Postcard Portraits of Pioneers
Story by Ednor Therriault, Photos courtesy of Philip Burgess
Blood-chilling blizzards. Withering heat waves. Starved-out livestock. Parched terrain that stubbornly refused to support a decent crop of anything.
The badlands of northeastern Montana could seem as inhospitable as the moon, but that didn’t keep thousands of homesteaders from making their way westward after the Civil War, hoping to find their fortune or simply scratch a living out of a 320-acre parcel of government-granted land.
Imagine doing it all while wearing a dress.
Montana author Philip Burgess’s latest book, Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, chronicles the journey of two Minnesota sisters who did just that, leaving their town of Norwegian transplants to seek the autonomy promised by claiming a chunk of land in the harsh territory of eastern Montana.
To read the entire feature on Penny Post Cards and Prairie Flowers, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.
Enduring art from the New Deal
Story by Marilyn Jones
Born and raised in Deer Lodge, painter Elizabeth Lochrie completed an art degree at Pratt Institute before returning to Montana to raise her family and pursue what became a storied art career.
Best known for her portraits of local Native Americans, the bulk of Lochrie’s work is featured in Montana’s Museum and Holter Museum of Art, both in Helena.
But one of Lochrie’s works remains on prominent public display thanks to a unique government project aimed at boosting the arts during the Depression.
It stands inside the Dillon Post Office lobby, a place usually bustling as people hurry to conduct their business.
Like the “”News from the States” mural painted by Lochrie in Dillon in 1938, wall murals painted by American artists dating back to the 1930s and early 40s are on display across Montana, giving those hurried customers an excuse to pause. Many of works were painted by artists considered the best of their generation.
To read the entire feature on Montana’s post office murals, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.
Beloved Bar: Historic Miles City watering hole has new owner
Story by Cathy Moser, Photos by Jackie Jensen
Why would a young, first-time bar owner rejoice in the responsibility of owning a century-old bar? Why would he relish the duties of not only being entrusted with upholding its reputation as a respectable place to drink and socialize, but as curator of its traditions and impressive collection of Old West artifacts?
“I love this bar,” Blake Mollman said unabashedly.
Perhaps, then, it was fate when Mollman and his cousin trailed a pretty girl to Miles City in 2006 and Mollman found himself striding into the Montana Bar on Main Street.
Mollman soon found himself bartending there. Soon after that, he was promoted to assistant manager. While working all those day and night shifts, he learned that Scotsman James Kenney opened the upscale bar in 1908, and that it is a beloved Miles City institution where the dark tones of much of the bar’s original furnishings continue to uphold its rich Western heritage.
Mollman also came to learn that someday he’d like to own the Montana Bar.
“Someday” came for 31-year-old Mollman in August 2013 when former owner Currie Colbin decided he wanted to sell the place.
To read the entire feature on the Montana Bar, find this issue on newsstands now. To read more about Montana all year, subscribe now.
Sneak peek: Cowboys and grizzlies and murals, oh my!
It’s hard to believe but we just sent our March/April issue to the printers, and it’ll begin to arrive in mailboxes around March 1.
The “early spring” issue, as we like to call it, features a story about the Wild Horse Stampede in Wolf Point. I mention it first because (spoiler alert!) we chose one of photographer Lynn Donaldson’s amazing photos from the event for our cover.
The Stampede is legendary across Montana for many things, including its rodeo and its wild horse races. You’ll learn more about both in writer Rich Peterson’s feature.
Also featured in the upcoming issue is a story about Casey Anderson, a Helena native who is now the host of the popular National Geographic Channel series “America the Wild.” Anderson, by the way, also has a very unusual best friends. Writer Corinne Garcia will introduce the Casey’s best bud, Brutus the Bear, in the story as well.
We’ve also got several mail-themed stories, including a story about the six Depression-era murals that were painted across Montana, as well as a feature on sisters Anna and Dikka Lee, who settled in Montana during the late 1800s and sent postcards to women back East to keep in touch. It’s a rare glimpse into the lives of pioneer women.
There’s a lot more to enjoy, and we’re so excited for the March/April issue to get to our readers. Keep checking back here, too, for online extras and more blog posts.
Snowy dogs from across Montana
After the recent dump of snow we had in western Montana and the white winter they’ve had in eastern Montana, we couldn’t resist putting out a call to our Facebook friends asking for photos of their snowy dogs.
As you can see, they really delivered. Special thanks to Denise Roth Barber, Carol Kosovich Anderson, Beach Kowgirl, Meagan Thompson, Laura Mayer, Kat Grubbs, Tricia Hanson, Ken Barnedt, Debbie Perryman and Kate Nittinger (and their pups!) for sharing photos.
We hope you enjoy watching our slideshow as much as we enjoyed putting it together!
New Big Sky Spotlight highlights somebody (from MT) you should know
We started debuted a “department” in the first issue of 2014 called Big Sky Spotlight.
We have several departments, or standard story formats, that appear in most issues and we thought, why not add on featuring a Montanan you should know?
The idea is to give readers a quick look at a Montanan making a difference, creating beautiful art or just living the Montana Life.
And, we thought, we not let them answer a few questions for us while we’re at it?
Our inaugural Big Sky Spotlight featured Becky Hillier, a Miles City native who worked tirelessly for the past several years with a dedicated group of people to help hundreds of Montana WWII veterans take the trip of a lifetime to Washington, D.C.
We think it’s a great way to get to know our neighbors and Big Sky Spotlight is one of the few full features we’ll post at MontanaMagazine.com.
And with that, we’re already working on our second issue of 2014, which of course will feature a BSS. Spoiler alert: In March/April we’ll feature Billings area artists Clark Schriebies.