In which the Flag of the State of Montana is defended from all attackers

There are dark spots in Montana’s history. One in particular haunts me. A 2001 survey by the North American Vexillogical Association (more on them in a second) found that Montana’s state flag was the third-worst state flag in all of North America. Now, 2001 was basically a geologic age ago, but the survey was recently … Read more

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The la Vérendrye Brothers: the First Europeans in Montana (we think)

Most people assume that the written history of Montana starts with Lewis and Clark. I’ve said as much on this blog. Most people also assume that Lewis and Clark were the first whites to reach Montana. Neither of these assumptions are quite accurate. The first white men to set foot in what is now Montana … Read more

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Maximilian of Wied and Karl Bodmer: Instagram like it’s 1833

One of the first tourists to Montana was a man named Maximillian of Wied. Or, if you want to be more specific, Prince Maximillian Alexander Phillip of Wied-Neuwied. Unlike the Lewis and Clark Expedition or the fur trappers that followed, Maximillian did not come to explore or make money, he came simply to look around. … Read more

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Learning a Trapper’s and a Hunter’s Art from Frank Bird Linderman

Frank Linderman came to Montana 60 years too late. Linderman moved to Montana in 1885, at the age of 16. He came to escape the confines of civilization, looking for adventure and wilderness. Unfortunately, as we all know, Montana was a completely tame and civilized place by 1885. Ok, so that’s not entirely true. After … Read more

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Coming to Terms with Montana’s Modernism: Passing Judgement and Making Sweeping Statements about Modern Architecture

You may have noticed Montana’s modernist buildings, especially if you have spent any time around the campuses of the state. Modernist architecture is defined by blocky, flat-roofed buildings with unadorned aluminum beams dividing large pane windows, sometimes in different colors (and following no discernable pattern). Modernism emphasized functionality, and any sort of decoration on building … Read more

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A Homestead Christmas

In Christmastime in Montana, David Walter has compiled hundreds of stories and descriptions of Christmas celebrations from the archives of Montana history, and I was perusing it earlier this week. Wait, peruse means to “examine carefully and at length?” Never mind, I wasn’t perusing anything. I speed-skimmed Christmastime in Montana, on the search for blog-postable … Read more

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Concerning Ranchers

Ranchers are the same everywhere. In 2009, the Montana Stock Growers Association (MSGA) celebrated its 125th anniversary, and were looking for a way to commemorate the event. An obvious answer came to mind. Linda Grosslopf and Nancy Morrison compiled a book featuring 142 ranching families that have been ranching in Montana for over 100 years. … Read more

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Montana at the Time of Lewis and Clark: Part 3

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 Montana looked like during … Read more

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