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Monday, October 31, 2016

Oct. 31 – On this day in Montana history in 1942 future Baseball Hall of Fame member Dave McNally was born in Billings. As a senior at Billings Central in 1960 he pitched five no-hitters and later signed a contract to pitch for the Baltimore Orioles.  

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Oct. 30 -- Oct. 30 – On this day in Montana history in 1864 Helena held its first town meeting in the cabin of Capt. George Wood. The first job they ordered done was to survey and lay out streets, and plot building sites into thirty-by-sixty foot lots and record them. The start of the Capitol City.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Oct. 29 – On this day in Montana History in 1877 wagon trains carrying Nez Perce prisoners captured at the Battle of the Bears Paws Mountains left from Miles City headed for internment at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Oct. 28 – On this day in Montana history in 1942 B-17 flying fortresses roared over Lewiston’s Main Street with their bomb bay doors open and landed at the Lewistown airfield. They were the first of many that came to bases on the high line to train on the then highly secret Norden bombsight. More than half the men trained there later died in bombing raids over Europe.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Oct. 27 – On this day in Montana history in 1913 Joe Medicine Crow was born on the Crow reservation near Lodge Grass. He went on to be a Crow historian, author, lecturer, WWII war hero and leader of his people and great example for all Montanans.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Oct. 26 –On this day in Montana history in 1956 the Montana Highway Commission began its first federally funded Interstate Highway project. It was a 9.64 mile project on U.S. 87 between Wyola and Lodge Grass. “We have started the ball rolling.” Highway Commissioner Frank Connelly said.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Oct. 25 -- On this day in Montana history in 1945 Vice Admiral John Hoover attended the Navy Day Luncheon in Great Falls. The Great Falls High School grad received the Navy Cross for his service in World War One and served as deputy commander in chief of the Pacific fleet in WWII.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Oct. 24 -- On this day in Montana history in 1926 Cowboy Artist Charles M. Russell died at his Great Falls home.  He was mourned across Montana and the nation. The Great Falls Tribune said “Genius whose brush portrayed the colorful life of Montana’s early days, lays down his palette to answer great call.”

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Oct. 23 -- Oct. 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1844 Louis Riel was born in a Canadian M├ętis Indian colony. He was exiled from Canada after leading two unsuccessful rebellions. His happiest years were spent in Montana where he worked for the rights of his people here.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Oct. 22 -- Oct. 22 – On this day in Montana history in 1903 Judge William Clancy enjoined the company from doing business “branding” them an outlaw.  Amalgamated said it would shut down Montana operations costing 15,000 workers their jobs. Butte was in crisis.

Friday, October 21, 2016

  Oct. 21 – On this day in Montana history in 1925 a major sugar mill was opened before a large crowd in Chinook  Sugar beets were a major crop in Montana for many years until other sources and methods proved cheaper for production of sugar.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Oct. 20 – On this day in Montana history in 1864 Territorial Gov. Sidney Edgerton issued an ominous warning to the criminals that were terrorizing citizens. The order requested that law abiding citizens “assemble for the purpose of forming themselves into militia companies subject to my orders.” 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Oct. 19 – On this day in Montana history in 1947 what was called “The greatest sports crowd in state history” estimated at 11,000 saw the Montana State Bobcats beat the Montana Grizzlies 13 to 12. Special trains brought fans from all over the state to Butte for the game.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oct. 18 – On this day in Montana history in 1935 Helena was rocked by a major earthquake that struck at 9:52 p.m. and lasted for more than 10 seconds. One person was killed and many injured and millions of dollars of damage were left in its wake.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Oct. 17 – On this day in Montana history in 1938 famous motorcycle jumper and daredevil Evel Knievel was born in Butte. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Oct. 16 – On this day in Montana history in 1919 it was announced that Jordan was going to be “connected to the outside world by wireless telegraph.” It took a while for the news to get to one of the most remote towns in Montana. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Oct, 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1891 a Helena detective asked a startling question of what was thought to be a man arrested for a series of hold-ups, shootings and assaults “Why, you are a woman!” and got the response “Well it took you a good while to find that out!” Tough guy “ Bertie

Miller” was actually cross-dressing Miss Helen Forslund.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Oct. 14 -- On this day in Montana history in 1915 the Scientific American finally acknowledged that the first identified Tyrannosaurus was discovered in 1908 on Big Dry Creek near Wibaux by B.M. Wills. The publication said the find was 17 feet in length and 18 ½ feet tall.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Oct. 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1903 frontier justice was still alive, Well-armed men stormed the county jail in Hamilton near midnight, removed Walter Jackson from his cell, and hung him on a lamp pole. Jackson was believed to have murdered six-year-old child.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Oct. 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1964 thousands of Montanans turned out in Butte to greet President Lyndon Johnson who was on a whirlwind campaign trip through the West. He was facing Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater for president.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Oct. 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1902 Booth’s grocery in Butte was experimenting with a new way of marketing goods. It offered “freight prepaid to Basin” for those ordering goods from their store. Little did they know Amazon and others like them would follow in their footsteps.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oct. 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1958 Phil Chatlain returned to his home town of Dupuyer after spending 7 years in Alaska. It was a simpler time. A local posting said he would be showing interesting pictures of what he had seen “at the school some morning next week.”

