A Montana Mystery: Huguette Clark and 7,364 Hospital Days

Huguette ClarkBorn to the second wealthiest man in the United States, Huguette Clark disappeared for decades into her vast estates, strange obsessions, and, finally, years in the hospital. Michael Gross on a new book that details her family history—and the story of her 7,364 hospital days before she died.

Huguette Clark was 103 years old in February 2010, when a photo essay published on MSNBC.com by a Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter, Bill Dedman, made her famous for the second time in an otherwise mostly unremarkable life. Searching to buy a home for his family, Dedman stumbled upon a mystery: Clark, who’d been much publicized in the 1920s as the debutante daughter of America’s second-richest man, owned sprawling estates in California and Connecticut and several huge Fifth Avenue apartments, spent small fortunes to maintain them, but didn’t occupy any of them. Though presumed to be living, her whereabouts were unknown—she’d been a recluse since her mother died in 1963. Another mystery was the fate of the nine-figure fortune they’d inherited from Huguette’s father, William A. Clark, a dimly remembered copper baron and, briefly, a United States senator from Montana.

MORE>>>The Daily Beast

90% Positive Reviews (No It's Not Congress)

Crazy Mountains Montana

Nearly 90 percent of unsolicited comments submitted by visitors to the state gave Montana positive reviews, making special note of the state’s open space and the friendliness of its residents.

The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana reviewed more than 1,100 comments submitted by nonresidents during their visit, and found that 89 percent of them were positive.

The positive comments ranged from the friendliness of Montanans to the state’s scenic beauty and open space. Most said they wanted to visit again.

“Tourism is a huge contributor to Montana’s economy, with over $3.27 billion spent by nonresidents in the state last year,” said institute director Norma Nickerson. “A good experience by visitors encourages a healthy state economy.”

Positive comments focused on the state’s scenic wonders. “I was impressed by the outdoors, the local people and the amount of local microbreweries,” one visitor quipped. “We will come back,” said another.

MORE>>>Billings Gazette

Glacier Park Getting Ready for Winter (Can it Be?)

Glacier ParkIf you needed a sure sign that summer is rapidly winding down – and we’re guessing you didn’t – Glacier National Park has announced upcoming closing dates for everything from campgrounds and hotels, to boat tours and horseback rides.

On the upside: The park itself is open year-round. Fall is a favorite time to visit Glacier for many Montanans, who will find fewer tourists and the beauty of the changing colors of the season – along with cooler temperatures, of course.

But, first things first.

One of the key ending dates is Monday, Sept. 2. Labor Day will be the final day the park offers its free shuttle service over Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Visitors should be aware that the end of shuttle service does not mean the end of rehabilitation work on the road.

In fact, some of the work accelerates, particularly on the east side of the park.

On the west side, paving has been completed between Avalanche Creek and Logan Creek, but minor delays will continue as the road is striped and things such as rumble strips and signage are installed.

MORE>>>The Missoulian