Bob Van Gieson and Helen Van Gieson Interview, June 11, 2007


Suzanne M. Vernon



Download Audio Interview (151.1 MB)

Download Transcript of Bob and Helen Van Gieson Interview (398 KB)


Bob Van Gieson and Helen Van Gieson describe their life together in Swan Valley, Montana, where they moved after marrying in 1944 on a New Mexico Air Force base. Bob discusses how he served in World War Two, then went on to pursue a career in forestry and was appointed the district ranger of Condon, Montana, in 1955. He recalls the details of his work with the U.S. Forest Service, such as building roads, logging, maintaining fire lookouts, and performing search and rescue operations. Bob reminisces about how this work connected him to a variety of interesting people in Swan Valley. He tells numerous stories about prominent residents of the area, such as the Stroms and Shorty Koessler. Bob and Helen both offer insight into the operations of the Forest Service in Swan Valley, from its general role to its day-to-day workings.


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Document Type

Oral History


Swan Valley, Montana; Condon, Montana; Forest rangers, Montana; U.S. Forest Service; World War, 1939-1945; Strom family, Montana; Shorty Koessler, Montana; Fire lookouts; Road building; Logging, Montana

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Upper Swan Valley Oral History Project, OH 422, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 422-197, 198

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

2 sound cassettes (02:00:00 min.) analog + 1 transcript (31 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

02:03:27 minutes

Local Filename

OH_422_197_198.mp3; OH_422_197_198.pdf

Bob Van Gieson and Helen Van Gieson Interview, June 11, 2007