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Oct 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1870 Truman Everts was rescued by mountain men John Baronett and George Pritchett after spending 37 days lost in the then wilderness of what is now Yellowstone National Park. He had gotten separated from the Washburn-Doane Expedition that was one of the first organized groups to explore Yellowstone country.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Oct. 8 – On this day in Montana history in 1942 the federal War Production Board ordered that 4,000 gold mine workers would be ordered into mining operations  more crucial to needs of fighting WWII. Montana was among the states most affected by the order.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Oct. 7 – On this day in history in 1918 a Montana grain grower reported he had trashed an average on “a little better” that 30 bushels of wheat to an acre using a newly imported Polish wheat variety. The kernels were described as unusually large and plump.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Oct. 6 – On this day in Montana history in 1921 newspapers were reporting that a Miles City Councilman and a Miles City saloon owner had been captured after a wild car chase trying to smuggle bonded whiskey worth $2,500 into Montana.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Oct. 5 – On this day in Montana history in 1877 a dramatic attempt that began in Oregon by Chief
Joseph and his band of Nez Perce to outrun the U.S. Army and escape to Canada came to a tragic end at the Battle of the Bear Paw Mountains in northern Montana.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Oct. 4 – On this day in Montana history in 1902 the ugly side of Montana history came into play when the Great Northern Railroad reported that 300 Greeks had been hired to work on the hi-line to replace “the Japs whose employment has not been a success here.”    The “little brown men” were expected to be gone by Spring.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Oct. 3 – On this day in Montana history in 1903 a vein of a rare mineral called molybdenite was found near Dillon. It was said to be worth $2 a pound and was used in hardening steel.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Oct. 2 – On this day in Montana history in 1918 Montanans were mourning the death of pioneer legend Granville Stuart. He headed the Montana Vigilantes and was involved in most of the major events in early Montana history including the founding of the Montana Historical Society.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Oct. 1 – On this day in Montana history in 1907 at the Helena Fair Grounds Montanans had an early glimpse of what today is the multi-million-dollar auto racing industry. A driver identified only as Van Lune in his “White Bullet” auto had an accident. Fallonsbee won the five mile race in a time of 5 minutes and 30 seconds.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Sept. 30 -- On this day in Montana history in 1911 young aviator Cromwell Dixon in a Curtiss biplane crossed the main range of the Rocky Mountains for the first time in history. He had left from the fairgrounds in Helena.  

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Sept. 29 – On this day in Montana history in Sept. 29 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 the first public performance of what became Montana’s official state song, “Montana,” took place at the Helena Theatre. The song was written by Joseph Howard. The Black Eagle Band of Great Falls was in town to perform at the State Fair, and Howard enlisted the band to perform it in its public debut.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Sept. 28 -- On this day in Montana history in 1954 former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at the Helena Civic Center. She delivered a passionate speech on the importance of the United Nations and her hope for world peace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Sept. 27 – On this day in Montana history in 1943 central Montana radio KFBB Radio channel 1310 listeners were got to see the voices behind the radio shows they listened to every day. The station took out ads with the photos of more than 100 radio personalities like Cecil B. DeMills and his Lux Radio Theatre at 7 p.m. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

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 Curtis plane.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sept. 25 – On this day in Montana history in 1886 the first horse drawn street cars made their appearance on Helena’s streets. The event was celebrated with much pomp and circumstance as what would become the state Capital City was growing up. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sept. 24 -- 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 where he established the historic St. Mary’s Mission. This is the 175th anniversary of the mission, and the Montana Historical Society is helping celebrate it. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Sept. 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1954 President Dwight David Eisenhower was in Montana on a three-day airplane tour of the West. More than 30,000 people gathered when he dedicated the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Fire Depot near Missoula.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sept. 22 – On this day in Montana history in 1927 Sim Roberts died of a heart attack in a Butte hotel. Sims came to Montana in 1878 and quickly earned a reputation as a crack shot, rustler and suspected murderer. Ironically at the end of his life, he had changed his ways and was serving as a deputy U.S. marshal and was in Butte to investigate sock fraud.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sept. 21 – On this day in Montana history in 1911 land in the “Yahk” Valley was being classified and broken into subdivision for homestead units. The effort was being made to include forested lands as agriculture units for homesteaders to claim.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Sept. 19 – On this day in Montana history in 1944 the historic Reau Chalet in Butte was in smoldering ruins. Fire destroyed the rustic building and magnificent landscaping of the chalet that had hosted countless social events and housed many dignitaries visiting Montana since it was built in 1885.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sept. 18 -- Sept. 18 – On this day in Montana history in 1955 the death of Maggie Smith Hathaway, who was one of Montana’s first two women legislators, was reported in Montana. She died in Tacoma, Wash. As a representative from Ravalli County she elected to the Legislature in 1916 and served two more terms.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sept. 17 – On this day in Montana history in 1881 dare devil Paul Boyton thrilled a large crowd of Montanans gathered along the Yellowstone River when he donned his inflatable Indian rubber suit and floated off down the river. Boyton was known as “The Incredible Floating Man.”

Friday, September 16, 2016

Sept. 16 – On this day in Montana history in 1923 the national Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan chartered The Invisible Realm of Montana. The KKK thrived in Montana during the 1920s largely because of fears created in the state that was already in depression and suffering a dwindling job market.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Sept. 15 -- Sept. 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 The Newspaper of Chester published what it called the “Ten New Dry Landers’ Commandments” on its front page.  Among them was “thou shalt plow deep,” “thou shalt summer fallow when rainfall is less than 15 inches,” “thou shalt add organic matter to the soil.” The list ended with “he who obeys these commandments shall reap abundant crops.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sept. 14 – On this day in Montana history in 1918 The Butte Miner reported that 40 members of the IWW labor union had been taken from their premises in the middle of the night and thrown into jail. The raids were said to be intended to head off a major strike of miners.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sept. 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1925 Lake County Sheriff W.R. Kelly reported that a gypsy caravan riding in 5 automobiles instead of horse drawn wagons as had been used before had taken $104 from a Ronan restaurant owner. The sheriff said he headed off the caravan and was able to retrieve the money.

Monday, September 12, 2016

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. The robbers netted about $40,000.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sept. 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1919 President Woodrow Wilson was greeted by 2,000 people as he made a special trains stop on his tour of major Montana cities in support of his proposed peace treaty to end World War One. It included U.S. membership in the proposed League of Nations. The Senate eventually voted down Wilson’s plan.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Sept. 10 -- Sept. 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1884 the Anaconda smelter was lit up for the first time. It stack remains a landmark visible for miles on the Interstate. The plant manager said in ceremonies at the smelter that he hoped “that they may never be extinguished.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sept. 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1967 another chapter in the story of the Battle of the Little Big Horn was written when Major Marcus Reno was reburied at the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery near Hardin. He died in 1889 in disgrace -- partially for his then viewed failure to support Custer in the battle. He had been buried in an unmarked grave in Glenwood Cemetery in Washington, D.C. 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Sept. 8 – On this day in Montana history in 1908 “Automatic Telephones” were being installed in places across Montana. The phones “render it impossible for anyone but the party you are talking to, to hear what you are saying” advertisements for the service claimed. Sounds like the more things change the more they stay the same.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Sept. 7 – 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.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Sept. 6 -- On this day in Montana history in 1923 J.W. Tucker of Worden, who had been a tobacco grower in Kentucky before moving to Montana, 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.” 

