Archive | October, 2014

Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark: Part 1

Neither Empty Nor Unknown Editor’s Note: These are the kind of posts that happen when you turn a history major loose in a museum. These posts were inspired by, and draw heavily on, an exhibit at the Montana Historical Society in Helena. Neither Empty Nor Unknown is an incredible exhibit that examines what life in […]

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Helena’s Beginnings: This Day in History

In July of 1864, four down-on-their-luck prospectors chanced across gold in the Prickly Pear Valley, a wide, peopleless valley just east of the Continental Divide.  By October, that same stretch of barren gulch was a virtual metropolis, teaming with miners, merchants, and prostitutes.  The region’s citizens realized that they needed to turn their mining camp […]

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Montana’s First Residents

The Montana Constitution of 1972 recognizes the importance to protect Montana’s unique Indian heritage through education. Yet I (along with most people I know) managed to escape high school with next to no understanding of Montana’s twelve Indian tribes. The 1972 Constitution was little more than words. Teachers were left to their own devices as […]

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On Montanan Exceptionalism

I have a friend who was talking about a trip he took to Texas. “The problem, with Texans,” he said, “is that they are all so proud of Texas. They think that Texas is the best place ever.” “Montanans can be pretty arrogant when it comes to talking about our state too,” I replied. He […]

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When Montana Pretended it was Spanish

  Oddly, the Baroque gables and adobe walls of Boulder Hot Springs don’t look out of place nestled in the foothills south of Boulder. Something about Montana’s arid landscape lets the Alamo-esque style make sense. A little surprising, perhaps, but not outrageous. One could even assume, based on our state’s name and a number of […]

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A Montana Reading Roundup

You should know something about me: if I have the chance to reference A River Runs through It I will, even if that means spending an entire day rereading the book so that I can find a relevant quote. The obligation to read a lot of Montana literature is one of the two best things […]

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Charlie Russell: Painting the Frontier

One of my favorite Charlie Russell stories comes from an essay by Rick Newby called “Bookmen of the Montana Frontier:” “Early in the twentieth century, Montana folklore has it, a Helena couple visiting Paris stumbled upon Charlie Russell in the galleries of the Louvre. Russell greeted them warmly but begged them not to mention to […]

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