• The Frey family on the southwest side of Great Falls in the early 1930s. A photographer would bring the cart and goat to homes, take a picture and create a postcard for families to purchase. Photo submitted by Joleen Frey

    Montana history buffs, this list is for you

    We’ve only started scratching the surface this week during our celebration of Montana’s history in the 150 years since it became a territory.

    There’s plenty more to learn. Once again, writer Jesse Zentz (have you checked out his story in our May/June issue yet?) has an awesome list of sources where you can find out more about Montana.

    It begins with the wonderful Montana Historical Society:

    Montana Historical Society

    Founded only a year after Montana became a territory, the Montana Historical Society is an unrivaled historical resource. Located in Helena, the Montana Historical Society Museum is home to an incredible collection of fine art and historical artifacts. You can visit the museum throughout the year. Learn more online at www.MontanaHistoricalSociety.org.

    Humanities Montana

    At www.HumantiesMontana.com, you can find information about events happening throughout the state, learn about a variety of grants and resources available, and much more.

    Your local library

    Montana’s libraries are full of amazing collections about Montana history, and thanks to a great online resource at www.MyMontanaLibrary.com, finding your local library is only a couple mouse clicks away. Most of the books mentioned above are available, along with many others.

    Take a road trip or a walk around town

    Located throughout Montana along some of the busiest highways and the lonely ones, too, the Montana Department of Transportation’s roadside signs offer some great historical tidbits about geological happenings in the state’s history. You can visit http://www.mdt.mt.gov/travinfo/geomarkers.shtml to find the signs.

    - Jenna

    • Dorrington_William_2jpeg

      William Dorrington was considered a Glacier Park Ranger before it was a national park. Photo submitted by Randy Dorrington

    • Joleen Frey

      The Frey family on the southwest side of Great Falls in the early 1930s. A photographer would bring the cart and goat to homes, take a picture and create a postcard for families to purchase. Photo submitted by Joleen Frey

    • Jurovich_clan_Washoe

      The Jurovich family near Washoe circa 1935. Photo submitted by Ron See

    • snowmobile

      Sidney postal carrier Andy Kappel with the Model T he outfitted with a pair of skis and idler wheels so he could complete his route during the winters of the 1930s. Submitted by Earl Simonson

    • swiftcurrent_pass_ranger_dorrington_(2)

      William Dorrington at Swiftcurrent Pass. Dorrington was considered a Glacier Park Ranger before it was a national park. Photo submitted by Randy Dorrington

    Pictured in History: Montana of the early years

    We love featuring historic photos of the faces and places of Montana inside the pages of the print editions. Most come for our readers, who share sentimental and rare images of their families and friends that have been passed down through generations. They’re special pieces of the state’s history.

    We’ve compiled a few of the “Pictured in History” shots here to help continue to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Montana Territory. Many of the photos here are taken in the 1930s to the 1940s.

    As we found when researching the story of the 150th anniversary of the Montana Territory, there weren’t many cameras or photographers present in the west during the 1860s. Portraits were much more common than candid shots or scenic shots. With the help of the Montana Historical Society we were able to run some shots of early territory towns, such as Virginia City.

    Inside our May/June issue, we also have a portrait of Calamity Jane.

    Turns out that Calamity Jane may have had a long history in Montana. This is from writer Jesse Zentz:

    Known mostly for her time spent with Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, S.D., Egan said he found newspaper evidence in the Montana Post placing Calamity Jane – then Martha Jane Cannary – in Virginia City in December 1864. He said an article in the December 31, 1864, issue of the Montana Post indicates she was only 8 years old and begging on the streets of Virginia City. 

    - Jenna

  • ‘All things mountainous’: How Montana became Montana

    The simplest Spanish translation of the word Montana is “all things mountainous.”

    But just how did the Montana of today get its name 150 years ago? The wonderful Kim Briggeman, a reporter for the Missoulian, has a great story on the naming of what is sometimes also called the Big Sky State.

