history, based on meticulous research and the reminiscences of a close friend. The wonderful photographs Lee has reproduced here will give readers an additional glimpse into a time so recent and yet so lost."
-Mary Clearman Blew

"In The House of Bair, Lee Rostad vividly captures the adventurousness, derring-do and sharp-eyed dealings of Montana's first dynasty, the Bair family; a dynasty that began with Charles Bair, who arrived in Billings as a conductor on the Northern Pacific Railroad, and ended with heiress Alberta Bair, who hunted deer in her Cadillac on her sprawling Martinsdale ranch."
-Caroline Patterson, editor of Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart

"How wonderful to have a biography of such an important Montana family written by Lee Rostad, who actually knew her subjects and can give her readers personal accounts of the members of the "House of Bair." So often biographies are pieced together from newspaper articles, letters, and interviews, and while they may be factually correct, they lack the personal touch that is so evident in this entertaining and enlightening read. I read it in one sitting, and I suspect most readers will, too!"
-Sue Hart, Montana State University-Billings

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