• The Fort Peck Theatre first opened as a movie theater 80 years ago. Photo by Erik Petersen

    Did you know? Fort Peck Theatre edition

    We told you about the wild popularity of Fort Peck’s summer theater in our May/June issue.

    It’s a place that draws thousands of theater-goers each night it shows a play.

    “Always… Patsy Kline” opened on Friday and is the first of five plays this summer.

    Given the past successful seasons, it’s like that thousands of people headed for Fort Peck last night.

    Always...Patsy ClineTucked away in the northeastern corner of Montana, the 1,200-seat theater has been entertaining audiences for 45 years. But lately it’s attracting more and more people to the area hailing from neighboring states and, more frequently, foreign countries.

    But did you know that the Fort Peck Theatre was built in 1934 as a movie house to entertain workers building the Fort Peck Dam?

    Here’s a little more about the theater’s history:

    During the “Dam Days” movies ran 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It stands as a historic tribute to that era.  However, the theatre continues to remain a vital part of our community for culture and education to our residents and visitors, for today, and hopefully into the future.

     Maintaining the beauty and safety of the theatre building is very important.  To do this, the Fort Peck Theatre Preservation Endowment was established.  All gifts received are held in the Fort Peck Theatre Endowment Fund administered by the Montana Community Foundation, a professional money manager.  Donations are invested to earn interest and capital appreciation, with minimal risk.  The interest earnings received are used to maintain the integrity, beauty, and safety of the There.  Maintaining the building can be costly, but necessary to preserve the history of our area.

    Learn more about the current show here

    Jenna

  • Reader photo favorites: Signs of summer

    When does summer time really begin?

    Is it Memorial Day camping trip? Is it the first blooming Bitterroot? Is it the first dip in a Montana lake?

    Whatever you decide, we’ve got a set of photos to help bring on that summer mood, courtesy of our wonderful Facebook fans.

    Blooming Bitterroot. Photo by Robin K. Ha'o

    Blooming Bitterroot. Photo by Robin K. Ha’o

     

    Rufous hummingbird. Photo by Mary Kujawa

    Rufous hummingbird. Photo by Mary Kujawa

     

    Happy kit. Photo by Paul Wear

    Happy kit. Photo by Paul Wear

     

    Loon Lake. Photo by Robert Hosea, TheBobFactor.com

    Loon Lake. Photo by Robert Hosea, TheBobFactor.com

     

    Pine cone buds. Photo by Teri Garrison-Kinsman

    Pine cone buds. Photo by Teri Garrison-Kinsman

  • songs

    Big Sky Country hits: 11 songs about Montana

    You can get your YouTube fix and daydream about Montana all at the same time thanks to this roundup of the best 11 songs about Montana.

    There’s some heavy-hitter artists who have sang about the Big Sky State, including Willie Nelson and John Denver (see below).

    The list includes some contemporary artists too, including a song from Helena native Colin Meloy’s Decemberists.

    Now that’d you’ve see that list, what’d we forget?

    – Jenna

  • Volunteer Nathan May holds up a .50-70 cartridge case he uncovered on Wednesday, one of the few unearthed by late afternoon. Photo by James Woodcock

    Battlefield science: History-minded group combs Rosebud Battlefield

    Battlefield science and the art of excising history from places of war has made leaps and bounds in the past years. Advancements were on display at the Rosebud Battlefield last week when a group gathered to comb the land for clues about the history made there during the Indian Wars.

    Billings Gazette reporter Brett French was there in what is now the Rosebud Battlefield State Park where an intense battle took place before the infamous 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn was fought.

    By lining up, the volunteers hope to cover most of the ground with metal detectors. The public is not allowed to use metal detectors to search for artifacts at the state park. Photo by James Woodcock

    By lining up, the volunteers hope to cover most of the ground with metal detectors. The public is not allowed to use metal detectors to search for artifacts at the state park. Photo by James Woodcock

    Holding the corroded, dirt-filled piece of metal up to a small magnifying glass, Doug Scott confirmed what the volunteers surrounding him had waited almost breathlessly to hear.

    “It is what it’s supposed to be,” the historical ballistics expert said. “That’s a .50-70 fired in a Sharps, so definitely Indian.”

    The survey group led by Scott also inspected a swath of the park burned by a wildfire in 2013.

    “There were Cat lines through a battlefield site, which wasn’t good,” said Sara Scott, Heritage Resources Program manager for Montana State Parks. “The following year they went through and rehabbed it, and now it looks pretty good.”

    Artifacts unearthed at the Rosebud Battlefield included a 50 caliber cartridge, brass bead and a flint fire starter. Photo by James Woodcock

    Artifacts unearthed at the Rosebud Battlefield included a 50 caliber cartridge, brass bead and a flint fire starter. Photo by James Woodcock

    Before the dozer line was revegetated, Jim Bosse, a state parks volunteer, surveyed the overturned dirt for artifacts. He collected about 20 bullets and cartridge cases from the era of the battle.

    “It was amazing,” Bosse said. “History comes to life right before your eyes.”

    Read the rest of the story here.

    Get more Montana history all year by subscribing to Montana Magazine today.

     

  • Montana places to explore during Memorial Day weekend

     

    It’s a long weekend and a weekend that launches us into the wonderful time of year that is summer in Montana.

