Livingston, Montana – Our Home
Re-capturing ones youthful adventures is near impossible these days with the rapid advance of technology and the growth of mega-cities. Growing up in the 1940’s and 50’s in small towns which serviced the surrounding ranches or farms or orchards or mines was a real hoot.
Montana still has the flavor of those “ole” days, what with ranches, farms, small “vintage” towns and abandoned mining towns. Lots of historic legends of “vigilantes”, famous “trail breakers”, not to mention the early forts built during the settling of Montana and really bad men and some bad women.
Small towns still have 4H and hold rodeo’s, it is not unusual, when strolling down the sidewalk to encounter several cowboys or cowgirls sporting large silver belt buckles won in rodeo events.
The 4th of July parades are usually populated with farm tractors pulling decorated hay wagons, there are vintage cars, mule teams pulling wagons used during the early days for farming or ranching or freight hauling. Along with clowns, school bands and drill teams to round out the festivities.
The Montana Territory was created in May of 1864.
Early on, before the creation of the Montana Territory, in the 1860’s, Bannack and Virginia City, now in Montana, used to be in Idaho Territory. It was here that a Minor’s Court was established to handle small disputes, but it could not handle major crimes like murder and robbery.
After the release of some murderers, possibly due to their popularity, a group of the local residents formed The Vigilantes of Montana and soon started hanging offenders. This was all done in secrecy, the group that is, but the hangings were public. There is a building in Virginia City where 5 or 6 were hanged at once.
Virginia City and Nevada City are very interesting places for a visit, especially Nevada City thanks to to Charles and Sue Bovey who had been collecting Montana relics since the 1940’s and storing them at that location.
Virginia City old store fronts on the main drag – last time we were there, we dined at a local restaurant at the end of this block. There are still people living here.
I bet this old auto could tell some interesting Virginia City and/or Nevada City tales. Nevada City is only a few miles down the road.
I am told that when the mining petered out and the population moved to other areas, the store owners simply left town and all of their goods behind. Wish we could have gotten into this store.
Exploring old mining towns is one of our favorite past times – Bannack is one of those early mining towns, now a State Park. Bannack was briefly the Montana Territory Capitol.
From what I have read, The Vigilantes of Montana were popular in Bannack as their reputation spread throughout the Territory.
Here is an old church located in Bannack – some of these buildings are still safe enough to enter and walk around in.
Many of the minors, back in the day, would dig into the side of a hill to use as a winter shelter. Above is one such cave entrance.
There were several real nice hotels in Bannck, you can tell the quality of this one by the condition of the interior in the picture above.
Anaconda, Montana, a town founded to smelter copper ore from the mines in Butte, Montana. If you ever find any early pictures of Butte, smoke was so bad that it was affecting the health of the residents.
Anaconda was given birth in the latter part of 1880’s.
Anaconda has the tallest smokestack in Montana, really tall.
We went to yard sales in Anaconda several years ago – it is a real nice little town with vintage structures.
Old cemetery’s are very interesting to explore, while in Anaconda, we paid a visit to the old cemetery, across the way a new cemetery was working.