America’s North Country Trip~Part 8

8 Nov

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

 

 

Day 8 (Friday)

 

After a short drive west on I-90 this morning, I visited the World Museum of Mining located on the outskirts of Butte, MT. This museum is located on a 22-acre site of what is an inactive silver & zinc mine named the Orphan Girl. As part of the museum, there is a 37- building reconstruction of a typical mining town called “Hell Roarin’ Gulch” which displays thousands of articles common to the miner’s way of life in the early 1890’s. I didn’t try to walk on the cobble-stoned streets, and stuck to the boardwalks on either side of the street.

 

 

I-90 makes a swing northwest, thru the mountains as I headed to visit the Old Montana Prison located in Deer Lodge, MT. I discovered that the Powell County Museum & Arts Foundation (PCMAF) operates what they describe as a museum complex, with several museums within a three block area. This included five of the museums I had on my list to visit there in Deer Lodge. I started with the Old Prison Museum. This is a massive prison complex, said to have been built using prison labor. This early 1800’s Montana Territory prison is now being maintained by the PCMAF but is not restored. As a result, there are only certain parts of the prison that can be toured.

 

 

Since one ticket gets you into all of the Museum Complex museums, I now walked next door to the Montana Auto Museum. This museum consists of over 150 beautifully restored automobiles dating back to 1903. It’s hard for me to walk thru an auto museum like this and not want to stop and take a photo of each and every auto, as well as read all about them.

 

 

Across the street I started with the Powell County Museum which consisted of local early Montana artifacts and memorabilia. Another store next door included handmade items (mostly leather goods) that inmates have made at the Montana State Prison and are brought here for sale.

 

 

The Cottonwood City park was a collection of restored early 1850’s Montana prairie structures including a church, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith shop and a gazebo.

 

 

Next door was the Frontier Montana Museum which consisted of mostly pioneer and early Montana artifacts and memorabilia, including a covered wagon and a sheriff’s office and jail cell, and the Capa’s Cowboy Collection. This building also housed the WWII Exhibit which included U.S. Army and USAAC artifacts, and memorabilia. I was surprised to see a display for the memory of Bud Anderson, a B-24 pilot during WWII. I knew of a Bud Anderson who was a P-51 fighter ace during WWII, so couldn’t correlate the names with the planes they flew.

 

 

Now it was back onto I-90, heading west to visit the Smokejumpers Visitor Center located in Missoula, MT. This was a very informative facility, located adjacent to the Missoula International Airport. I was informed that Missoula is home to the largest smokejumper base in the U.S. The Visitor Center also has a smoke jumpers loft that allows visitors an opportunity to learn about firefighting procedures, smoke jumping history, and other fire related issues.

 

 

At the other end of the Missoula International Airport I visited the Museum of Mountain Flying. This museum turned out to be situated in a one large hanger with several beautifully restored aircraft, including the original DC-3 used to drop the Mann Gulch smokejumpers in August 1949. Unfortunately 13 jumpers were overcome and died in that fire. The museum also displays artifacts and memorabilia related to the Rocky Mountain flying history.

 

Now I went looking for the Boone & Crockett Club located on the Clark Fork River there in Missoula. Here again Greta had a hard time locating the address. She would tell me I had arrived at the requested address, when actually the building was below that location on the riverbank. This turned out to be a private club, founded by Theodore Roosevelt and other visionaries in 1887. The idea behind the club was basically wildlife conservation for future generations. Since I was not a member, and wasn’t a guest of anyone, I wasn’t invited in. That was just as well, since it was time to head for my motel there in Missoula for the evening.

 

 

 

As luck would have it, on the way to the motel, I came across a Fuddruckers’s Restaurant (one of my favorites) and stopped in to experience one of their “Elk Burgers” for the first time. No. it didn’t taste like chicken. It tasted like venison, in case any of you has ever eaten venison.   As usual, it was delicious, and I went to the motel with a full and happy tummy.

 

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

 

One Response to “America’s North Country Trip~Part 8”

  1. divoran09 November 8, 2017 at 10:45 am #

    I begin to see that you have seen it all, but there are more to come, I’m sure. These were lovely.

    Like

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