Friday, August 22, 2014

Aug. 22 – on this day in Montana history in 1874 the Madisonian newspaper in Virginia City offered some tips on how to deal with the heat under a headline “Modern Health Rules.” Perhaps with tongue in cheek one of the guidelines offered was: “Clothes prevent the escape of heat from the body; wear only a loose shirt and drawers.” One never sees photos of early day miners dressed like that – and it’s probably a good thing.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Aug. 21 – On this day in Montana history in 1884 an incident occurred that reminds us that domestic violence has long been a serious problem. A couple identified only as Mr. and Mrs. Westlake got into a family fight in Butte and Mrs. Westlake was knocked off a veranda suffering severe injuries. “Mr. Westlake, unfortunately, was not hurt,” the Weekly Herald reported. Later he tried to take his own life in jail. The headline called it “Domestic Discord.”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Aug. 20 – On this day in Montana history in 1905 Butte was mourning the deaths of 10 people and injuries to more than 20 others after a railroad freight car crashed into a crowded trolley returning from the Columbian Gardens amusement park. Butte reporters wrote that the trolley was crushed into kindling and that many of the faces of the dead could not be recognized. “Men cried out for members of their families from whom they had been separated and mothers begged piteously concerning their children.”

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Aug. 19 – On this day in Montana history in 1969 the first McDonald’s opened in Billings noting in an ad it was time to “stop building walls, and start building hamburgers.”  A & W Drive-in was fighting back offering a ham sandwich for 30 cents. Meanwhile actor Dustin Hoffman took time to take a photo on the set of “Little Big Man,” which was being shot in Virginia City and other Montana locations. A low flying plane had halted productions.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Aug. 18 – On this day in Montana history in 1920 the Silver State Deer Lodge newspaper had a story that portended one of the greatest presidencies in American history. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was the vice presidential candidate on the Democratic ticket, spoke at the Deer Lodge Valley Farmer’s Picnic. The paper noted that Roosevelt was applauded and praised by “all parties” and their voters. Roosevelt’s appeal to the “common man” would make him the nation’s only four term president. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Aug. 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1953 the first television station in Montana went on the air in Butte. Legendary television pioneer Ed Craney actually put on a test pattern on his KXLF at ten minutes before midnight on Aug. 14 but programming didn’t begin until the next day. The reason he hurried the opening of his station was that KOPR in Butte was in a race to become the first in the state. The Montana Historical Society has a new state-of-the-art studio funded by the Greater Montana Foundation named in honor of Ed Craney.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Aug. 14 – On this day in Montana history in 1908 the railroad town of Taft on the far western edge of the state was consumed in a fire of near biblical proportions. News accounts described the town this way: “Women of the underworld, gamblers etc. flocked to the mushroom railroad town, and it was soon a place of about 1,000 inhabitants.” The town was rebuilt but once again was leveled by fire in 1910.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Aug. 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1920 eastern Montana was “a buzz” with talk of “aerial mail service.” The Broadus Independent said “as a direct result of the activity of the Chamber of Commerce” that Broadus had been designated a station on the branch aerial mail route from Cheyenne, Wyo., all the way to Miles City. Air mail was the e-mail of its day.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Aug. 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1919 Missoula police announced a “Vag Roundup” to clear the city of “undesirables.” It was a repeat of a similar campaign from the previous year. Police Chief Moore said: “Missoula gained a reputation through hobo circles, as a poor place for loafing.” Those arrested and convicted of vagrancy were put to work on the city’s “wood pile.”     

Monday, August 11, 2014

Aug. 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1926 Montana, the rest of the Northwest U.S, and Canada were mourning the death of Col. James T. Stanford who died of pneumonia in Conrad while on a trip. At the time he was head of the powerful Conrad Banking Company of Great Falls and a statewide financial leader. Born in Nova Scotia in 1856, Stanford became a Canadian Mountie and played a pioneering role in the early development of the Canadian and U.S. Northwest. While still a Mountie, He came to Helena in 1875 as part of the inquiry into the Cypress Hills Massacre in which five Montana citizens were accused of killing 200 Cree Indians. He eventually settled in Montana.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Aug. 8 – On this day in 1920 K. Ross Toole, the father of the modern Montana Historical Society, was born in Missoula. In 1951 after graduating from UCLA Toole became director of the newly reorganized Montana Historical Society and put it on the national history map with among other things the acquisition of the Mackay collection of Charlie Russell artwork and the construction of the current home of the Society and its museum across from the Capitol. He wrote “Uncommon Land” and went on to become a professor at the University of Montana and a preeminent leader in Montana history.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Aug. 7 – On this day in 1958 the Missoula Timberjacks celebrated a 14 to 5 come from behind win in baseball against the Havana Cuban Giants in a game played in Kalispell. This was a good will tour before the days of the Cuban trade and travel sanctions and the two teams played the next night in Libby. It was not reported whether the Americans celebrated by lighting up any Cuban cigars.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Aug. 6 – On this day in Montana history in 1929 internationally known author Mary MacLane, whose “The Story of Mary MacLane” created a sensational stir with its then shocking account of morality and everyday life in the mining city of Butte, died. The book was translated into more than 30 languages and made MacLane into an international celebrity.