The Preservation of Ritter Island
Interview and Photos by Michael Vogt
On a visit to Ritter Island, Michael Vogt created a photographic portfolio and recorded an interview with Daisy Welch, a knowledgeable volunteer for Thousand Springs State Park, to which Ritter Island belongs. Following is a transcript of Daisy’s story about the site:
In 1914, a real estate couple from Salt Lake City, Lee and Minnie Miller, received this property for back taxes and back payment.
Minnie Miller, who was forty-seven, took one look at the property and she said, “That’s where I want to raise my prize show cattle.” Her husband thought it was kind of a nutty idea, but he deeded the property over to her.
She started putting up all these buildings you see here. She imported her breeding stock from the Isle of Guernsey in the British Isles, and the foundation cows grazed right there. She did a breeding program—she was a member of Guernsey Breeding Association and the Idaho Dairy Association —and she built up this whole property. If you visit the barn, you’ll see what was state-of-the-art in the 1920s. It now looks a little old school to us.