Guide to the Oscar A. Baarson Papers
1916-1958

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Baarson, Oscar A., 1889-1971
Title: Oscar A. Baarson Papers
Dates: 1916-1958 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1.5 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number: MC 238
Summary: Oscar Baarson was assistant superintendant of the Anaconda Company's East Helena, Montana, plant; Helena City Engineer; district manager for the U.S. War Production Board during World War II, engineer for the State Examiners Office and Lewis and Clark County surveyor. This collection consists of Oscar Baarson's files (1925-1950) concerning his work with the Anaconda Company, the City of Helena, and the State Examiners Office; and a small group of personal papers relating to Baarson's family, private engineering business, and Masonic activities. [Baarson's War Production Board materials are contained in Manuscript Collection 239.]
Repository: Montana Historical Society Archives

225 N. Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT 59620-1201
(406) 444-4774
mhslibrary@mt.gov

Languages: English 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

Oscar A. Baarson was born in Madison, South Dakota, on November 16, 1889, the son of Bars Christian Baarson. He served for a time as assistant to the North Dakota State Geologist doing field surveys, and worked for the Homestake Gold Mining Company in Lead, South Dakota. In 1917 he graduated from the University of North Dakota School of Mines, and then went to work for the Cerro de Pasco Mining Company in Peru, and the following year for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company's Chuquicamata Mine in Chile. In 1922 Baarson began teaching high school science in Idaho. He then took graduate work at the University of Washington. After completing his graduate work he returned to Idaho as a teacher at Burley and then as superintendent of schools in Roberts. In 1928 Baarson moved to Great Falls, Montana, to work for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company, first at their Great Falls Refinery and then as assistant superintendent of the East Helena Slag Treatment Plant. From 1931 to 1933 he worked as a private mining engineer, and then in 1933 as a bridge inspector for the State Highway Commission. In 1935 he was hired as Helena City Engineer. One of his first tasks as city engineer was surveying earthquake damage from the 1935 Helena earthquakes. He worked for the city until the start of World War II, when he was hired as district manager for the U.S. War Production Board. After the war he resumed his private mine engineering business, until 1953 when he became Assistant State Engineer for the State Board of Examiners. In this position he evaluated the engineering plans for state buildings. During the 1960s Baarson served as deputy appraiser in the Lewis and Clark County Assessor's Office, and then as County Surveyor. Oscar Baarson was married to Camilla Walton and had five children: Robert, William, Barbara, Mary, and Beverly. He was active in the Episcopal Church, the Eagles Lodge, and the Morning Star Lodge of the Masons. Oscar Baarson died November 29, 1971 in Helena.

Content Description

This collection consists primarily of papers reflecting Oscar Baarson's work as a mining and civil engineer. Included are records (1928-1929) from his work for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company's East Helena Slag Treatment Plant; records (1933) from his work on the Sun River Bridge for the State Highway Commission; records (1935-1941) on his work as Helena City Engineer, including files on the Helena earthquakes of 1935, water system improvements, and street resurfacing; records (1949-1954) of his work checking construction plans for Montana state government buildings, including a renovation of the Montana State Capitol Building; and records (1955-1958) of his mine surveying work on the Valley View Group of mines near Townsend for Geominerals Corporation. There is also a small amount of family correspondence, and files concerning his teaching career in Idaho; the Masonic order; his work at Chuquicamata, Chile; and private surveying work. [Records of his work for the U.S. War Production Board are included in Manuscript Collection 239. Printed materials, photographs, and maps have been transferred to the Library, Photograph Archives, and Library Map Collection respectively.]

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

by subgroup and series

Acquisition Information :  Acquisition Information:

available upon request


Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Oscar A. Baarson
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Biographical Material
Box/Folder
1 / 1 "Brief outline of qualifications and experience of Oscar A. Baarson as mining and metallurgical engineer" c.1955
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
1 / 2 Barbara Baarson, Don Baarson [nephew], and Mary Baarson 1940, 1945
1 / 3 Robert E. Baarson 1940-1953
1 / 4 William E. Baarson 1942-1953
1 / 5 J.J. La Buff (re Ralph G. Cushman mining properties) 1958
1 / 6 McIver and Associates, Architects (re employment) 1948-1951
1 / 7 William H. Thompson (re proposed sale of Montana mining property by Oscar Baarson and William M. Manning) 1936
1 / 8 Miscellaneous 1917-1952
Financial Records
Box/Folder
1 / 9 Bills and house pattern (re construction and furnishing of Baarson home at 600 Hauser Boulevard, Helena) 1934-1940
1 / 10 Bills (re services as surveyor) 1934-1939
1 / 11 Income tax 1941, 1947
1 / 12 Miscellaneous 1927-1941
Subject File
Box/Folder
1 / 13 Broadwater County High School bid proposal 1941
1 / 14 East Helena platting c.1936
1 / 15 Helena High School contract with Cushing and Terrell, Architects 1954-1955
1 / 16 Helena water system proposed improvements 1951
1 / 17 High school chemistry essays by Baarson's students at Burley, Idaho c.1924
1 / 18 Idaho school teaching and superintendency 1922-1927
1 / 19 Masonic order; Knights Templar 1917-1954
1 / 20 Missouri-Souris Project 1948-1950
1 / 21 Proposed Hauser Paving District 1952
1 / 22 Townsend sewer system and pump house bid proposal 1940-1941
1 / 23 Work at Chuquicamata Plant in Chile 1918
Miscellany
Box/Folder
1 / 24 J.A. Brown will 1940
1 / 25 Greeting cards
1 / 26 Humor
1 / 27 Math notes
1 / 28 Organizational diagram of boy scout troop n.d.
1 / 29 Ration books 1945
1 / 30 Suggestive guide for self-appraisal in art n.d.
1 / 31 Miscellaneous (includes membership cards, programs, postcards, certificates, etc.) 1916-1956

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Montana State Highway Commission Bridge Inspector
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Outgoing Correspondence
Box/Folder
1 / 32 Miscellaneous Sept.-Nov. 1933
Subject File
Box/Folder
1 / 33 Sun River Bridge construction 1933
Miscellany
Box/Folder
1 / 34 Drafting room procedures n.d.

