The Round Barn at Twin Bridges was built in 1882 by Noah Armstrong. He built the barn for the Doncaster Stable and Stud Farm using wealth from his work in gold, copper and silver mining. At the time, it had three floors, an automatic windmill‐driven water system, feeding chutes, an indoor track, and stalls for 24 thoroughbreds opening directly out to their individual paddocks.
Armstrong’s horse Lord Raglan took third place in the 1883 Kentucky Derby, and Spokane, born in the Round Barn, won the 1889 Kentucky Derby. Spokane’s record setting time for the 1 ½ mile Derby still stands as the race was shortened to 1 ¼ mile in 1896. Beyond Spokane, the Kentucky Derby has another connection to the Jefferson Valley. Colonel Meriweather Lewis Clark, Jr. established the Kentucky Derby in 1875. It was his grandfather, William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition, who had named the river the Jefferson. Click here for an article about Lewis and Clark in the valley which includes a photograph of Twin Bridges’ statue of Sacagawea. To learn more about Noah Armstrong and Spokane, please click here.
In 1933, the Doncaster Ranch and its Round Barn were bought by the Bayers family of Montana. They brought their purebred Hereford cattle and bulls to the Jefferson Valley. Auctions at the Round Barn sold their cattle into 38 states and even to Hungary and Africa over the course of 50 years.