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Montana Memory Project Digital Exhibits
Bicycles for the Army: The 25th Infantry in Montana
The military has long served as a testbed for new technologies. Late 19th century Montana was the site of one of these technology demonstrations, as the United States Army ran a series of lengthy excursions utilizing the world's latest technological darling - the bicycle. Operating out of Fort Missoula, the men of the 25th Infantry Regiment covered several thousand miles of mud, mountains, and open plains. These men - African-American Buffalo Soldiers - were celebrated by parades, and mobbed by fascinated onlookers. They were led by a young white officer who sought to redeem himself from graduating last in his class at West Point. Together, they rode seemingly impossible distances, carrying backbreaking loads on heavy bikes, navigating primitive roads, and enduring brutal weather.
Born as Evelyn Jephson Flower on August 26, 1868, Evelyn was the fifth of six children of the wealthy, well-off Flower family. She grew up in sophisticated English society, spoke French and Italian, and rode side-saddle. In 1889 she married Ewen Cameron, an eccentric Scotsman with a deep love of ornithology and the outdoors who had accompanied her older brothers on hunting trips years prior. Evelyn herself loved the outdoors, and for their honeymoon the Camerons made a trip west to Montana where they spent their time exploring and hunting in the eastern badlands on a guided expedition. Falling in love with the landscape, the wildlife, and the rugged way of pioneer life, the Camerons returned to Montana in late 1891 to establish their own lives in the newly formed state. Evelyn and Ewen established their first of what would eventually be a series of “Eve” Ranches, all located within range of the town of Terry, Montana along the Yellowstone River. They set out to breed and raise polo ponies that would eventually be sold back to those in British society. When their pony endeavor ended poorly, the Camerons suffered a great financial loss and ended up losing their ranch and returning to England.
Henry Meloy was a multi-talented working man's artist through the first half of the twentieth century, he experimented and honed his skills in a wide array of artistic styles, and studied techniques in several artistic movements. Born in Townsend Montana in 1902, over the course of his life he had witnessed two World Wars, the Spanish Flu pandemic, and the American Great Depression which he recorded in his artwork. The body of his life's work is a window into the history of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s in both Montana and in New York City.
William Robert 'Bud' Moore was a well-known Montana forester, trapper, conservationist, and author of 'The Lochsa Story: Land Ethics in the Bitterroot Mountains.
Construction of the Montana State Capitol Building
Located in Helena, Montana, the state capitol building was dedicated on July 4, 1902. It underwent a major expansion a decade later, and continues to serve as the home of Montana state government. The story of its construction is full of controversy and rivalry between Montana towns.
Glacier National Park
Majestic Glacier National Park soars high up in the Rocky Mountains, on Montana's border with Canada. The tireless efforts and advocacy of leaders such as George Bird Grinnell were rewarded in 1910 when Glacier was formally established as the nation's 10th national park. Browse our extensive collections on Glacier, including images, documents, books, and audio interviews.
Native American Boarding Schools in Montana
Towards the end of the 19th century, Native American tribes had been mostly confined to reservations. Their nomadic lifestyle had been curtailed, and they found themselves living a difficult existence. Food was scarce, and poverty was rampant. To further erode the Native lifestyle, the government, in conjunction with religious organizations, developed the concept of Indian boarding schools. The first of these opened in Carlisle, PA in 1879. The concept was the brainchild of Brigadier General Richard Pratt. The essence of the Indian boarding school was cultural assimilation, boiled down in a phrase Pratt coined: "Kill the Indian, Save the Man." To accomplish this, children were taken from their parents and often moved hundreds of miles from their home to live and attend school at a boarding school. Government funding enabled religious schools to function. Every essence of Native culture was stripped from these small children, and they lived difficult lives full of school, prayer, work, punishment, and hunger.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, the nation's first, spans three states: Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. The diverse terrain of the park features lakes, mountains, forests, and plains, but the park is best known for its thousands of geothermal features. Browse our extensive collections on Yellowstone, including images, documents, books, and audio interviews.
1972 Montana Constitutional Convention
Montana joined the United States as the 41st state in 1889. The original state constitution, ratified in 1889, reflected the needs and values of a sparsely populated frontier state. The political turmoil of the 1960s, and a series of Montana environmental crises, made it clear that new governance was needed to manage a growing state in a new century. In 1972, the Montana Constitutional Convention met to take on the challenge. They authored a new constitution, and successfully steered it through to ratification, despite strong opposition. It was a landmark achievement, one that transformed state governance.
Homesteading in Montana: History Collections
The Homestead Act of 1862 changed the course of United States history, opening up the West to millions of settlers. 270 million acres, about 10% of the total land area of the United States, was claimed through homesteading. People from all walks of life were eligible, as long as they could improve the land, build a home, and use the land. We are pleased to share a guide to searching the MMP website for content on homesteading.