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Anaconda Copper Mining Company. East Helena Slag Treatment Plant
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Interoffice Correspondence
Box/Folder
2 / 1 Miscellaneous 1927-1931
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
2 / 2 Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company of Canada, Ltd. 1928-1929
2 / 3 Miscellaneous 1928-1930
Financial Records
Box/Folder
2 / 4 Construction costs 1928
2 / 5 Cost data [daily] 1928
2 / 6 Cost data [weekly] 1928
Production Records
Box/Folder
2 / 7-8 Analyses 1928-1929
2 / 9 Chemical analysis of slag 1927-1928
2 / 10 Coal comparisons for Utah and Montana coal 1928-1929
2 / 11 Foreman's report 1929
2 / 12-13 Furnace operation 1928-1929
2 / 14 Furnace tests 1928-1929
2 / 15 Scaleman's report 1929
2 / 16 Shipments of product [scattered] 1928
2 / 17 Slag treatment reports 1928-1929
2 / 18 Superintendent's weekly reports [scattered] 1927-1929
2 / 19 Miscellaneous 1927-1929
Reports
Box/Folder
2 / 20 "Fuming Treatment of Lead Blast Furnace Slags for Recovery of Zinc", by E.M. Baldwin (includes history and description of East Helena Slag Treatment Plant) c.1944
2 / 21 "The Recovery of Zinc from Lead Blast-Furnace Slags", by Guy Courtney 1920
Miscellany
Box/Folder
2 / 22 List of operating employees Dec. 1929
2 / 23 Technical notes on mining, chemistry, etc. n.d.

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Helena City Engineer
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Interoffice Correspondence
Box/Folder
3 / 1 Directives from Helena City Council 1931-1939
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
3 / 2 Miscellaneous 1935-1940
Financial Records
Box/Folder
3 / 3 Report of the financial condition of the City of Helena 1936
Subject File
Box/Folder
3 / 4 Helena earthquake (includes report by Board of Fire Underwriters of the Pacific; list of properties for which waivers had been signed; lawsuit involving Trerise house) 1935-1939
3 / 5 Helena Housing Authority project (re construction of Stuart Homes) 1939
3 / 6 Helena street resurfacing 1936-1940
3 / 7 Helena surveying 1934-1939
3 / 8 Helena tennis court paving 1935-1936
3 / 9 Helena water quality (includes "Report of mineral analyses of the various Helena City water supplies" by W.F. Cogswell, 1930) 1930-1939
3 / 10 Helena water system improvements and rate study 1935-1939
3 / 11 Helena Waterworks Company (includes brochures; briefs of Oscar Carlson vs. City of Helena; reports on water sources, and notes) 1910-1911
Miscellany
Box/Folder
3 / 12 Engineers' License Law [proposed] c.1937
3 / 13 List of City of Helena maps by C.W. Helmick n.d.
3 / 14 Montana State College (Bozeman) School for Water Works Operators lecture outlines, etc. c.1936
3 / 15 Property assessments on C & D Placer Claim lots (Front Street) 1936
3 / 16 "Working rules for gas installations" n.d.

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Montana State Board of Examiners
Container(s)
Description
Dates
Subject File
Box/Folder
3 / 17 Oscar Baarson personal 1950-1953
3 / 18 School and institution building construction allotment of architectural contracts 1948-1954
3 / 19 State Capitol Building renovation 1954
3 / 20 State Capitol Building renovation bid and specifications 1954
3 / 21 Statewide construction projects 1949-1954
3 / 22 Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building construction (re Montana Historical Society's building) 1951

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Geominerals Corporation
Container(s)
Description
Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
4 / 1 Tschirn Exploration Company; Geominerals Corporation (re Valley View Mines, Townsend) 1955-1957
Assay Reports
Box/Folder
4 / 2 Valley View Mining Claims, Townsend (Tschirn Exploration Company) 1956-1957
Court Papers
Box/Folder
4 / 3 Oscar Baarson vs. Geominerals Corporation and Warren Schreiner 1957-1958
Legal Documents
Box/Folder
4 / 4 Mining claims: Park and Hassell mining districts, Broadwater County 1955-1956
Subject File
Box/Folder
4 / 5 Valley View Group tunnel proposal (Tschirn Exploration Company) 1955-1956

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Subjects

  • Bridges--Design and construction
  • Bridges--Montana
  • Broadwater County (Mont.)
  • Capitols--Montana
  • Chuquicamata Mine (Chile)
  • Earthquakes--Montana--Helena
  • East Helena (Mont.)
  • Freemasons. Grand Lodge Of Montana
  • Helena (Mont.). City Engineer
  • Helena (Mont.)--Earthquake, 1935
  • Municipal water supply--Montana--Helena
  • School buildings--Design and construction--Montana
  • Smelters--Montana--East Helena
  • Surveyors--Montana
  • Teachers--Montana
  • Valley View Mines (Broadwater County, Mont.)
  • Veterans and Pioneers Memorial Building (Helena, Mont.)
  • Water quality--Montana

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