Living the Dream
- Published March 30, 2015
- Written by True West
Until there is a time machine invented somewhere other than a Hollywood studio, history will be limited to memories of the dead and books of the living. There are, however, places where history lurks just beneath the surface of the modern world. Two such places are the Southwest Montana twin ghost towns of Virginia City and Nevada City. These cities were the home of one of the richest placer gold strikes in North America as well as one of the most notorious vigilante groups on the frontier.
The area was first settled in 1863 after a group of down-on-their-luck miners camped by a nondescript creek and panned the first nuggets of a deposit that extracted $30 million in gold in the first three months. Today that would be worth about half a billion dollars. Anchored by Virginia City and Nevada City, the population of Alder Gulch soon swelled to 10,000. In 1865 Virginia City was named capital of the Montana Territory and for a decade or so the two cities were boomtowns of the highest order.
Painstakingly preserved and restored in the mid-20th century by an heir to the General Mills fortune, today's visitors to Virginia City and Nevada City can walk the same boardwalks trod by fortune seekers 150 years ago. Tourists can even enter the same stores and saloons frequented by rowdy miners. Out-of-towners can stand at the gravestones of infamous marauding robbers known as “road agents.” These outlaws were hung at the hands of a group of citizens who formed the Montana Vigilantes after being frustrated by the lack of local law enforcement.
Discover more at SouthwestMT.com
- Published January 13, 2015
- Written by Sherry Monahan
On his way from Illinois to California in 1852, William Henry Hart wrote, “The bacon too that I had always disliked even the sight of, became very good eating proving that nothing makes us relish our food as much as a good appetite.”
- Published November 04, 2014
- Written by True West
The hens only lay egg-nog at Christmas-tide, but egg-nog will lay a man any time he tackles it,” reported the Idaho Avalanche on January 3, 1880. In 1881, The Herald in Omaha, Nebraska, also found eggnog a subject for humor: “Hens favor sobriety. They generally quit laying when the egg-nog season approaches.”