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Touchet Valley

Once the hilly terrain south of Dayton was covered with bunchgrass, but with the discovery that heavy yields of wheat and barley could be grown on these benchlands, all but the steepest hillsides were put under cultivation. Soon both wind and water erosion began to take their toll. Deep gullies began to appear, and during the spring freshets every little rivulet carried away part of the fine top soil. Most farmers, eventually adopted farming techniques that reduced the amount of soil loss due to erosion. Discing, which mixes stubble with the soil, supplemented plowing; strip farming reduced wind erosion; contour cultivation slowed up drainage and conserved both soil and water. Gully erosion was checked by planting grass, alfalfa, and clover on vulnerable slopes; these crops either were used for forage or plowed under to add humus to the soil. Steep slopes and possible water courses were not cultivated.

Points of Interest Points of Interest icon

Robert Angell Barn

Angell was a prosperous wheat farmer whose correspondence with his family in Missouri discusses the house and two barns he built on the site in 1887.

Old Starr Barn

An early post-and-beam barn constructed with wooden pegs. It has a Monitor roof and stone foundation.

Phillip Heinen Barn

This barn has been in continuous use since it was built in 1908 to house horses and dairy cows. It remains in the Heinen family.