Revisiting Memories at Zurich Park

I grew up in Chinook, Montana on US Hwy 2. About midway between Chinook and Harlem is the tiny town of Zurich. Historians tell me Zurich was named by a railroad conductor traveling this route. According to the story, he spun a globe and pointed at Zurich, Switzerland and named the Montana location after it. We pronounce Zurich, Montana with a “ch”, not a “k” sound and I suspect the terrain is vastly different between … Read more

Building A Cre-HAY-tion for Montana Bale Trail – What The Hay

I will admit – I love everything about this event! It’s fun to do a haybale entry for the Montana Bale Trail, it’s fun to see what other people create and it’s fun to take in the craft fair, good food and scenery. Each year I start thinking a few months ahead of the event to come up with an idea. The idea I had for this year was good, however, I couldn’t quite plot … Read more

First Peoples Named National Historic Landmark

US Secretary of the Interior and the National Park Service director announced this week that First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park near Ulm, MT has been designated as one of four new National Historic Landmarks. Considering that there are 50 states in the US, Montana is mighty proud to have one of the new National Historic Landmark designations. So,what does it take to get this designation? I’m certain there is a ton of paperwork involved! … Read more

The Square Butte Jail Still Stands

I wouldn’t say the Square Butte jail is going to lock anyone up these days but you can tell it was built to last! On a group tour of the area I was able to “stand behind the bars” of this iconic structure. Way back, think about 1913, the Milwaukee Land Company (yes, the same as the railroad), laid out the streets of the little town of Square Butte. The town was located on the … Read more

Touring Fort Benton’s Reconstructed Old Fort

I was in Fort Benton a week ago and decided to take a guided tour of the Old Fort. I’ve toured the Fort several times but, as our guide noted, it is a work in progress, and they expand their collections and displays as finances allow. To see this reconstructed fort is the best way for me to learn history. My favorite room is the trading post which is stocked with trade goods that look … Read more

Charlie Russell Chew Choo Gets New Trestle

In 2011, when spring runoff came downstream on the Judith River (the river I think should be called a creek because it is usually so small) it was devastating to many landowners. The Lewistown Chamber of Commerce, operator of the Charlie Russell Chew Choo dinner train, also had a loss when the Judith River trestle was basically destroyed. This photo shows what a former straight track looked like after rushing water twisted the steel girders. … Read more

From Europe to Sunburst, Montana

Many people have not heard of the small community of Sunburst but I had a fun visit there recently. So, where is Sunburst? It is north of Shelby, between Sweetgrass and the port of entry, and a very easy exit off I-15. I noticed a sign for European Antiques which definitely intrigued me. The new-looking log building was beautiful with nice landscaping. I went up to the door only to realize that they weren’t open on the particular … Read more

For the Love of Neon

The last time I was in Shelby I took a few minutes to stroll down Main Street and gawk at all of the uber-cool neon signs. Shelby’s Main Street is dressed to the nines with retro neon signs, all pointing to locally owned small businesses. Some of my favorites include The Mint sign (lounge), Sports Club (lounge and restaurant), The Alibi (lounge) and The Roxy (theater sign). And, these businesses are all still operating. I’m sure … Read more

And They Called the Land Montana – Harlowton Sculpture

Across mountain valleys and prairies rich with grass, past high peaks and flowing rivers, the distant land did call: “Come make your home with me”. They came. And they called the land Montana. The above writing is inscribed on a plaque near a bronze statue in front of the Wheatland County Courthouse in Harlowton, Montana. The statue, and a large Veterans’ Memorial Wall on the other side of the courthouse, are both incredibly inspiring. I was in Harlowton a … Read more

Enjoying the Drive on US Hwy 89

Every now and then, actually quite frequently during the summer, you’ll hear me complaining about highway construction. If I’m not complaining I’m stressing about whether or not I’ll hit construction and be delayed. Well, I must give kudos where they are do. A week ago I was traveling south on US Hwy 89. I knew there had been construction there this past summer but it was after work hours and I hoped they were either … Read more