    We’re celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Montana Territory this week (it was May 26, 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the legislation creating the territory).

    Since, of course, a lot has happened.

    We’ve included part of the story in our May/June issue. If you want to know more, writer Jesse Zentz put together a list of books that delve deeper into a wide variety of Montana history subjects.

    Montana history recommended reading list:

    Montana 1864, by Kenneth Egan (due out in September 2014), explores the year Montana became a territory in detail, giving special attention to tribal nations.

    Montana: High, Wide, and Handsome, by Joseph Kinsey Howard, is a history book about Montana, but often reads like a novel and provides readers with detailed descriptions and a unique take on this state’s past.

    The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology, edited by William Kittredge and Annick Smith, features a compilation of some of the very best writing about Montana, which is home to a surprising number of true literary artists.

    downloadMontana Territory and the Civil War, by Ken Robison, introduces readers to many of the people touched by the Civil War who populated Montana, demonstrating the incredible impact the events in the eastern United States had on the territory and state.

    Montana: A History of Two Centuries, by Michael P. Malone, Richard B Roeder, William L. Lang, offers a general but comprehensive textbook-style history of Montana.

    Territorial Politics and Government in Montana 1864-89, by Clark C. Spence, offers a close look at Montana’s early political landscape that eventually led to statehood in 1889.

    Montana: An Uncommon Land, by K. Ross Toole, provides another take on Montana history that’s as enjoyable to read as it is informative.

    - Jenna

  • Bowser Brewing  Co. and Montgomery Disillery share close ties. Photos by Jessica Lowry

    Whiskey-loving grandpa inspires creation of distillery, brewery

    If you live in Great Falls or Missoula you’ve probably tried Bowser Brewing Co.’s craft brews (Great Falls) or Montgomery Distillery’s craft spirits (Missoula).

    Bowser and Montgomery boast one-of-a-kind Montana made drinks and both are steadily growing as more and more people discover their stuff.

    As writer and photographer Jessica Lowry tells us in the May/June issue, for the founders of the businesses, the connections goes a little deeper.  The founders of the businesses are cousins who’ve used their grandfather’s Montana, legacy, love of a good drink and hard working attitude to make their businesses thrive under the Big Sky.

    Evan Bowser, 29, as the owner of Bowser Brewing Company in Great Falls, and his cousin, Ryan Montgomery, 36, as the head of Montgomery Distillery in Missoula, operate businesses pouring finely crafted brews and spirits created from ingredients mostly found in Montana.

    But what exactly can you drink at Montgomery and Bowser? Lots of good stuff.

    At Montgomery, one of the house cocktails favorites is the Go Gingerly (pictured in the May/June issue). It includes the distillery’s Whyte Ladie gin, muddled ginger and basil, grapefruit and lemon, ginger syrup and grapefruit bitters (I’ve had it, it’s great).

    At Bowser, one of the most popular brews is the Farmers Daughter Strawberry Blonde  - a German ale with a strawberry twist. Bowser  is known for its prolific brew list, which you can explore on the website. If you get a chance to go to Bowser, you can try a sampler served on trays handmade by Evan’s father, Rich.


    - Jenna




    • Buds above the Flathead River. Photo by Robin K. Hao
    • Spring runoff near Libby. Photo by Natatum Haines

      Spring runoff near Libby. Photo by Natatum Haines

    • Plowing Cooke Pass in early May. Photo by Mike Holt

      Plowing Cooke Pass in early May. Photo by Mike Holt

    • It

      It's getting green in Northwestern Montana. Photo by Robin K. Hao

    • First morel sighting of the season. Photo by Natatum Haines

      First morel sighting of the season. Photo by Natatum Haines

    • Robin eggs are the prettiest blue. Photo by George Tillman Photography

      Robin eggs are the prettiest blue. Photo by George Tillman Photography

    Spring scenes: A photo gallery to help you thaw out

    As Montana continues to thaw out from another cold winter, we thought it’d be nice to share some spring scenes with you, courtesy of our great Facebook friends who continually share their images from across Montana with us.

