Glacier Park Murals: The Challenge of Restoring Park Heritage
Plenty of mysteries surround famous works of art, and one of those is set in Glacier National Park.
Fifteen murals once graced the walls of Glacier Park Lodge, paintings that bear no signatures or date but that nonetheless preserve a slice of Montana history.
With documentation placing the paintings from the early 1900s, the murals depict Glacier Park’s trademark peaks, lakes and alpine meadows.
But at nearly a century old, the watercolor paintings show their years. So Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell acquired the murals to restore and return them to public viewing for the first time in about 60 years.
To read more about the work to preserve the history of Glacier National Park through the murals, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.
Warrior in the Ring: Looking back with Marvin Camel
Marvin Camel’s story was centuries in the making.As a young man, Marvin Camel had many dreams, and by those dreams the course of his future was guided. His course would not be complete if set apart from the historical context of the American Indian.The truth is, he was born to boxing the way Satchmo Armstrong was born to music.It’s acceptable to call Marvin a “flathead.” Or, more accurately, a “Flathead,” for that’s the reservation from which he hails. His Indian name is “Strong Leader,” or that’s a close translation, according to Marvin.
To find out how Marvin Camel became one of Montana’s most colorful boxing legends, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Paris Gibson in the Land of Opportunity
The enduring legacy of Paris Gibson — founder of Great Falls, United States senator, pioneering sheep rancher — began at a waterfall in Minnesota. Gibson was 24 at the time, enjoying a break from running his family’s homestead near Brownfield, Maine.
Two years earlier he’d graduated from Bowdoin College with honors as part of the class of 1852, and his father, Abel Gibson, a prominent farmer, lumberyard owner and former captain in the War of 1812, had encouraged his youngest son to leave the East Coast and build a home in “the new western land of opportunity.”
Gibson didn’t hesitate and headed west. He got as far as Illinois before receiving a message to return home immediately: His father had died.
Dutifully, Gibson returned home and took over the family farm, Gibson Place.To find out how Gibson made it to what would become Great Falls, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Viva La Vida: A wheat success story
The hamlets of Vida, Montana, and Reeder, North Dakota, are isolated rural communities.
Vida, population 206, sits a few miles south of Wolf Point in northeastern Montana. Reeder, in the southwestern corner of North Dakota along U.S. Highway 12, is home for 162. This is dryland-farming country, where crops must tolerate weather and climate to survive or die.
The villages are located in this nation’s two largest spring wheat-producing states – think baked goodies such as bagels, scones, cinnamon rolls, home-baked bread. Yet the towns’ existence is not widely known.
Now, because of a desired trait in the wheat varieties named after them, Vida and Reeder may well become famous among plant scientists searching for foundational genes to combat looming higher temperatures in July – the critical growth period for spring wheat on the Great Northern Plains.
To find out more about “stay green” wheat, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Wild, Wild Western: Film and Literature in Montana
From the time that the American West was ‘settled,’ the events of that pioneering time have often been elevated to a form of romantic heroism seldom seen in world literature. Even the outlaws of the West became big, bold figures who bravely faced down adversity to accomplish feats noble and enviable.
The Western identity has been suffering from this misguided attempt at revisionist history ever since. Rather than telling the story of the West in a way that was authentic and accurate, writers often surrendered to the stereotypes that were born in those early days. And sadly, these stereotypes continue to be swallowed whole and regurgitated by writers and artists and moviemakers who have never even been out West, much less immersed themselves in its culture.
To read the rest of Rowland’s Wild Western Essay, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Native American Ledger Art
The Bureau of Indian Affairs agents and others conducting commerce on the frontier in the late 1800s never imagined the pages of their accounting ledgers and mundane business forms would become backgrounds for what are now rare works of Native American art of historical significance.
Even though often filled with neatly penned Spenserian entries, the recycled papers allowed the indigenous Plains Indians to continue their pictorial tradition of depicting important battles and other major events previously recorded on animal hides and as pictographs on rock walls.
Ledger art originated at a time when the entire culture of Native Americans was being threatened by continued conflict with the U. S. government from the mid- to late 1800s. At the same time, the preferred hide of the buffalo had been hunted almost to extinction. In the hands of Native American chiefs and warriors who traditionally did the artwork, commercially available colored pencils, crayons and inks replaced mineral and plant pigments found on the prairies, resulting in poignant imagery rich in detail.
To learn more about the rich history and ledger art artists of Montana, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.
Portfolio by Jason Savage: Winter in Montana
Jason Savage started his photography career focusing on landscape. It was the richness of landscape that brought the Washington native to Montana to live and work.
In recent years he has expanded his attention to wildlife photography, but he contends that he approaches the subject with the eye of a landscape photographer.
To view Jason’s full portfolio, find this issue on newsstands. To read more Montana all year, subscribe now.