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sept. 5 – On this day in Montana history in 1959 Edward Kennedy hitched a ride on a friend’s airplane to Havre where Democrats were going to select 20 delegates for the Democratic Convention. He had been assigned by the national party to organize campaigns in 11 western states including Montana. He went on to become the longest serving majority leader in the U.S. Senate.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sept. 4 – On this day in Montana history in 1955 Brian Schweitzer who was to become Montana’s 23 governor was born in Havre.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Sept, 3 – On this day in Montana history in 1884 the newly renamed “College of Montana” held its first classes in Deer Lodge. Tuition for five months was $25 and “board, washing, fuel, lights” were $6 a week.  It was supported by Copper King W.A. Clark and had the first school of mines in the state.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sept. 2 – On this day in Montana history in 1866 county officials in Montana Territory were gearing up for the first statewide election that had been called for by Acting Territorial Gov. Thomas Francis Meagher the year before. Elections were to be held on the first Monday of September each year.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sept. 1 – On this day in Montana history in 1942 E.J. Keeley, executive secretary of the conservation division of the War Production Board announced in Helena that women on the home front could help the WWII war effort if they were blondes or redheads. The Washington Institute of Technology needed their hair for use in bombsites. It had to be at least 22 inches long – and “no peroxide or henna.” 

Thursday, June 30, 2016

June 30 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 newspapers proudly announced that “Montana formally added another natural wonder to its manifold vacationland attractions.” It was reported that hundreds of people attended the dedication ceremony hosted by Gov. Sam Ford.  The park is now known as Lewis and Clark Caverns near Three Forks. It was the first official Montana State Park. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

June 29 – On this date in Montana history in 1936 state Public Works Administration Director V. H. Walsh reported that 51 projects costing $6.7 million had been completed in Montana since the federal program was begun in 1933. He said 17 more projects costing $3.4 million were underway, and announced new plans for a new Bozeman high school, Livingston irrigation ditch, Billings drainage system, Park County Irrigation canal, and a Flint Creek water conservation project.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

June 28 – On this date in Montana history in 1982 a terrible hail storm with grapefruit-sized hail stones ripped apart the Capitol City of Helena. Insurance adjusters were called in from across the nation to deal with the thousands of insurance claims. Millions of dollars in damages resulted in the region -- from dented and windowless autos, to 35 heavily damaged National Guard helicopters, to crop damage. Roofer’s nails were still causing flat tires months later as nearly all roofs had to be repaired.  Montana Historical Society personnel spent the night in the building protecting priceless artwork and collections when 47 windows were knocked out in the building.

Monday, June 27, 2016

June 27 – On this date in Montana history in 1925 the first significant earthquake in the state’s history occurred. It was centered near Three Forks and had a magnitude 6 on the Richter scale. It was felt throughout the state as well as in bordering states. It stranded trains, caused major property damage including destroying the courthouse in White Sulphur Springs, but resulted in only a few minor injuries to citizens.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June 26 – On this day in Montana history in 2008 Crow historian Joe Medicine Crow was belatedly awarded the Bronze Star for his service in France in WWII and also made a knight of the French Legion of Honor by the French army. Medicine Crow said “it’chik” the Crow word for “very good.”  French Counsul General Pierre-Francois Mourier said in ceremonies at Garryowen: “France has not forgotten – France will never forget – your sacrifices.” In addition to counting four coups in the war, Medicine Crow was honored for being the first American into Germany – a feat captured on film by a Stars and Stripes photographer.  “I was the first American soldier to jump into Germany and an Indian Warrior at that,” Medicine Crow said.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

June 25 – On this day in Montana history in 1876 when the gun smoke cleared on the hills above the Little Big Horn River, Gen. George Armstrong Custer and about 260 of his men including his Indian Scouts lay dead. The Sioux called it the battle of Greasy Grass and it was the last major victory for Sitting Bull and the estimated 2,000 Sioux, Arapaho and Cheyenne warriors who had once called the area home.

Friday, June 24, 2016

June 24 – On this day in Montana History in 1876 the Seventh Cavalry of brevet Gen. George Armstrong Custer was preparing attack plans for what became known as the Battle of the Little Big Horn. He was concerned that the Native Americans would escape before he could attack. The following day went down in history as Custer’s Last Stand.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

June 23 – On this day in Montana History in 1937 a crowd estimated by the Highway Patrol at 18,000 people gathered in Fort Benton to see the finish of a riverboat race that began in St. Louis. The race was conceived to pay tribute to the early riverboat activity on the Missouri River which terminated at Fort Benton.  The Glasgow Fort Peck Cruiser won with an elapsed time of 269 hours and four minutes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

June 22 – On this day in Montana history in 1923 not everyone was excited about the planned July 4 world heavyweight championship boxing match between Jack Dempsey and Tommy Gibbons in Shelby. The Montana Baptist Convention “absolutely deplored” the fight because “any prize fight is contrary to the teachings of Christianity,” and it was sure to “bring into the state a large number of morally undesirables.”

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 21 – On this day in Montana history in 1936 more than 100 elders of the Crow Tribe were gathered and honored at a ceremony in Poplar. The oldest honored was Bush Man who was 101. Reservation officials urged the elders to provide their knowledge and experience to help the tribe survive the Great Depression.

Monday, June 20, 2016

June 20 – On this day in Montana history in 1921 the record for rainfall in a 24-hour period was set at 11.5 inches. It was recorded in Circle, and if you have been to Circle you know the odds against the record being set there are high. In fact, the average rainfall for the entire year in Circle is 13.3 inches. The resulting floods on the Redwater swept away homes and killed at least one person. 

Sunday, June 19, 2016

June 19 – On this day in Montana History in 1938 emergency crews were searching through the wreckage and trying to recover bodies from the worst train disaster in Montana history. The legendary Milwaukee Railroad Olympian went off a bridge over the flooded Yellowstone River in Prairie County. Eventually, 24 dead bodies were identified in a temporary morgue in Miles City, and dozens others were injured. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

June 18 – On this day in Montana history in 1929 two masked men robbed the Ronan State Bank of $3,000 and shot two employees. They were part of a gang that reflected the “gangster” period in U.S. history. They used fast cars and well thought out getaway plans to elude local police. Eventually six men, including the two who held up the Ronan bank, were arrested and convicted of several other armed robberies across Montana. Perhaps showing that crime doesn’t pay, pack rats at their hideout ate $1,500 of the money taken in the Ronan heist.

