Friday, September 28, 2012

Sept. 28 – On this day in Montana history in 1909 President William Howard Taft visited Butte. During his parade though the Mining City, Taft remarked, “Your city has grown wonderfully. It is a real live city, and not altogether a mining camp.” When asked if he had any qualms about going down into one of the mine shafts, Taft said, “Do You think I’m made of sugar?”  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sept. 27 – On this day in Montana history in 1870 Henry Comstock shot himself in the head and died dead broke and alone in a shack near Bozeman. Ironically, his name is associated with the famous Comstock Lode in Nevada. Although he was part owner of a claim that others found silver on, he bragged so much about it that the whole area became known as the Comstock Lode. It yielded 400 million dollars in precious metals, but Comstock sold his share for $11,000 which he soon squandered away. His grave marker still stands near Bozeman.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Sept. 26 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 the first successful public flight in the state of Montana was made at the Montana State Fair Grounds in Helena. Pilot J.C. “Bud” Mars made two successful flights in his Curtiss plane. The flights dispelled skepticism of many who doubted it would be possible for a plane to take off at Helena’s altitude of 4,157 feet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sept. 25 – On this day in Montana history in 1963 President John F. Kennedy came to Billings and was greeted by 17,000 cheering people at the Midlands Empire fairgrounds. He spoke of many things, but most on his mind was the recently passed nuclear test ban treaty. “We now have a chance for a more secure existence,” he told the crowd. On the platform with Kennedy were Sens. Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf and Gov. Tim Babcock.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sept. 24 – On this day in Montana history in 1841 Father Pierre Jean DeSmet planted a cross on the banks of what is now the Bitterroot River in western Montana establishing the historic mission known as St. Mary’s of the Rockies. One can call it coincidence or divine providence, but DeSmet came to Montana from Council Bluffs on the Missouri River after meeting Native Americans from the Flathead country who were on their way to St. Louis to plead for a “black robe” to bring “powerful medicine” to their people. DeSmet went with them to St. Louis and convinced Catholic officials there to allow him to return with his new found friends.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sept. 21 – On this day in 1919 the son of President Theodore Roosevelt, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt, was greeted by a large crowd on a trip to Butte, which was embroiled by mining labor disputes with owners. The Butte Miner reported that the president’s son “minced” no words in urging labor and management to resolve their differences peacefully and not turn to “bolshevism.” “Riots and Disorder have no place in this country and peace and order must be restored before rights can be debated,” Roosevelt said.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sept. 20 – On this day in Montana history in 1942 quotas were established by the War Production Board in Helena for all Montana counties to save kitchen fat. Advertisements appeared across the state urging housewives to “Save Waste Fats for Explosives” for the World Was Two effort. It was said that 3 pounds of fat could provide enough glycerin to make a pound of gunpowder.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sept. 19 – On this day in Montana history in 1933 the Santa Rita oil pipeline began carrying most of the oil in the Cut Bank oil field to the rails near Cut Bank. The  Montana Oil and Mining Journal reported that the cost to producers to get oil to the market was cut from about 40 cents per barrel, which had been the cost to using trucks, to 28 cents per barrel using the new pipeline. The economy of the area was booming.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sept. 14 – On this day in Montana history in 1894 the Montana Colored Citizen newspaper reported that black man J.P. Ball Sr. had been nominated at the Republican county convention meeting in Helena for the position of coroner of Lewis and Clark County. “The disposition to ignore the colored citizens grows less and less as time rolls on, and the time is near at hand when he shall be accorded the full and just recognition to which he is entitled,” the paper said. Ironically, Ball said that his business interests would prevent him from accepting the nomination.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sept. 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1944 250 German prisoners of war were being used to help harvest sugar beets in the Hardin area. A work camp was set up on the fairgrounds with the U.S. Army providing the “fencing and armed guards.” 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sept. 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1907 a Great Northern Railroad Oriental Limited express car was held up and robbed near Rexford. Two men who were onboard the train climbed over the tender and forced the engineer to stop the train in the wilderness near Yaak. They blew up one of two safes in the car and reportedly netted about $40,000. George Frankhauser and Charles McDonald were eventually convicted of the crime, but not before escaping from the Lewis and Clark jail and eventually being recaptured.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sept. 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1969 Montana’s first and pioneering radiologist Dora Walker died in Great Falls. In 1918 she came to Great Falls and opened the Walker Laboratory “specializing in X-ray, chemistry and pathology.” She also was a leading cancer specialist and founder of a medical program for Cascade County’s poor.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sept. 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1884 headlines lit up with “The First Fires Started in That Mighty Structure” as the Anaconda Smelter – still a landmark visible for miles on the Interstate – was lit up for the first time. It was hailed as “the most important and extensive smelting enterprise yet known in connection with the mining history of Montana.” The plant manager said in ceremonies at the smelter the furnaces were lit “for the hope that they may never be extinguished.” It is historic evidence that nothing lasts forever.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sept. 7 – On this day in Montana history in 1904 the Havre Herald reported on the success of Labor Day events with 500 working men marching and dozens of floats in the parade. In its reports of major speeches given touting the need to organize labor, W. G. Conrad’s speech on the need to “fight against” the threat of “Orient labor” to American workers was said to have riled up the crowd. Some things never change, it seems.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sept. 6 – On this day in Montana history in 1923 the Absarokee Enterprise was touting tobacco as a major crop for Montana. J.W. Tucker of Worden, who had been a tobacco grower in Kentucky, said his experiments in growing tobacco in Montana over several years were successful, and produced “leaves equal to, if not superior, in quality to that grown anywhere else.” His neighbors in the Huntley irrigation project were following his experiments carefully.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sept. 5 – On this day in Montana history in 1927 famous aviator Charles “Lucky” Lindbergh landed in Butte and into a throng of fans anxious to greet a true American hero. Extra police and soldiers from Fort Missoula handled security and made sure the field was safe and clear for landing. Lindbergh spoke at a sold-out banquet in the evening and thrilled the crowd with stories of barnstorming in Montana in his early days with a lot of his old friends.