    A special thanks to Robin K. Hao for the beautiful images of the Flathead River and “Getting Green” in Northwestern Montana; Mike Holt for the image of the Cooke Pass plows; George Tillman for the image of the robin nest; and Natatum Haines for the image of the spring runoff near Libby.


    - Jenna 

  • MT Mag book reviews: Premium page turners

    Bad Luck Way Montana Magazine

    “Badluck Way” by Bryce Andrews.

    There’s probably not a lot of people who read more than Montana Magazine’s ace book reviewer Doug Mitchell, who writes the Montana book features for each issue.

    But if you’re looking for some good readin’ here’s Doug’s reviews for our May/June issue.

    Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom so you can read a really great Q&A with Badluck Way author Bryce Andrews. Doug asks Andrews about his motivations to write the books, and about Andrew’s conflicting feelings about the role of ranching and the role of wolves across Montana’s farmlands.

    As Doug writes:

    In Badluck Way author and ranch hand Bryce Andrews moves the debate from policy to practice as he shares with us his year working on the Sun Ranch in the magnificent Madison Valley. In doing so, Andrews challenges us to see these debates differently because, as is often the case, the reality of a real-life decision is very different than an intellectual one.

    But to describe Andrews’ book as a useful and interesting academics-meets-real-life story is to significantly diminish the accomplishments of this first book from a very gifted writer.

    You can read more of Doug’s reviews here.


    - Jenna

  • Ready, Set, Go! to the Thompson River Chain of Lakes

    Thompson Chain of Lakes Montana Magazine

    The water of Horseshoe Lake is clear, quiet and vibrantly colored. Photo by Cathie and Gordon Sullivan

    It’s still early spring – not quite camping weather for most of us – but those beautiful and sunny spring days make it hard not to start thinking about those summer rec plans.

    If you’re looking for ideas, we’ve got a good one in the May/June issue of Montana Magazine where Gordon and Cathie Sullivan tell us about the Thompson River Chain of Lakes in between Libby and Kalispell.

    We’re calling it the perfect tranquil retreat.

    Like a brilliant string of emeralds, the lakes thread throughout 3,000 heavily forested acres pressed between the Salish Mountains to the north and the rugged Cabinet Mountains to the south.

    Experts like Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Gael Bissell will tell you the remote Thompson River Chain of Lakes is not only a beautiful and restful recreation spot, but also represents an important stronghold for common loons, those well-dressed birds of distinction.

     Among lakes to experience nesting loons is Little McGregor, Horseshoe, Island and Lower Thompson, but approach with extreme caution and stay well outside the bright yellow buoys for best encounters. Foggy spring mornings are best. Other loon sittings can occur on almost any of the lakes in the chain.

    Here’s how to find the Thompson River Chain of Lakes



  • Montana Territory

    Time to celebrate with the May/June issue

    We’ve got history. We’ve got horses. We’ve got places to play. We’ve got food. The May/June issue of Montana Magazine has a lot to celebrate and it’s ready to read now.

    With all there is to read, a couple celebrations take center stage. First, writer Jesse Zentz takes us back in time to the Montana of 1864 – when the area was officially granted territory status 150 years ago. It was the Wild West no doubt. Also, writers Kristen Inbody and Erin Madison take us back in time and explain the conception of Montana State Parks. The system is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and we’re encouraging everyone to get out and explore the 54 parks spread across the state.

    That’s just a sliver of the stories included in the May/June issue.

    All our preview content is up at MontanaMagazine.com. If you’re looking for a full print copy, check out our list of vendor locations.


    - Jenna


    Giant Springs State Park Montana Magazine

    Giant Springs State Park in Great Falls. Photo by Roland Taylor

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