Friday, June 17, 2016

June 17 – On this day in Montana History in 1832 Pierre Chouteau brought his steamship the Yellow Stone up the Missouri River to Fort Union on the Montana border. It was the farthest steamships came up the Missouri for the next 28 years until shallow draft boats could make it to Fort Benton. On board the ship that day in 1832 was artist George Catlin who became legendary for his paintings of Native American life in Montana and the West.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

June 16 – On this day in Montana History in 1888 the first train robbery in Montana history occurred near Livingston. Robbers used a signal torch at night to convince the engineer that there was danger on the track. When the train ground to a stop, the robbers boarded and held the passengers hostage for an hour and twenty minutes while they took about $600 from a safe. No one was injured in the robbery.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

June 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1916 the Wibaux Pioneer carried a front page story on “Happenings on Circus Day.” A person hired to help set up the tents was run over by a six ton wagon, but lived to tell about it. “The circus gladly paid his bill.” Another local was struck by a crutch by one of the injured female performers after he “was getting gay with her.” But all in all the paper reported that “it was a clean show that pleased everyone.”

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 14 – June 14 – On this day in Montana history in 1988 the beginning of what was to become the most intense summer of fire in Yellowstone National Park began when lightning started a fire near the northeast entrance of the park. That summer at least six dry cold fronts carrying lightning and up to 60 mile an hour winds brought a conflagration down on the park.

Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13 -- June 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1971 the Montana State Federation of Colored Women’s Clubs celebrated their 50th Annual Convention in Great Falls. Elizabeth Hill of Great Falls was named the Woman of the Year. The Clubs motto, “We Climb” was the theme of the convention.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

June 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1962 a Northern Pacific passenger train packed with tourists returning from the Seattle World’s fair plummeted off the tracks and down an embankment at more than double its recommended speed 16 miles north of Missoula. One passenger was killed and another 243 were injured some critically. One official said it was travelling more than 70 miles an hour when it left the tracks.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

June 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1971 people gathered on Race Unity Day to talk about problems that continue to face the state and nation today. A panel was convened in Great Falls to talk about “Race Relations in Montana.” A proclamation by city officials called for all Montanans to “focus on the most challenging issue, the race problem.”

Friday, June 10, 2016

June 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1962 the Great Falls Tribune reported a major communications breakthrough: “direct long distance dialing.” The service connected 260 Montana communities and about 74 million more in the U.S. and Canada. It reportedly cost the Northern States Telephone Company of Great Falls about $1.3 million to install it. Even the cell phone had a granddaddy!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

June 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1948 Montana was experiencing the power of President Harry S. Truman’s famous “Whistle Stop Campaign” train tour of the nation that carried him to a major upset in the presidential election. More than 10,000 Montanans turned out to hear him talk at the Naranche Stadium in Butte, and thousands more lined up to see his train pass through the state.   

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

June 8 – On this day in Montana history in 1917 late in the evening in Butte the Granite Mountain mine exploded violently killing dozens and turning the community into a virtual disaster area. The papers were filled with lists of people known dead or missing.  A headline of a sidebar story says it all: ”Pathetic Scenes at the Morgues As Strong Men Weep Over Dead Pards.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

June 7 – On this day in Montana history in 1964 Montana was reeling from what at that time was called the worst natural disaster in its recorded history. Heavy rains in early June sent rivers raging to a mile wide in some areas with homes, dams, roads and railroads washed away and more than 30 people left dead. On June 7 alone 10 inches of rain fell in Browning, Glacier National Park and Augusta. President Lyndon Johnson declared nine counties in northwest and north-central Montana federal disaster areas, and damages eventually totaled more than $62 million.

Monday, June 6, 2016

June 6 – Also on this day in 1917 a story circulated statewide about a woman from Columbus, Ohio, who sent a letter to Butte Mayor W.H. Maloney asking him to help her find a husband so she could do her part on the home front during WWI. “I want to do something for my country and at the same time for myself,” the woman wrote. “I want to be a war bride, but I want a western man for a husband, one who will ride a horse in France and distinguish himself. If possible get me a cowboy.”

Sunday, June 5, 2016

June 5 – On this day in Montana history in 1917 the Billings Gazette featured a story on the great future envisioned for Rapelje. The town was being promoted by the Merchants Loan Company of Billings, and it shows how business played a major role in how Montana developed. “Good weather will see a boom at the new town of Rapelje, at the terminus of the Northern Pacific branch into Lake basin,” the paper said.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

June 4 – On this day in Montana history in 1879 the steamship Yellowstone was lost at Buffalo Rapids on the Yellowstone River. The paddle-wheeler that was built in 1876 in Indiana had made just three trips up the Missouri River to Fort Benton before it was lost. 

Friday, June 3, 2016

June 3 –On this day in Montana history in 1924 high ranking churchmen from across the nation gathered in Helena to consecrate the Cathedral of St. Helena. The Rt. Rev. John Henry Tihen, bishop of Denver presided at events. Tribute was paid to Rt. Rev. John P. Carroll, bishop of the diocese of Helena, for his tireless work in seeing the cathedral completed. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

June 2 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 news reached Montana of the death of pioneer physician Dr. Mary Atwater in California at age 82. She had practiced medicine in Marysville for many years when the mining town was in its boom years. She also fought to establish the State Hospital at Galen, and was active in fighting for women’s suffrage and other rights.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

June 1 – On this day in Montana history in 1873 what is now known as the Cypress Hills Massacre took place on the wooded hills just north of what is now the Montana-Canada border. Traders and wolfers from Fort Benton had crossed the border trying to recover stolen property. They wiped out an Assiniboine camp of 50 lodges killing at least 20, many of them women and children. The incident angered the Canadian government and led to major efforts to send more mounted policed to the area and attempt to bring the Americans to trial and stop the whiskey trade coming into Canada from Fort Benton.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 31 – On this day in Montana history in 1921 statistics for service in World War One were released. Montana had provided 11,709 volunteers for WWI.  That put it at the top of the list of states for the proportion of volunteers being 100.4% above the national average. Montana lost 821 men killed in action, and 2,437 were injured.  That put it 2% for casualties above any other state per population. Montanans have always answered their nation’s call in time of war.


