John's Journal...

Learn the History of Your Property to Increase the Value of Your Land

The Buffalo Jump

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: Every property bought and sold today has a history. Who were the people who lived on the land before it was sold? What were their occupations? What role did they play in the history of the area, the state or the nation? If you know the history of the people and the land, the value of the property is worth far more than the dirt, the timber, the wildlife and the scenery on it today.

Once while hunting in the West at the foot of a great canyon, I noticed a point of land that came out from the canyon wall. Below that point, there was a hump and what appeared to be some type of white outcropping. When I asked my guide, “What’s tClick to enlargehat hump up there at the base of the canyon?” The guide, with his big cowboy hat, turned and asked, “Have you never seen a buffalo jump before?” I smiled and said, “I don’t guess so. There’s not many buffalo in the South, where I live. What’s a buffalo jump?”

“During the days before anyone else came to the West, there were numbers of Indians and buffalos living on this land,” the guide explained. “The buffalo fed on the plains above the rim of the canyon. Often, when the Indians needed meat, they’d surround the buffalo and drive them, just like you’d drive cattle. The buffalo ran as hard as they could. The Indians would narrow down the herd and funnel the stampeding buffalo to that peninsula of land that juts out from the canyon wall. The buffalo wasn’t a smart animal. The buffalo would run off the buffalo jump and fall to the canyon below, killing themselves instantly. This way, the Indians could kill enough buffalo to provide meat for the tribe aClick to enlargelmost all winter without ever having to fire an arrow. Too, all the buffalo would be in one place, and the entire tribe participated in skinning the buffalo, cutting up the meat and drying it. Even today, we still find old buffalo skulls and bones here. I’m sure this buffalo jump was used for many years.”

After we came out of the canyon, I saw an abandoned town and asked about it. My guide told me the history of the town and the people who once lived there. He wasn’t sure why they left, why the buildings had been abandoned, or why there was no recorded history of the old town. “I intend to look up the history of that old town one day, when I don’t have anything else to do,” the guide said. “I’m sure if those walls could talk, they’d tell tales of coClick to enlargewboys, settlers, lawmen and life in the 1800s.”

Investors buying or selling land should spend the time and/or the money to learn the history of the land and the people who once lived there. Most families know their roots. They can tell you where their ancestors came from, and the presidents and the horse thieves that have contributed to their heritage. Having family roots is very important and holds value for every member of a family.

Land has roots, too. It has a history before recorded time and a history of when the property was bought and sold. Many parcels have a long history involving brave men and women, outlaws, soldiers, wagon trains and all that makes this country great. Learning the history of the land can add value to the land whether you’re buying or selling it. When you’re considering a piece of property, look a little deeper, and uncover the land’s history and you may find a buffalo jump or maybe a train full of gold.


Check back each day this week for more about "Learn the History of Your Property to Increase the Value of Your Land"

Day 1: When Forest-Recreation Lands Are Worth More
Day 2: When Bricks Are More than Bricks
Day 3: The Old Barbed Wire
Day 4: Millions in Gold and Artifacts
Day 5: The Buffalo Jump



Entry 427, Day 5