Dec. 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1965 Montana rodeo star and rodeo producer Oral Zumwalt was one of eight people honored as the first inductees into the Rodeo Hall of Fame at the Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. Zumwalt lived for many years in the Wolf Creek and Augusta area and later moved to Missoula where he headquartered his rodeo production company.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Dec. 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1900 the Billings Gazette had a story that proves entrepreneurs are nothing new. Under a headline “Competition in Popcorn Selling,” it reported that two brothers age six and seven had talked their mother into popping corn for them that they would sell on the streets after school. Things went great for awhile, but as with all new business ideas competition soon set in with other young boys copying them. “The business is so overdone now that hardly any of them are making enough to pay for their trouble,” the paper said.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Dec. 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1934 chemist Harold Clayton Urey was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of heavy hydrogen. He is the only University of Montana graduate to ever receive the prestigious honor. During WWII Urey went on to head a team of scientists researching heavy water and other elements for the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. Most importantly his team found a way to separate uranium 235 from uranium 238.
Monday, December 9, 2013
Dec. 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1866 legendary cattleman Nelson Story arrived in Virginia City with supply wagons for the booming mining town. Story had made it up the “bloody” Bozeman Trail with a herd of Texas cattle and the wagons. He had left the cattle that were to stock his new ranch at what was then Bozeman City. He lost only one man as he fought his way up the trail against Red Cloud’s Sioux warriors.
Friday, December 6, 2013
Dec. 6 – On this day in Montana history in 1878 the first woman ever incarcerated in the Montana Penitentiary, Felicite Sanchez of Deer Lodge, was getting used to her new surroundings and starting a three-year sentence for manslaughter. As officers delivered her to the pen, Sanchez “put her feet on the stove and proceeded to roll a cigarette, which she fabricated with great skill and smoked with manifest enjoyment.”
Thursday, December 5, 2013
“Dec. 5 – On this day in Montana history in 1908 the Little Rockies Miner in Zortman, Choteau County, had a front page headline proclaiming “The Home of Divorce.” In a strangely competitive lead, the paper took issue with South Dakota claiming to be the national leader in divorce rates. “Statistics recently made public by the Department of Commerce and Labor show that, instead of South Dakota being the whole thing in the matter of divorces, Montana is holder of the belt and is in a class by herself.” South Dakota’s rate was 95 per 100,000 and Montana’s was 167 per 100,000. It’s more difficult to determine who was the real winner, socially speaking.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Dec. 4 – On this day in Montana history in 1931 the Circle Banner carried a story had been heard all the way from Butte: “Drys Plan Long Stay in Butte.” It reported that the Mining City’s bootleggers had been “startled” that federal prohibition agents were going to be quartered in the community for the winter. Agents were using crowbars to break locks and barricades set up in speakeasies. Feds were quoted as saying they had never seen a town so wide open and licensed by a city as “soft drink parlors.”