Monday, May 30, 2016

May 30 – On this day in Montana history in 1917 Cpl. H.H. Huss wrote a letter back to his friends in Miles City. World War One was raging in Europe but Huss and his fellow soldiers in Company E Were assigned duty in Montana. Huss noted that one of his buddies had shot his finger off while cleaning his rifle. It was excitement that their duty didn’t always provide. They were assigned to guard two train tunnels against saboteurs near Bonita. “This is sure a fine job we’ve got this year, guarding a couple of holes in the mountains to see that nobody blows them out of the way so the trains can’t get through.” 

Sunday, May 29, 2016

May 29 – On this day in Montana history in 1916 railroad and Northwest U.S. empire builder James J. Hill died in St. Paul, Minn., at age 78. Montana was shaped by his Great Northern Railroad, and especially his efforts to promote Glacier National Park. Train traffic on his Montana and other railroad lines was stopped for five minutes in tribute to Hill.  

Saturday, May 28, 2016

May 28 – On this day in Montana history in 1903 The Helena Independent was celebrating the visit of President Teddy Roosevelt, who was the first sitting president to come to the Capital of Montana. The people of Helena and others from across the state greeted Roosevelt in style. “Roosevelt Received Such a Welcome as Only a Patriotic People Are Capable of Extending” the headline read.      

Friday, May 27, 2016

May 27 – On this day in Montana history in 1953 The Daily Inter Lake reported the deaths of two park employees and injuries to two others who were working on a snow removal crew on the Going-to-the-Sun  Highway in Glacier Park. The accident was blamed on a snow avalanche.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

May 26 – On this day in Montana history in 1864 President Abraham Lincoln signed the bill that created Montana Territory. The first Territorial Capital was in the mining town of Bannack. Montanans were soon clamoring for statehood, and newspapers at the time often characterized nonresident appointees to territorial office as “pilgrims and carpetbaggers, political convicts, and party-hangers-on.” Montanans have long been at least a little skeptical of the folks in Washington.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

May 25 –On this day in Montana history in 1964 what was called the Montana Centennial Cake that measured 8 feet wide by 16 feet long was baked as a fund raiser for the Centennial Bell project. It took 120 pounds flour and 100 pounds of sugar plus other ingredients to create. It took 74 hours to make the cake that was valued at $700. The recipe is in the Jean Baucus Centennial Bell Scrapbook at the Montana Historical Society. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

May 24 – On this day in Montana history in 1898 what were called rough riders from the !st Montana Volunteers left Montana headed to Cuba to fight there in the Spanish American War. That part of the war was over by the time they got to Florida. However, the 1st Volunteers were sent to the Philippines to fight the Spanish there. They fought for nearly two years in a part of the war that was largely forgotten in history.

Monday, May 23, 2016

May 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1908 the National Bison Range was created by Congress at the request of President Teddy Roosevelt on 18,500 acres of land in the Flathead Valley. It was the first federal purchase of land for a wildlife refuge. The American Bison Society later raised more than $10,000 to buy 34 bison that formed the nucleus for the herd that still grazes their today. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

May 22 – On this day in Montana history in 1914 The Red Lodge Picket reported a tale that reminds us today of the ease of automobile travel that for many years could not be taken for granted.  Local attorney R. Wiggenhorn and Deputy Game Warden George Mushbach decided to drive their families to Billings for an outing.  They fought the roads until five miles from Billings when the added difficulty of a heavy rain storm left their cars buried in “gumbo” along the road. The paper reported that the ears of the children in the cars had to be covered when the two men vented their anger “about the weather man, about the roads, about automobiles and about things in general.” The families of the two men returned to Red Lodge on the train, leaving the two men to dig out their cars.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

May 21 – On this day in Montana history in 1956 Gov. J. Hugo Aronson called for a “highway litterbug cleanup campaign.” He said that state highway funds were limited and trying to deal with the problem took money away from other needed highway and bridge projects. He urged groups like the Jaycees to undertake a statewide campaign to clean Montana up. Perhaps showing how far ahead of his time he was, Aronson said it was just as important to keep Montana green as it was to keep its roadways clean.

Friday, May 20, 2016

May 20 – On this day in Montana history in 1904 what the Missoulian called a “Memorable Day in State Athletics” was wrapping up the second and final day of the first statewide track and field meet in Montana history. As the students gathered for the event, the Missoulian noted “It was the first introduction that many Montana persons, especially among the younger generation, had ever had to a track meet.” The paper went on to predict – and correctly so – that “interscholastic track meets shall become a household word and an event to be looked forward to with the keenest of growing interest from year to year.”

Thursday, May 19, 2016

May 19 – On this day in Montana history in 1945 Army Tech 4 Laverne Parish who grew up in Ronan and Pablo was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously. He volunteered shortly after the outbreak of WW11 as a medic telling his family he “wanted to save more lives than he took.” On Jan. 18, 1945, in an action in the Philippines Parish repeatedly crossed open grounds to rescue and care for his comrades being racked by hostile fire. After saving and treating 37 injured soldiers, he was killed by enemy mortar fire.  Only seven Montanans have received the Medal of Honor.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

May 18 – On this day in Montana history in 1917 the commanding officer of the battleship U.S.S. Montana wrote to Mrs. H.R. Cunningham, president of the Women’s Auxiliary in Helena for the Navy League, with a list of “knitted articles” the crew needed. It included 2,000 pairs of woolen socks, 1,000 pairs of mittens, and “700 visored caps to pull down to the shoulders.” She said the only thing holding her group back was getting the sewing stores to get the needles and yarn they needed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 17 – On this day in Montana history in 1931 Great Falls Diocese Bishop Edwin O’Hara was in Vatican City for the 40th anniversary of the ordination of Pope Leo XIII. In addition to his congratulations, O’Hara discussed problems of “religious work in rural districts.” The Pope offered his blessing.

