Tuesday, May 10, 2011

X is for X-Crossing

According to answers.com there are 10 places in the United States that starts with the letter X.  The place in Montana that they list is X-Crossing.  It is located in Phillip County, at latitude 47.703 and longitude -107.783.  I found it on the internet but not in our atlas.

There is one other place in Montana that I think fits the X category if you stretch it.  It is actually Saint Xavier.  St. Xavier is a small community about 23 miles south of Hardin, MT on the Crow Reservation.  St Xavier, was founded by two Jesuit priests, in 1887.  There is an elementary school that serves the community for a 30 mile radius. 

Pretty Eagle, Crow War Chief
Pretty Eagle Catholic School was named after a Crow War Chief – Pretty Eagle.  A couple of years ago I attended the National Writing Project in Laurel, Montana.  One of our field trips took us to the Crow Reservation one of our stops was the Pretty Eagle School and Chapel, in St Xavier.  The architecture reflects the Crow Culture within the architecture of the chapel.

Monday, May 9, 2011

W is for Winnett, Montana

We go through Winnett on our way to Brusett from Billings.  In the 2000 census their was a population of 185 people in the community.  Winnett is the county seat for Petroleum County

In 2000 Petroleum County had a population of 493 people.   There are 56 counties in Montana.  Petroleum County is our least populous county and the 6th in the nation.  One interesting fact about Winnett is that it is the only town in the county.  Though there are also three unincorporated communities.

While looking to research Winnett I ran across two posts that were quite interesting and give a glimpse of the character of this community.  The first post is from the daily Montana http://www.dailymontana.com/2009/08/frontier-town.html .  In this post is a historic picture taken in 1916 when the population was about 2,000.

The second post came from Big Sky Fishing .com  http://www.bigskyfishing.com/Montana-Info/city-galleries/winnett-mt.shtm
The author talks about this rural community and shares a glimpse at the only hotel in town.  He focuses on the humor of the proprietor and tongue in cheek calls the community “a functioning ghost town”.

One of the things that always impressed me was the fact that Winnett has a public swimming pool.  Miles City a much bigger community can not say the same thing. A side note there are 4 oil wells currently being drilled in the local area of Winnett. The town has a county library and a fire department.

As you head either north or east from Winnett you head towards remote areas of Montana. 

Sunday, May 8, 2011

V is for Volborg, Montana

Volborg is  about 40 miles south of Miles City and has 1 post office, 1 store, 1 bar, and a couple of houses.  The one room school that serves this area is South Stacey Elementary and is about 20 miles south of Volborg. The town of Volborg is in Custer County.  The South Stacey school is in Powder River County.  My mother was one of the teachers that taught at this school.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

U is for Utica, Montana

Dan and I were talking about the A to Z Challenge, I think I was on F.  I was trying to figure out what I would do for “U”.  Dan took out his trusty atlas and said I think there is a town called “Utica”.  He looked a number of times before he found it.  Utica wasn’t in the index but it was on the map.

We were talking to a friend about Utica and Mark said Charlie Russell painted  “In Without Knocking” in Utica.  The landmarks in that picture were actually from “Old Town Stanford.”   Stanford is somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 miles from Utica.

I turned to the computer and looked up Charlie Russell and his paintings.  I found two about Utica.  The first one was painted in 1907 and is titled “Quiet Day In Utica”. Charlie Russell called it “Tin Canning a Dog”.  According to the “C M Russell Auto Tour” booklet the characters in the background are Russel himself, Jake Hoover, Milly Ringgold from Yogo Town and the owner of the mercantile, Charles Lehman.

According to the story Charles Lehman opened a new store in Lewistown, Montana.  His sons asked Charlie to paint a picture for their Dad.  They were expecting a small watercolor when Charlie presented them with the finished oil.  The story goes that the boys made installments to pay for the picture.

The other picture “The Cowboy Camp During Roundup” was painted in 1886 and depicts the community roundups.  Sometimes there was as many as 500 cowboys working the roundup.  According to the stories they were quite a rowdy bunch.

We decided to take a road trip during my Easter break since neither of us had ever been to Utica.  Utica is another place in Montana that you have to be going to Utica to get to Utica.  Dan was telling his sister about our planned road trip.  Patsy said oh don’t go now wait until the fall when they have the “What the Hay festival”.

Yes I looked that up.  It’s now called “Montana Bail Trail”.  We are making plans to go see it. Check out the link the sculptures are terrific. http://russell.visitmt.com/listings/14381.HTM

I was excited about our trip.  It was about 150 miles from Billings, MT.  When we got to Utica there were a few of the original buildings still standing.  Several were part of the museum.  I think the museum is open during the summer.

I read a number of the signs that were posted for visitors.  The area had had a large snow storm a day or so before we got there.  One of my pictures shows an almost then and now picture.  The old building and farm equipment and to the right is a trailer and mobile home.

We also stopped in Stanford.  One of the residents told us that “Old Town Stanford” burned in 1968.  In the early 1900’s the residents had moved the town to where it now stands in order to be closer to the railroad.  From there we went to Lewistown and spent the night at the Yogo Inn – great service and a terrific restaurant.

Did you catch the reference to Jake Hoover? Yep he was the guy who sent the Yogo Saphire’s to Tiffany’s.  Well he was also the man who took CM Russell in and helped him get established.  Charlie was 16 when they met.

After we had been talking about the trip, Dan remembered where he had heard the name Utica - he had read about it in one of the books that Charlie Russell wrote.  One of the signs telling about Utica, Montana said that early settlers named it for Utica, NY where they were from.   

We rode the "Russell Trail" the day we took our road trip.

Monday, May 2, 2011

T is for Three Forks

In 1805 the Corps of Discovery stopped in what is now Three Forks. Three tributaries – the Jefferson, the Madison, and the Gallatin – form the headwaters of the Missouri.  The rivers were named for President Jefferson, Secretary of State James Madison, and Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin.  Sacajawea recognized the area as where she was captured by the Hidatsas as a child.  Three Forks was traditional land of the Shoshone.

John Colter, one member of the Corps of Discovery came back to Three Forks to trap.  It was in this area that he had his encounter with the Blackfeet and he made his “naked” run in 1808.  Jack Gladstone has a song about Colter’s Run told from the Blackfeet point of view that I really enjoy.  John Colter was also the first white man to travel through what is now Yellowstone National Park.

Just outside of Three Forks is the Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli.  It is located at the intersection of I-90 and Highway 287 (Exit 274).  The flour that they use to make their baked goods comes from the wheat that grows on their family farm.  On their website they tell about holding the Guinness Record for taking standing wheat and turning it into bread in 8 minutes and 13 seconds.

One of their advertisements states that they are the 21st century equivalent to a stagecoach stop where people can refresh themselves.  So TRUE.  I always stop there if it is at all possible when I travel through the area.  They have good sandwiches; in my opinion their claim to fame is their pastries. 

My favorite is the caramel rolls.  The rolls are larger than a softball – about 4 inches across.  I love having them hot with butter drizzling down the side.  I savor each bite – a taste of ecstasy.  The caramel slides down your tongue teasing you until you have eaten the whole thing. 

Wheat Montana Bakery and Deli should have a sign posted outside – “Sin Sold Within”.

Enhanced by Zemanta