Montana History

  • “Give me a high drop, boys” - Frontier Justice and the Ghost of Henry Plummer

    By Doug Stevens
    Lynching at the hands of a group of self-appointed vigilantes was employed in many mining towns across the Western U.S. in the mid-nineteenth century, including Montana. With the legal structure of courts, lawyers and judges lagging well behind the growth and the ensuing lawlessness of each gold strike, expedience was sometimes the preferred instrument to establish “law and order.”
  • "We Died an Easy Death:" Three of Montana's Worst Mining Disasters

    By Sherman Cahill
    In hard rock mining, the "nipper" is an entry-level position for someone, usually young and potentially a child, who assists the miners in getting them fresh equipment, exchanging out old bits, and fetching whatever the miners need. In the Butte of 1911, child labor laws were still far down the road, the job was often occupied by twelve to nineteen-year-old boys
  • The Auditor: Spirit of Butte

    By Rob Rath
    How I got into the pit isn't worth mentioning, and I don't remember much about it, anyway. The important thing is that I came here in 1986, to protect Butte, the Pit, and everything around it...
  • Nuts to the Noble Experiment: Montana’s Cussed Women Bootleggers

    By Teresa Otto
    Montana voted in Prohibition in 1916, in part due to the persuasiveness of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. They had whipped the voters up into a frenzy over the evils of alcohol. In late 1918, Prohibition under the 18th Amendment began in Montana—at least on paper.
  • The American Dream Home By Mail: Kit Homes Out West

    By Lindsay Dick
    Imagine that the year is 1910 and you have just moved with your family to Montana. The last spike of the Milwaukee Road was driven in last year just west of Garrison, and the small town where you live is now accessible by rail from both the West Coast and the distant metropolis of Chicago.
  • 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.
  • Get to Know a County: Lewis and Clark

    By Bryan Spellman
    Gold attracted people to the region, and Helena’s “main street” is a memorial to the early prospectors. Much of Last Chance Gulch is a pedestrian mall, and the turn-of-the-century architecture lining the sidewalks attracts the eye, just as the various window displays attract shoppers.