Minnie Miller Farm Barn (Ritter Island State Park)
Hagerman Area, Gooding County
- Grant: 1995, 2015, 2020 – replacing roof shingles
Location: Thousand Springs, near Hagerman. Take Exit 155 (Wendell) off I-84. After exiting, take a right and drive for three miles. Take a left onto 1500 E. and drive for 2.5 miles, then turn right onto 3200 S. Take this road for two miles. You will see a sign at the end of the road. Turn left at the sign, followed by a quick right.
Ritter Island State Park is a picturesque portion of the larger Thousand Springs Preserve near Hagerman. The island was purchased in 1918 by Lee Charles Miller and gifted to his wife, Minnie, a successful businesswoman and entrepreneur in her own right. Among her other pursuits, Minnie was a big game hunter, traveler, and avid conservationist. She developed the island into a working dairy farm with the goal of breeding the finest herd of Guernsey cattle the world had ever seen, and the state-of-the-art farm was designed more for breeding than commercial dairy production. Her endeavor was so successful, the farm was featured in a 1944 issue of National Geographic, and her cattle were regularly written about in agriculture and popular magazines far and wide. She would also hold an annual ice cream social, drawing hundreds of neighbors, and would routinely host talks by naturalists and agriculturists. The property remained in the Ritter family until 1986 when it was purchased by the Nature Conservancy, and it was then passed to the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation. The original farmstead is still intact, including a two-story farmhouse, three small cottages, a sizeable barn, and several other farm buildings are open to the public and feature many historic implements and artifacts. The site still hosts an annual ice cream social in Minnie’s honor, as well as a yearly arts festival.