(transcription by super volumteer, CARI)
ps-hey, did you know that Absarokee was what the Crow called themselves?
Billings Gazette/10 Oct 2004
"FIRST CROW INDIAN AGENCY WAS BUILT AS SAFE HAVEN IN 1869
The first Crow Agency was established in the summer of 1869, a few miles below the Great Bend of the Yellowstone River near the mouth of ??? Creek. It was built as a refuge for Crow Indians from their enemies, and was also where the government hoped to encourage the tribe to abandon its nomadic ways and to adopt a sedentary, agricultural lifestyle.
The agency was named Ft Parker, and was used for Indian affairs, and consisted of two block houses, a stable and a livery, enclosed by a 10-foot-high stockade later to the ranch that would enclose the fort's ruins.
Ft Parker, made entirely of wood, burned to the ground a year after it was built and was rebuilt out of adobe brick. Durable as it was, there was little need for it by 1875, when the government, which had begun reducing the size of the Crow Reservation, moved the agency to the Stillwater River near what is now the town of Absarokee. Later it was moved farther east to Crow Agency, which still bears the name, south of Hardin.
There is little to be seen of Ft Parker today. A faint line of stone marks where a foundation once stood, and white posts have been erected to show the boundaries of a couple of irrigation ditches that once suppled the fort with water.
A stone's throw west of the fort is another historic site, of sorts-the stone foundation of what was to have been a grand house on an ever grander cattle ranch. It was built by an Irish agent for a consortium of foreign investors shortly after the demise of Ft Parker. Before the house's foundation was completed, money ran out and construction stopped for good.
Doug Ensign, the current owner of the Mission Ranch, said locals have always referred to the ruins as "the Irishman's Castle."
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