• 20Sep

    When Bob and I were in Montana last month, we visited the State Penitentiary, now a museum!  I love this old post card image I found on the net.  I was just wondering, who was the intended consumer for this postcard???

    It was interesting but also kind of creepy touring the prison, which was still in use until the late 1970′s.

    The prison is in Deer Lodge, Montana, and is now part of a large museum complex, including a fabulous car museum and a doll museum as well as the prison.

    Nearby is the Grant Kohs National Historic Site, a part of the National Parks system.  Don’t you love the visitors’ center?

    The entrance to this cattle ranch was down a path which took you by this old wagon…

    ,,,and these teepees.

    Fittingly, the public restrooms were in a log building!

    At one time, the Kohrs family ranched 10 million acres.  Can you even imagine?  It is still a working ranch, but now there are only 1,000 acres.  Still sounds like a lot to me!

    In the beginning, the Kohrs family had a modest home, but they prospered and added on to the house.  The result is a beautiful Victorian farm house.

    No photos were allowed inside, but I did find these on the NPS website.  The parlor was lovely.  Mrs Kohrs was born in Germany and made many trips back, bringing lovely things to furnish her home.

    The kitchen was quite modern!

    The dining room was in the addition and was fabulous.

    The tour exited through the back of the house.

    I love the old steps….

    …and the picket fence…

    …and the flower garden.

    The most beautiful pink poppies were blooming.  They have been growing there since Augusta Kohrs’ day.  I asked if they sold seeds in the gift shop and our guide said they did not.  Then she said, “Just help yourself!”  I’m so glad we were there when there were mature seed pods.  Next year I should have pink poppies in my garden to go along with the purple ones I already grow!

    There was an authentic chuck wagon.

    And a pretty authentic looking “Cookie!”  He offered us boiled coffee, which Bob tried.

    I loved all the little accoutrements.

    And how ingenious is this little basin which hangs over the wagon wheel!?!

    They still raise longhorn cattle here.  I tried to get this guy to lift his head for a glamour shot, but he was too interested in the lush grass.

    It was a great spot and I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

    One last note.  Not all early settlers were as prosperous as the Kohrs family.  This photo was on display in the car museum, of all places.  The reason I like it so much is because of the shelf decoration.  I always say that the thing that differentiates humans from animals (besides the fact that we have a soul) is that humans decorate.  No matter how bleak the surroundings or how difficult the lifestyle, people have always made an attempt to beautify their homes.  I love it!

     

     

     

     

  • 03Sep

    Bob was born and raised in Montana, and we go back as often as we can.  We generally drive, and one of our favorite little towns to stop in is Ritzville, Washington.  Unfortunately, in the last 20 years that I’ve been traveling through there, the downtown has lost many businesses.  We would always have a meal in one of the downtown restaurants, but they’re all gone now.

    Our favorite was the Circle T, but even its sign is gone.  The Whispering Palms is closed, too.

    As is the old theater.

    I think the bar and grill is hanging on!

    No gas today.  Most of the business has moved out by the interstate exchange.  Bye, Ritzville.

    Well, you know you’re in Montana when the sconces in the restaurant look like cow skulls!

    We stayed in Kalispell and had breakfast at Sykes.  Yep, 10 cent coffee!

    We went with some of Bob’s family to Glacier Park for a picnic.

    There’s a handsome bunch!

    We were on the shores of Lake McDonald.  Breathtaking!

    I love the tenacity of trees.

    I think it’s so cool that they still have the red busses in the park.  (Yellowstone has yellow ones!)

    This is the Conrad Mansion in Kalispell.  The grounds were the prettiest I had ever seen them.

    Kalispell has some cool old buildings, like the fabulous art deco TV station.

     

    And the very proper City Water Department.

    The old theater.

    We had lunch with Vernon and Thelma, now both in their late eighties.  On the wall was this picture of Vernon and Pastor Pete.  I think Vernon is as handsome as Marshall Dillon!

    We had breakfast one day at Wheat Montana.  Loved the poster.

    This is the view from Bob’s cousin Glenn’s house.  Talk about Big Sky Country!

    Wheat fields in the front of the house and the Flathead River out the back!  It doesn’t get much better than that!

    Another tenacious tree.  It’s a long ways from the river now, but I think spring floods have had a go at it a time or two.

    A couple more old signs.

    And a Beaverslide!  For those who don’t know, it’s used for stacking hay.

    Next, our visit to the state penitentiary!

     

  • 16Aug

    Bob and I just enjoyed a great week in and around Kalispell,  Montana.  I always know we’re getting close to “home” when we start seeing signs for the Clarkfork!  CLARKFORK!

    For a change of scenery, we went through Libby.  There are several of these eagles around the town.  They’re quite impressive.

    And the river is very rocky!

    Bob had good luck fishing, though!

    We decided to take an even more scenic route and go past Libby Dam.

    It’s on the Kootenai River.

    It was built in 1975 and Bob remembers traveling through the area before the dam was built.

    The reservoir behind the dam backs up for 90 miles–clear into Canada!  The  lake is called Lake Koocanusa–Koo for Kootenai, Can for Canada and Usa for USA!

    It was really windy.

    If you don’t believe me, ask this tree.

    Good to know!

    They aren’t kidding.

    Rock is everywhere!

    I wondered what these big plants were.

    Turns out they’re called mullen.  They were very plentiful!

    I couldn’t resist snapping this  photo.

    As we got closer to Kalispell, someone had planted orange flowers–just for me, I’m sure.

    I love these old granaries.

    Maybe they’re common in farming areas, but they are unusual for me.

    Gotta snap a barn or two!

    Along the rivers we saw lots of osprey nests.

    We visited Flathead Lake.

    This is called a Bruck–a bus/truck combination.  It took passengers and freight from Kalispell to Whitefish to catch the train.

    We met some people who live on Whitefish Lake–this is their incredible view.

    They took us on a two hour boat ride around the lake.  Amazing vistas and amazing homes.

    Of course you can’t be this close without a visit to Glacier National Park.  This year  is the 100th anniversary of the park.

    Cool, huh?

    We drove the Going to the Sun Road.

    Photo op!

    There were about 6 mountain goats sunning themselves here, but no place to pull over to get a good photo, so took this  out the window of the car.

    Glacier is an amazing place.  If you don’t believe in global warming, how’s this for a statistic.  100 years ago there were 200 glaciers in Glacier Park.  Today there are only 50.

    A sign to add to my neon sign file.

    And it’s good to know that Montana is open!

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