People & Place

  • Get to Know a County: Sanders County

    By Bryan Spellman
    Perhaps the most famous resident of Sanders County is David Thompson. Sent by the British Crown with the aim of beating Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Thompson has been described as the most important geographer you’ve never heard of. He founded a trading post near the town that bears his name, Thompson Falls, the seat of Sanders County, and many other county features bear his name.
  • Three Snapshots of Underwater Montana

    By Nick Mitchell
    The sky turns slate as thick, billowing clouds gather darkly in the east, blowing in from the Panthalassic Sea. The insects hush, suddenly, moments before sheets of warm rain begin to fall, dappling the leaves and disturbing the surface of the waters.
  • Stuart's Stranglers

    By Nick Mitchell
    A cabal of rich cattlemen met in Helena in 1883 to discuss what was to be done. There were plenty who had reason to want the horse thieves taken care of—among them Granville Stuart, cattle baron, politician, and sometime vigilante.
  • Get To Know Deer Lodge County

    By Bryan Spellman, With Photos By the Author
    Alas, that site indicates that it has no information on Crackerville but does mention Gregson being two miles away. Gregson I’ve heard of. There is even an I-90 exit for Gregson, which takes you to Fairmont Hot Springs.
  • The Powder River Kid

    By Lin Vargo
    The Powder River Kid was quick to temper and drew his gun with lightning speed and accuracy and down his adversary would go. He knew many outlaws and fast guns in his lifetime, and called them by their first names.
  • Joe McDonald [1933 - 2023]

    By Doug Stevens
    Joe was raised along Post Creek, north of Saint Ignatius, bordering historic Fort Connah on the Flathead Reservation. He was the great-grandson of Angus McDonald, a Scottish fur trapper who settled in the Mission Valley and established Fort Connah in 1846
  • Get To Know Powder River County

    By Bryan Spellman
    With the exception of 1970, Powder River County has lost population every decade since 1930, when 3,909 folk lived in the county. That count placed it at number 46 in the state, but somehow the county ended up with 9 on its license plates. 
  • Anaconda, Prettiest Little Town in Southwest Montana

    By Sherman Cahill
    It feels like the sort of place where scenes from Norman Rockwell play out behind every closed door. There’s street after street of adorable homes nested in beautifully maintained yards, watched over by lovely old neighborhood churches.
  • Montana American Legion’s Highway Fatality Markers Program

    By Holly Matkin, with Photos by the Author
    They stand solemnly alongside the state’s highways and interstates, flashing by with no particular cadence—one cross here, another six miles down the road, a cluster of five attached to a single post 50 miles later.
  • Paving Montana

    By Ednor Therriault, with photos by Tom Rath
    The Good Roads advocates wanted better, smoother roads for the popular new craze sweeping the nation: the bicycle. At the forefront of this effort was the League of American Wheelmen (LAW), which had been lobbying for better roads since 1880.
  • A Brief History of Passenger Rail Service in Montana

    By Shawn Vicklund
    Let's go back in time to understand the future. The year is 1883, and American railroads were transporting moving passengers over thousands of miles of rail lines that covered North America. Since the first railway 56 years earlier in 1827, railroads were now shrinking travel time between cities from days down to hours.
  • Get To Know Blaine County

    By Bryan Spellman
    Roughly 15 miles south of Chinook, you will find one unit of the Nez Perce National Historic Park. The park, also known as the Nee-Me-Poo Trail, commemorates the 1877 trek made by 750 Non-Treaty Nez Perce Indians from Joseph, Oregon to the Bears Paw Mountains.
  • Montana's Grain Elevators

    By Teresa Otto
    Across the Great Plains in both the U.S. and Canada, up to 30,000 prairie skyscrapers dotted the landscape during their heyday in the 1920s and 1930s. Today only about a third of the old wooden grain elevators are left. 
  • Through the eyes of Native American Women Warriors

    By Maria Munro-Schuster
    All around were reminders of her Crow Reservation upbringing: sheep and wells, tall dry grasses, houses not that different from her own. “It helped me identify with the place,” she recalled, “...even on the Rez you have to be careful.”
  • Warrior Spirit: Celebrating Native American Veterans

    By Ellen Baumler
    While some of Montana’s Indian veterans have been individually honored, the contributions of many others remain unrecognized. The Warrior Spirit Project Consortium, created in 2019, aims to change that.
  • Knights of the Tie and Rail

    By Joseph Shelton
    Names were given to ways of life that would have seemed fantastic at the dawn of the previous century: hobos, tramps, yeggs or yaggmen, bums, bindlestiffs, gentlemen of the road, knights of the tie and rail. 
  • Telling "The Story of Butte"

    By Sherman Cahill
    There are, at the time of this writing, 329 separate entries in the Story of Butte database, with more coming all the time. In addition to discrete entries, there are also many tours that organize locations into a series of stops that tell a fuller story, such as the 11 locations featured in the Murder of Frank Little tour.
  • The Lakota Delegation: Portraits from 1868 - 1877

    By Douglas Schmittou
    Studio photographs of Spotted Tail’s wife and Running Antelope, a Hunkpapa headman, were taken by Gardner in Washington, D.C., during 1872. Running Antelope was splendidly dressed in a magnificent quilled shirt, peace medal, dentalia-shell ear pendants, otter-fur hair wraps, and three eagle feathers, one of which bears specific war-exploit markings.