    If you’re looking for some inspiration to explore, we’ve some Montana beauty to share:

    • Take in a sunset. Photographer Alex Sholes caught this one near Stockett and shared it with us on our Facebook page. More of our favorite reader photos are here
    By Alex Sholes Photography

    By Alex Sholes Photography

     

  • The 35,000-square-foot building was constructed as a two-story post office in 1932, with the federal courthouse added on top during Prohibition. When Whitacre and his wife bought the building, water from the roof had extensively damaged much of the interior, but the basic structure was still sound. Photo by Tom Bauer

    H is for… Havre, where family restores crumbling court house

    It’s home of the Blue Ponies and one of Hi-Line’s most populated towns.

    Havre is also a place where one entrepreneurial family has renovated a once crumbling court house into a mix-used dwelling and gathering space.

    Missoulian reporter Cory Walsh has the story and photographer Tom Bauer has the photos in the ongoing newspaper Montana A to Z series.

    Marc Whitacre stands in the former federal courtroom that's being transformed into his family's great room, which will incorporate the kitchen into one corner. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Marc Whitacre stands in the former federal courtroom that’s being transformed into his family’s great room, which will incorporate the kitchen into one corner. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Eye doctors Marc Whitacre and Erica Farmer found Havre several years ago and purchased the old building.

    The building, which sits on Third Avenue in Havre’s historic downtown district, was originally constructed as a two-story post office.

    During Prohibition, Whitacre said, this Hi-Line town close to the Canadian border saw such a high volume of bootlegging and related arrests that a third floor was added for a federal courthouse, since it was cheaper than bringing the accused to Great Falls to face justice.

    • Of course, Havre isn’t the only H town in Montana. Can you name the other H towns across Montana? Here’s some help.

    The family’s upgrades have been both historically and creative minded.

    “The part that’s maintainable is the logic. It’s all relays,” he said. “There’s no solid-state electronics here. It’s all relays, transformers or fuel resistors and capacitors. It’s all technology that’s well-described. You can buy books on the subject, which I own. And I do all the maintenance work on the elevator that I can.”

    Whitacre stands in the former federal courtroom that's being transformed into his family's great room, which will incorporate the kitchen into one corner. Photo by Tom Bauer

    Whitacre stands in the former federal courtroom that’s being transformed into his family’s great room, which will incorporate the kitchen into one corner. Photo by Tom Bauer

    By state law, he keeps schematics posted in the mechanical room above the elevator shaft, where you can also manually raise or lower the elevator.

    (It’s labeled in case he’s the one stuck in the elevator: “Remove cap to winch.”)

    Read the entire story here.

    Jenna

  • Cecily Eagleton looks over Helen Lake at sunrise. Photo by Seth Eagleton

    Before They’re Gone: Local photographer looks to document Glacier’s glaciers

    Our May/June Park-to-Park issue featured an interesting and artistic photo Portfolio, that follows the work of a photography who has dedicated his summers to finding and documenting the glaciers inside of Glacier National Park.

    That’s because Seth Eagleton sees the glaciers shrinking.

    Whether the 25 glaciers remaining inside Glacier are gone in 5 years or 20, their retreat is changing the face of the Crown of the Continent.

    “When I was hiking around in high school there was 35 (glaciers),” Eagleton said. “At the turn of last century, there were 150, they’re fading fast.”

    Jackson Glacier is one of the many glaciers Seth Eagleton has photographer for his Glacier Preservation Project. Photo by Seth Eagleton

    Jackson Glacier is one of the many glaciers Seth Eagleton has photographer for his Glacier Preservation Project. Photo by Seth Eagleton

    Rather than get political, Eagleton got creative and started the Glacier Preservation Project to hike to and photograph each remaining glacier.

    His photos make up our May/June Portfolio. The full story is online now. To see the entire spread of photos, subscribe today.

    Eagleton has started a Kickstarter project to cover the costs of creating a book about the project.

    “I’m not trying to push a bunch of controversial subjects, the fact is we’re losing our glaciers,” he said. “We’re going to lose them and whether it’s in 5 years or 10 years – I’m not a scientist, I’m good at observation – it would just be a shame if we didn’t have something to remember them by.”

  • Geyser gazers stand in front of Fan and Mortar geysers in Yellowstone. Photo by Ryan Maurer

    Meet Yellowstone’s faithful Geyser Gazers

    Some people love watching wildlife. Some people love chasing storms.

    Some people, as we told readers in our May/June issue, love gazing at geysers

    Our “Faithful Gazers” story introduces a set of people who have fallen in love with the immense set of geysers in Yellowstone National Park. Their work to observe and record the geyser behavior is going a long way to help park staff and visitors learn about the geysers.

    It’s a really cool story about a set of cool people (subscribe today to get all our full stories).

    Old Faithful. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    Old Faithful. Photo by Kurt Wilson

    But first what, exactly, is a geyser? We’re glad you asked:

    Geysers are hot springs with constrictions in their plumbing, usually near the surface, that prevent water from circulating freely to the surface where heat would escape.

    There are more geysers in Yellowstone National Park than anywhere else on the planet.

    Though born of the same water and rock, what is enchanting is how differently they play in the sky. Riverside Geyser, in the Upper Geyser Basin, shoots at an angle across the Firehole River, often forming a rainbow in its mist. Castle erupts from a cone shaped like the ruins of some medieval fortress. Grand explodes in a series of powerful bursts, towering above the surrounding trees. Echinus spouts up and out to all sides like a fireworks display of water. And Steamboat, the largest in the world, pulsates like a massive steam engine in a rare, but remarkably memorable eruption, reaching heights of 300 to 400 feet.

    – Courtesy of the National Parks Service

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