Monday, May 16, 2016

May 16 – On this day in Montana history in 1812 in Italy Father Anthony Ravalli was born. He was to become  the “DaVinci of the West.” He came to Montana in 1845 to St. Mary’s Mission and later with his Indian parishioners built the Cataldo Mission in what is now Idaho which still stands as a masterpiece of frontier architecture. Ravalli County in Montana was named for him and he is credited with being the first doctor in what was to become Montana also having degrees in mechanics, sciences the arts and farming from universities in Italy. He died at Stevensville in 1884 and hundreds of people from miles around came to the funeral.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

May 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1917 T.L. Martin, secretary of the Helena T.C. Power Company, was returning from a trip to Canada with news of WW1. He told of Canadian towns being “depopulated of their young fighting men,” but confident of ultimate victory in Europe. He also made a comment that should have prepared Montanans for what was to come. “The entrance of the United States in to the world conflict has added to their hopes of an early conclusion of the struggle.” Hundreds of Montanans died in that war.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

May 14 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 the Daily Inter Lake had a front page headline, “Electric Signs Invade Kalispell.”  “Most of the largest business houses have at this time adopted one form or another of the great variety of electric lighting devices with which to attract the eye,” the paper said.  It also claimed the largest electric sign in Montana was above the Kalispell Brewery “the letters being four feet high, the sign 65 feet long and the number of lights used in it 258.” The times were a’changin and apparently the light bulbs too.

Friday, May 13, 2016

May 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1920 a Butte jury found that miner Thomas Manning was killed by a pistol “in the hands of some person unknown to this jury.” The working class of Butte knew that Manning and 15 other people injured in an attack against picketers fighting the Anaconda Mining Company. They asked “Did the 16 miners shoot themselves.” It was “The Company.” They were all shot in the back while fleeing. Manning left behind a young wife and a small son still living in Ireland.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

May 12 – On this day in Montana history in 1922 Yellowstone Park Superintendent Horace Albright was predicting “one of the best years, if not the greatest season this summer” for the world’s first national park.  He expected that more than 100,000 people would visit “Wonderland.”  The park has come a long way baby.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

May 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 the president was set to sign the bill creating Glacier Park. It included an appropriation of $10,000 for preliminary surveys and building of roads and trails.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 125 Italian prisoners of war from WWII arrived at Fort Missoula and were put to work. They were reportedly smiling and waving to the newspaper reporters and others who gathered for the arrival. The prisoners renamed the camp “Bella Vista” for its beautiful view. A lot better than facing American soldiers on the battlefield.
May 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 125 Italian prisoners of war from WWII arrived at Fort Missoula and were put to work. They were reportedly smiling and waving to the newspaper reporters and others who gathered for the arrival. The prisoners renamed the camp “Bella Vista” for its beautiful view. A lot better than facing American soldiers on the battlefield.

Monday, May 9, 2016

May 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1889 a Montana horse won the Kentucky Derby, stunning the Kentucky and entire East Coast racing world. Spokane was born on the ranch of Noah Armstrong, who made a fortune mining in Butte and bought a ranch in the Beaverhead Valley. Proctor Knott was heavily favored to win the Derby, but Spokane beat him by a “whisker.” The race originally was a mile and a half, and Spokane still holds the record for the Derby at that distance.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

May 8 – On this day in Montana history in 1917 the Great Northern Railroad was cooking up a bunch of apple pies “the kind like mother used to make” to serve to its riders on Mother’s Day. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

May 7 – On this day in Montana history in 1901 movie star and Montana native son Gary Cooper was born in Helena. His parents Alice and Charles called him Frank James Cooper – Gary came later. Late in his life he talked about how proud he was to be a Montanan and said he grew up in a family that loved the paintings of another famous Montanan, Charlie Russell. “My dad probably hoped that someday I’d turn out to be a pretty fair painter. I was a pretty fair caricaturist, but that was about all.” Yep, a man of few words. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6 – On this day in Montana History in 1885 separate fires did major damage in Livingston, Billings and Miles City. The fires were a coincidence, but show how serious and common the scourge of fire was in early Montana communities. The Billings Gazette said “The subject of protection from fire has been so often the theme of newspaper articles that it may become tiresome.” The paper called for fire hydrants, new equipment and a special tax levy because “the present is the time to act.” 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May 5 – On this day in Montana History in 1971 Emmanuel Taylor “Manny” Gordon died in a White Sulphur Springs Hospital. His mother was born a slave and moved with her husband to Montana where Manny was born in 1893. He became a famed vaudeville performer and spiritual singer in the U.S. and Europe. He was a friend of circus owner John Ringling and authored several books including his autobiography “Born to Be.” He returned to Montana in 1959 to live with his sister, Rose, in White Sulphur Springs. He gave several more concerts in Montana before his death.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

May 4 – On this day in Montana history in 1939 Gov. Roy Ayers signed a bill establishing the Montana Parks Commission to supervise an envisioned network of state parks. The bill was prompted by the 1937 state acquisition of the ”Morrison Caves” complex in Jefferson County that was renamed “Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park” in 1946.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

May 3 – On this day in Montana History in 1941 schools and civic organizations across the state were teaming up to hold outdoor competitions for students. In Billings more than 500 students competed in events ranging from traditional runs to sack races and shuttle races with prizes awarded by the Elks.

Monday, May 2, 2016

May 2 – On this day in Montana History in 1864 the Montana Territory was approved by Congress. Most people think of this as the start of modern Montana history. But Wilbur Fisk Sanders a political giant in early Montana history and a founder of the Montana Historical Society always maintained that 1862 and 1863 were critical in the development of the state. As he wrote about “the meaning of our settlement and civilization here,” Fisk urged future generations “to preserve sketches of our earlier story … day by day and year-by-year.” That also includes Native American history.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

May 1 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 the Billings Gazette gave some advice on the topic of the day “men going to war.” How to deal with going away parties and letter writing were talked about.  Baby boomers also got their first – sort of – mention: “If a young man meets a local girl at an army dance … may he call her at home?” Answer: “Yes. And he shouldn’t mind if her mother and father are on hand the first time to look him over, after all they know nothing about him.”

Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30 – On this day in Montana history in 1803 the United States purchased Louisiana from France. The boundaries were not clearly defined, but included the western half of the Mississippi drainage basin from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. It didn’t go as far as Louis and Clark took it with their expedition, but it definitely included what became Montana.


Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29 – On this day in Montana History in 1906 the papers headlines show that election controversy wasn’t limited to competing political factions in state government. The National Daughters of the American Revolution after a three-year fight settled what became known to the group nationally as “the Montana incident.” Mrs. Walter Harvey Weed, at the time a resident of Washington, but a member of the Silver Bow Montana Chapter, claimed to represent the chapter on the national DAR board. The Montana chapter said that Ella Knowles Haskell was their choice for the job. Haskell finally was seated in the national congress, and the fight was settled – this time with local Montanans winning. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28 – On this day in Montana History in 1933 the first Montana recruits for the emergency conservation corps, part of the Great Depression jobs legislation, were selected. They were destined for camps in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. Interestingly based on current problems with bark beetles, some of the men were also to be assigned to efforts to fight an outbreak of white pine beetles.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

May 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 the president was set to sign the bill creating Glacier Park. It included an appropriation of $10,000 for preliminary surveys and building of roads and trails.
Aril 27 – On this day in Montana History in 1805 the Lewis and Clark Expedition entered what is now known as Montana just above the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. During the summers of 1805 and 1806 the Corps of Discovery made more than 280 campsites in Montana and spent more time here exploring than any other area they trekked through.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26 – On this day in Montana history in 1906 The Anaconda Standard had an interesting story on a strange love triangle. Bart Decker was in jail for larceny. It seems that Decker and another man were both “wooing” Bessie Everett. When her purse came up missing, she thought she had lost it and filed no complaint. However, Decker later bragged to his rival for Bessie that “if he couldn’t get the girl, he at least got her money.” The local officers soon picked him up.

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25 – On this day in Montana history in 1894 a group of financially stricken and disgruntled Montanans that came to be known as Coxey’s Army commandeered a train in Butte and headed for Washington, D.C. to take their complaints directly to Congress and the president. Northern Pacific Superintendent J.D. Finn said: “Where is the governor? Where is the United States Marshall? Where is the Montana militia? How in the hell do you expect one Irishman to stand off the whole of Coxey’s Army?” The train made it as far as Forsyth where federal troops from Fort Keogh two days later re-took the train. Rumors of heavily armed and “dangerous men” had the whole nation on edge. But when searched, only three guns were found; one broken, one a .22, and the other an 1860s rifle with no ammunition. On the other hand 43 copies of the Bible were also confiscated.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 24 – On this day in Montana history in 1895 the Yellowstone Journal in Miles City carried a story on a controversy involving wolves. It seems that many people were upset because a new law required “the full pelt from nose to tail” when collecting the state bounty on wolves. For one thing they said wolves sometimes traveled a ways after taking poison before dying, and often the only part that could be recovered later was the scalp. They reasoned that the scalp should be proof enough. But Montana changed the old scalp rule because some enterprising people were getting scalps from furriers in Chicago and elsewhere -- who used the rest of the wolf pelt for clothing -- and turning them in for bounty. “If all men were honest it would be the fair thing to pay on scalps, but they are not,” the paper said.   

Saturday, April 23, 2016



April 23 – On this day in Montana history in 1921 a large bronze tablet was placed at the site of the Montana Club in downtown Helena to commemorate the place where the discovery claim was made that set off the gold rush that created what became Montana’s Capital. The Montana Historical Society and the Society of Montana Pioneers formed a committee that held several conferences with “old timers” to determine where the original site was located.

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22 –On this day in Montana History in 1865, Montana’s first newspaper, “The Post,” reported that 480 hungry and angry Nevada City prospectors marched to nearby Virginia City “with an avowed determination to take all the flour in town and divide it among those who had none.”  Flour like most other supplies were short in the gold-boom town area, the miners discovered about 82 sacks of flour hidden away in Virginia City. A few days later things settled down and supplies came in from Salt Lake City, and the ringleaders were ordered to pay for the confiscated flour and damage caused in the search. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21 – On this day in Montana History in 1997, the Legislature was putting the final touches on a bill to purchase Virginia and Nevada City properties owned by the Bovey family. The Montana Historical Society led the effort to save the historic properties that include the finest and most original gold-boom-town buildings in the West. It helped spur heritage tourism efforts in the state.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20 – On this day in Montana History in 1887 the town of Castle between the Little and Big Belt Mountains about 75 miles north of Bozeman was named. Between 1886 and 1890 surrounding mines yielded about $1 million in silver. The town thrived with churches, schools and even home delivery of milk. It was one of the richest in Montana. But about 10 years later silver prices plummeted and as the local newspaper reported, “One day, the local boarding house served 135 men. Three days later, it fed only three.” Few people remember the once promising community today.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19 – On this day in Montana History in 1959 notorious problem prisoner Jerry Myles and two other convicts at the Montana Prison in Deer Lodge seized rifles and took several guards hostage. In the ensuing 36-hour standoff Deputy Warden Ted Rothe was killed. In all 26 employees and inmates were taken hostage. The riot ended when the Montana National Guard fired shots from a bazooka into the cellblock. Myles committed suicide rather than giving up.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18 – On this day in Montana History in 1916 the famous chief Rocky Boy of the nomadic band of Chippewa Indians in Montana died on the reservation near Box Elder that was named for him about a year later. It was said that his last words were that people remember what he did for homeless Indians in Montana.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 17 – On this day in Montana history in 1867 John Bozeman left the town that was named after him on a trip to Fort C.F. Smith on the Big Horn River.  He never returned. First accounts said that he had been shot by Indians, and it created panic in the territory. Later accounts doubted the truthfulness of the account and suggested other reasons for him being shot including those who said “he was too attractive to some men’s wives.” The facts behind his death remain a mystery of Montana history.   

Saturday, April 16, 2016

 April 16 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 “Mind Your Manners,” a syndicated newspaper column, focused on how to behave at club meetings. It was a question and answer format. One of the questions was: “When a club invites you to become a member, how can you politely refuse?” The proper answer: “By saying that you are sorry, but that you haven’t time for membership in another club.” This writer was brought up in the Groucho Marx school of behavior. My answer: “I would never become a member of a club that would have me.”

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 15 – On this day in Montana history in 1931 a “rum runner” was captured after a lengthy cross-border chase between Saskatchewan and Montana that involved U.S. and Canadian law officers. Mickey McDoolan of Great Falls was spotted with his load of Canadian “rye” liquor in Montana and fled back across the border where he was eventually captured. His comment at arrest: “There goes $700 of soldier gratuity.”   

