User:Ltvine/Sandbox/Draft Chief Plenty Coups (Chea-Alek-Ahoosh) State Park and Home

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Chief Plenty Coups State Park
Chief Plenty Coups' (Alek-Chea-Ahoosh) Home
Protected area
Plenty Coups Home NPS (1997).jpg
House of Chief Plenty Coups at Chief Plenty Coups State Park
Country United States
State Montana
County Big Horn County
City Pryor
River Pryor Creek
Elevation 4,042 ft (1,232 m)
Coordinates 45°25′35″N 108°32′56″W / 45.42639°N 108.54889°W / 45.42639; -108.54889Coordinates: 45°25′35″N 108°32′56″W / 45.42639°N 108.54889°W / 45.42639; -108.54889
Area 195.4 acres (79 ha)
Style vernacular
Founded 1965
 - Bequest 1928
Management Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks
Owner State of Montana
For public yes
Map of the U.S. state of Montana showing Chief Plenty Coups State Park and Home
Website: Chief Plenty Coups State Park

Chief Plenty Coups State Park is a state park located approximately 0.5 miles (0.8 km)* west of Pryor, Montana on the Crow Indian Reservation. Chief Plenty Coups' (Alek-Chea-Ahoosh) Home, located in the state park is a National Historic Landmark with several contributing resources. The homestead was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1970,[1] and became a National Historic Landmark in 1999.[2] The 195 acres (78.9 ha) property belonged to Chief Plenty Coups, the last traditional tribal Chief of the Apsáalooke people.[3][4] He and his wife, Strikes the Iron, left their home and property to all people in 1928. The only museum of Apsáalooke culture in the United States is located there as well as a memorial to Plenty Coups and his achievements.[4]

Chief Plenty Coups State Park[edit]

Park history[edit]

In a vision as a young man, Plenty Coups saw his future as an old man sitting in the shade of trees with a house and spring nearby. In 1883, he settled on an allotment of 320 acres (129.5 ha)[4] on the Crow Indian Reservation and built a log homestead beginning in 1884. In 1928 he and his wife, Strikes the Iron, presented 189 acres (76.5 ha) of the land in trust to Big Horn County, including the house, spring, and trees Plenty Coups had envisioned,[5] saying:

Today, I who have been called Chief of Chiefs, among red men, present to all the children of our Great White Father this land where the snows of many winters have fallen on my tepee. This park is not to be a memorial to me, but to the Crow Nation. It is given as a token of my friendship for all people, both red and white.[6]

Upon Plenty Coups' death in 1932 the Big Horn County Commission assumed responsibility and employed a caretaker for the farm and buildings. The Billings Kiwanis Club took stewardship of the land in 1951. The club operated a small museum in the house and placed small sandstone markers at the grave sites of Plenty Coups and his wives.[6] In 1961 the site entered state ownership under the control of the Montana State Highway Commission, who in turn passed it on to the parks division of the Montana Fish and Game Department the predecessor to today's Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in 1965. It was at this time that Chief Plenty Coups' land became a state park.[5] In about 1970, the State of Montana purchased an additional small tract of 6.2 acres (2.5 ha) for access and park structures, bringing the total to today's area of 195.4 acres (79.1 ha). This additional parcel had been part of an allotment to Plenty Coups' wife, Kills Together who died in 1923.[6]

Neglect took a toll through the decades of the 1950s and 60s and under threat of lawsuit the state,[7] along with tribal and private donors built a visitor center and museum in 1972.[5] The house that Plenty Coups had begun in 1884 was stabilized in 1993 and 1994.[5] In 2003 the state spent US$600,000 on renovations and improvements to the museum including the addition of a fire suppression system, and other building safety features; and reburbishment of the interpretative displays.[7]

Use and facilities[edit]

Chief Plenty Coups' (Alek-Chea-Ahoosh) Home[edit]

The Chief Plenty Coups' home is unique for its historic integrity when compared to similar homesteads of prominent chiefs from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the northern American Great Plains and northern Rockies.[6]


In August 1883 the Crow Agent H.J. Armstrong requested permission from the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to hire two carpenters to help Plenty Coups construct a house and cabins along Pryor Creek for he and his band. Plenty Coups had earlier been given an allotment of about 320 acres (129.5 ha) as an encouragement to other Apsáalooke people to adopt agricultural lifestyles. Completed in 1884, the original one-and-a-half story 15 feet (4.6 m) x 20 feet (6.1 m) footprint was enlarged in subsequent years. In 1900, a one story 15 feet (4.6 m) x 15 feet (4.6 m) addition was added to the southwest wall; and in 1909 a 15 feet (4.6 m) x 30 feet (9.1 m) wing was added to the northeast wall of the original 1884 house.[6]

During the life of Plenty Coups, it became an important meeting place for tribal members because of its size and because of the leadership position of its occupant. The home played host to locals as well as visiting dignitaries and those who sought out the renowned leader.[6]


Chief Plenty Coups' home is an L-shaped building constructed of logs.




See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "National Register Information System (NRIS)". National Park Service, United States Department of Interior. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  2. ^ "National Historic Landmarks Program, Chief Plenty Coups (Alek-Chea-Ahoosh) Home". National Park Service, United States Department of Interior. Retrieved 2007-09-02. 
  3. ^ "Chief Plenty Coups State Park". Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  4. ^ a b c Gildart, Bert (March/April 2004). "A Place of Peace: Chief Plenty Coups State Park commemorates the great Apsáalooke warrior and his legacy of harmony and goodwill". Montana Outdoors. Retrieved 2007-09-03.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ a b c d Holz, Molly (Spring 2000). "Chief Plenty Coups State Park". Montana: The Magazine of Western History. Retrieved 2007-09-03. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Simmons, R. Laurie (1998-06-04). "National Historic Landmark Nomination" (PDF). National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved 2007-09-06.  Unknown parameter |coauthors= ignored (|author= suggested) (help)
  7. ^ a b Hagengruber, James (2003-08-28). "Festivities will honor Plenty Coups, park". Billings Gazette.  Check date values in: |date= (help);

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoxie, Frederick E. (1995). Parading Through History: The Making of the Crow Nation in America, 1805-1935, New York, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521485227
  • Krieg, Frederick C. "Chief Plenty Coups: The Filial Dignity" Montana 16, October 1966.
  • Nabokov, Peter & Easton, Robert. (1989). Native American Architecture, New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195066654.
  • Plenty Coups & Linderman, F.B. (1930, reprint 1962, and 2002). Plenty-Coups: Chief of the Crows, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 9780803280182.
  • Wagner, Glendolin Damon & Allen, William A. (1933, reprint 1987). Blankets and Moccasins: Plenty Coups and Hist People the Crows, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 9780803297135.

External links[edit]

[[Category:Montana state parks]] [[Category:Registered Historic Places in Montana]]