Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ft. Benton, MT

Ft. Benton originally started as a fur trading post in the early 1800s.
They provide a living history tour of what is left of the original fort.

It looks a little like our modern Walmarts. You can get just about anything you need here.

Their claim to fame.

The Hornaday Buffalo.
They were collected in 1886 by William Hornaday for the National Museum in Washington, D.C. At the time people were afraid the buffalo would become extinct and they wanted some species for the national collection since the buffalo was an American symbol of the west. The collected 24 animals but only these 6 were displayed in the National Museum. They were on display for over 70 years before being returned to Ft. Benton in 1955. They were left in neglect for many years before being restored and put back on display in the Museum of the Northern Great Plains in 1996.

By the mid 1800s the town was booming with trade and traffic along the Missouri River.

The main street fronting the river looks much like it did back then except for all the cars.

The Old Benton Bridge was built with a turnstile so steamboat traffic could pass upriver, although the only steamboat to pass through was in 1908. This was the first bridge in Montana crossing the Missouri, built in 1888 as a toll bridge. It was destroyed by a flood in 1908 and rebuilt by the Corps of Engineers. The bridge was used until it closed in 1968.

I thought this was an interesting way to get to the local bar, electric wheelchairs.

The Grand Union Hotel was built in 1882 for a cost of $200,000. It boasted the fine refinements usually found further east and not often out west in this area.

This is for all the dog lovers out there.

And this is Shep's story.

Choteau County Courthouse was built in 1888.

I don't think I need to narrate this picture. The picture says it all.

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