We stayed overnight at Virgelle, MT in original homestead cabins, complete with kerosene lantern and a copy of the original property deed. What unique lodging!
The Virgelle Merc was busy this morning with several groups getting ready to launch canoes at Coal Banks Landing just one mile downstream. We didn’t get a chance to canoe, but we did ride the free river ferry and my travel buddies loved it! The Upper Missouri has three river ferries, one at Carter, one at Virgelle and the other near Winifred. All are in Russell Country.
After we got back on US Hwy 87, we drove to Big Sandy and stopped at the Big Sandy Historical Museum located in a former train depot.
Local historian Cliff Edwards fascinated us with many tales of long ago. We could have stayed much longer and Cliff would have had more stories.
Although not historical, we decided to stop at the Northern Winz Casino located on Rocky Boy Indian Reservation. There are 350 gaming machines here, a restaurant and sports bar. None of us knew a lot about gambling, and lucky gamblers we weren’t!
A few miles from Havre we drove in to Fort Assinniboine. As a child I remember seeing the brick buildings left from the fort but never knew the significance. At one time, there was a huge contingent of Buffalo soldiers at the fort. There are guided tours only of Fort Assinniboine and the facility is shared with our state extension service for crop studies.
After arriving in Havre we met Anna Brumley, co-manager of Wahkpa Chu’gn Buffalo Jump located behind Holiday Village shopping center. Anna toured our group through the small huts covering archeological displays of the people who lived and hunted in this area. We also were able to throw an atlatl. Well, some us got it figured out. Joan took her best shot and actually hit the haybale. Some of us weren’t so accurate.
Next we drove to downtown Havre and toured Havre Beneath the Streets. We saw a saloon, brothel, meat market, drug store and bakery that once operated underneath the street. There is also a railroad museum adjacent to the ticket office for Havre Beneath the Streets. Our guide, Margie, did a great job of bringing this underground town to life for us.
We are off to the community of Chinook next. Check my next blog entry for news about our visit there.