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 14 – On this day in Montana history in 1908 the first Hauser Dam on the Missouri River just south of Helena failed washing away homes, buildings and cattle downstream, but miraculously causing no deaths – thanks to heroic efforts to warn people to get to hire ground. The dam had been completed only a year before and was one of the first to be built primarily of steel and was thought to be one of the strongest dams ever built at the time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13 – On this day in Montana history in 1941 the construction contract for the new Great Northern Hotel in Billings to replace the one destroyed by fire about a year earlier was awarded. The contract for the 200-room hotel was for $1 million.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 12 – On this day in Montana History in 1941 the Billings Gazette had an interesting “Mind Your Manners” column. This one was on meal behavior as a guest, and advised not to ask if a food item is homemade, that it is proper to place the serving silver into a dish when passing it, and answered its own question of whether to stir gravy into potatoes before eating them with “one can, but it is not the proper thing.” Simpler times.

Monday, April 11, 2016

May 11 – On this day in Montana history in 1910 the president was set to sign the bill creating Glacier Park. It included an appropriation of $10,000 for preliminary surveys and building of roads and trails.
April 11 -- On this day in Montana History in 1911 Montanans welcomed President Theodore Roosevelt to the state with a big parade on Higgins Avenue in Missoula. The Missoulian headline read: “Record Crowd Awaits Coming of Nation’s First Citizen – Arrangements All Complete and Strenuous, Happy Day in Prospect.” After the parade, Roosevelt was off to the Florence Hotel “with his escort of soldiers, Spanish War veterans, cowboys, Indians and citizens.” In its morning edition the Missoulian was confident of great Big Sky weather: “At a late hour the prospects are that the day will be bright and balmy and that the largest crowd ever assembled in western Montana will be here to give Teddy a rousing welcome.”

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10 – On this day in Montana history in 1899 Montana Gov. Robert Smith at the request of the Montana Legislature established Arbor Day creating a legal holiday “to commemorate the arrival of spring and to encourage the planting of trees, shrubs and vines on both private and public property.” 

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 9 – On this day in Montana history in 1866 Montana’s first-ever Constitutional Convention opened in Helena. The land was still a territory and the Helena gathering was organized by Acting Territorial Gov. Thomas Francis Meagher. Politics were at a boiling point in the territory and less than half the people chosen to write the constitution showed up. Essentially what happened was they passed a measure without a quorum, it was never offered for a state-wide vote, and therefore was never submitted to Congress. On top of all that, the first Constitution was lost on its way to St. Louis to be printed and no copy survives.

Friday, April 8, 2016

April 8 – On this day in Montana History in 1877 Dr. Armistead Mitchell and Dr. Charles Mussigbrod, owners of a hotel and spa at Warm Springs, were awarded a contract for the care of the Montana Territory’s mental patients. In those times it was known as the State Insane Asylum. Stories from the time leading up to the opening of Warm Springs use words like lunatics and worse to talk about the people they wanted off the streets and out of mind. But it was a first step in mental health development. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 7 – On this day in Montana History in 1983 Gov. Ted Schwinden signed a legislative act to designate the grizzly bear at the Official State Animal. Fittingly he put on a grizzly-bear hat for the public signing. The designation resulted from a statewide contest and vote aimed at getting young people interested in politics. The grizzly beat out the next highest vote getter the elk by nearly two to one. Although some legislators held out for the elk, the grizzly finally won out in the real legislative process. The kids were happy.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6 – On this day in Montana History in 1951 the big news in Billings was the grand opening of the new Dairy Queen “A Brand New Product.” The company was trying out some new marketing gimmicks and offered “curb service” after 6 p.m. The slogan back then was “The cone with the curl on top.” You could get “hamburgers to eat in your car” for 35 cents.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 5 – On this day in Montana History in 1872 what became known as the first battle of Cypress Hills occurred. There now appears to be little doubt that a group of wolvers working the area mistook some Assiniboines for Piegans or Bloods who had stolen some of their horses and attacked them. This was the first event in what eventually led to the tragic Cypress Hills massacre which occurred in Canada in the spring of 1873.

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4 – On this day in Montana History in 1917 Jeannette Rankin went to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives for the first time as the first woman elected to Congress in the nation. Ironically, it was to hear the debate on the resolution for U.S. entry into World War One. She eventually voted against entry into war and it led to her defeat in the next election. 

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 3 – On this day in Montana history in 1885 in Miles City, Montana Territory, the Eastern Montana Livestock Association founded in 1883 and the Montana Stockgrowers Association founded in 1884 merged their operations under the name of the Montana Stockgrowers Association. The purpose of the group was “to unite cattle and horse growers in Montana Territory; first, for the enforcement of livestock laws; second, for the protection against rustlers; third, to devise plans to protect the open range against fires; fourth, for the uniformity in just claims against railroads and other corporations; and fifth, to promote harmony in range work and roundups.”

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 2 – On this day in Montana history in 1906 rain was falling across Montana. It was the start of what is called the “wet years” of the Montana homestead boom. “Nature has left the door of fortune open in Montana,” the state Department of Agriculture boasted. The population of Montana nearly doubled in the next few years. By 1916 the abundant rain period was over. In 1919 the state experienced its lowest rainfall ever and a large section of the state produced no crop or pasturage while other areas had but small returns. Nature’s whims resulted in thousands of people going broke and leaving the state. Boom and bust once again reared its ugly head in the Big Sky State.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1 – On this day in Montana history in 1927 it was no joke – well there were some jokes – that famed humorist and columnist Will Rogers came to Billings. The Billings City Council in special session had named him mayor for the day. Rogers told the Billings Gazette “Much oblig’d friends. Somebody is always wishin’ a job on my but I’ll take it. I don’t know, jes, what is the matter with your darn town, but I’ll scout aroun’ and soon find out.” Rogers said they gave him a vote in the Democratic Convention and he found out about it when he was playing in the Follies in New York.“  I rushed right out into a taxi and went those 10 blocks to the convention as fast as possible, but before I could go 10 blocks the darn interest had had me bought out.” No one has ever understood U.S. politics better than the man who never met a man he didn’t like.