Montana History

  • Life During Wartime at the Charter Oak Mine

    By Carl Davis
    The crucial role of the Anaconda Copper Mining Company and other big mining enterprises in World War II materials production is widely appreciated. Less so is the contribution of Montana’s many small-scale mine operations.
  • Travelers' Rest: A Study in Precision on the Lewis and Clark Trail

    By Lindsay Tran
    The team also found several artifacts that could be attributed to the Corps, including a blue bead, melted lead, and a tombac (metal) button. Most interestingly, the latrines they uncovered contained a not insignificant amount of mercury, a dead giveaway that the poop in the pit belonged to non-Native individuals.
  • Boomtown Saint

    By Christopher Muhlenfeld
    One could be forgiven for thinking that a city so drenched in decadence wouldn't have hosted one of North America's earliest saints. Yet in the midst of this hedonism and chaos, an Orthodox Christian priest named Sebastian Dabovich played a significant role in Butte, and the fruits of his labors have endured for generations.
  • Montana on The Move!

    By Rob Rath
    Historically, agriculture has always been Montana's foremost economic engine from jobs to exports. Because of the Great Depression and World War II, only 30% of working farms used gas-powered equipment into the 1940s, while the rest still relied on horses to work in the fields.
  • Leo J. Cremer: the Rodeo King of Montana's Historic Cremer Ranch

    By Todd Klassy
    The Cremer Ranch served as headquarters for his traveling rodeo, which he called "Leo J. Cremer's World Championship Rodeo Company." Though it was a working ranch that raised livestock, the Cremer Ranch also raised the best string of bucking horses in the entire state of Montana. Perhaps the world. 
  • Trapper's Tales: Early Stories From Yellowstone

    By Doug Stevens
    Like Colter before him, the more seasoned trappers did not believe him. For the “greenhorns,” new to the wonders of the American West, he laid it on thick. Believed or not, he surely would have had a captive audience around the fire. 
  • The Shunka Warak’in, Hyena of the Rockies

    By Joseph Shelton, with Photos by Tom Rath
    The next time he saw it, he was luckier. His shot hit the beast. According to Israel's son, the animal tried to attack the Hutchins family in its last moments, tearing through a half-inch rope in one champing bite. He said it bled to death trying to reach and attack the family.
  • Brilliance and Beauty: Celebrating the Gift of a Blackfoot Map

    By Dr. Shane Doyle
    Stretching from Oregon to North Dakota, and from Alberta to central Wyoming, the map identifies 14 major tributaries of the Missouri River, from the Milk River in the north to the Bighorn River in the south, and includes the location of prominent island mountain ranges interspersed between the rivers.
  • Butte, Montana: J. Edgar Hoover's FBI Siberia

    By Sherman Cahill
    In the end, Shaw had his gun and badge taken away. But the worst insult was yet to come: Hoover transferred Shaw to Butte, Montana—as close to Siberia as he could muster. 
  • When UFOs First Came to Great Falls

    By Nick Mitchell
    He whipped the camera into place, sighted the craft through the viewfinder, and began shooting. He managed to follow them as they passed behind a water tower, losing sight of them after they went behind the tower and into the blue sky to the southeast. He produced about 16 seconds of footage.
  • How Bobby Became a Legend

    By Sherman Cahill
    Bobby's leg broke, and for the first time, but certainly not the last time, Bobby was lucky to be alive. Unrepentant, perversely obstinant in the way that only Butte can be, Bobby bought another bike as soon as he could and took to racing the police around the town, popping wheelies and raising hell.
  • Montana's Road Ghosts and Phantom Hitchhikers

    By Renee Carlson, Illustrated by Rob Rath
    Also referred to as vanishing hitchhikers, these are ghosts that haunt our roadways. Some seek to hitch a ride with the living and others simply drift through the thin veil between worlds to appear briefly on the side of the road.
  • Bannack - Montana's Best Preserved Ghost Town

    By Doug Stevens
    The early history of Bannack is very “colorful” and reads like a Hollywood western. With Virginia City also booming to the north, there was an active stage line between the two gold towns.
  • Montana and the Nez Perce Flight for Freedom

    By Doug Stevens
    It had been 73 years since the Nez Perce had greeted Lewis and Clark with friendship and pledged peace with the U.S. government, thinking they would get the same respect in return. They were now retracing the Voyage of Discovery's route back through the rugged Bitterroot Mountains on a flight for their lives.
  • All Aboard the Mid-Century Empire Builder

    By Sherman Cahill
    There, as the train wound through the mountains and wilds of Montana on its way to Chicago, thirsty travelers could drink in the view. And, of course, the booze. 
  • The Stench of the Frontier

    By Lindsay Tran
    If Manifest Destiny had a smell, it would surely stink of rotting garbage, excrement, and a heady whiff of BO. Literature and film have cultivated in the American imagination a highly romanticized take on the Old West, but they’ve necessarily left out some of the crustier details of day-to-day hygiene.