As a child, I suppose I tolerated history classes, but I never really appreciated what it represented until I was an adult and began to have some context for understanding the stories.
I have been blessed, in my lifetime, to travel and see many sights along the way. Each of them have a history. A story to tell, if you will take the time to listen. What can we learn from them?
With many different ideas on what to write about, for adding value to our Steem Community, this morning I will put together my first "travelogue" post, which may become a series in time. On vacation, I was recently in Fort Benton, Montana. Referred to as the "birthplace of Montana," with fresh perspective from my visit, I will start here.
[Image View: Looking at the Missouri River, from the western bank in the downtown section of Fort Benton. It is flowing downstream to the northeast.]
Birthplace of Montana
Perhaps a bit too pretentious a title for some (not going to get into any philosophical points in this post ...), this is what my readers will find this small town labelled, if they visit the official Fort Benton website.
[Image View: Lewis and Clark Expedition Memorial along the Missouri River bank in Fort Benton. Dedicated in 1976, as a bicentennial (200th "birthday" of America) project of the town.]
The site of the town literally got "on the map," when the Lewis and Clark expedition stayed here during their famous cross-continental adventure in 1804 - 1806. There is a very impressive 5,500 sq. ft. exhibit hall dedicated to this expedition, less than an hour away in nearby Great Falls, Montana. Visit the Lewis & Clark National Historic
Interpretive Center website, for more details. Highly recommended place to visit!
One of the oldest towns in the American West, Fort Benton was officially established in 1846, as a fur trading post. For a time it was the "world's innermost port," with boats coming upstream all the way from the Gulf of Mexico. Upstream from Fort Benton is the literal Great Falls which are abt. 96 feet high. Here boat traffic on the Missouri ended, for obvious reasons. Later, the building of railroads brought this distinction to an end, as the railroads offered a more economical means of transporting goods.
"Wild West era"
As illustrated below, walking along the west bank, in the downtown section, you will find a lot of markers. The history on display is fascinating. Like is probably the case in many small towns of that era, it was definitely "untamed."
[Image View: Looking at the foot bridge across the Missouri River, to the downtown section of Fort Benton.]
There was a fair amount of bloodshed involved, as it appears the local citizens elected to take matters into their own hands, rather than wait on any more duly appointed authorities to show up and take care of matters properly.
Walking across the foot bridge illustrated above, you find yourself on the east bank of the Missouri. There you can see the land in likely a similar state to what it has always been. Although a long way from the ocean, given how big the river is, the elevation is still relatively low, for being this far inland in Montana. Specifically, it is 2,621 feet. The resulting climate, comparatively speaking this far north, is relatively moderate.
While touring the town, we stopped in at the Wake Cup Coffee House, for some refreshments. Whether needing a full meal or just some homemade ice cream, you can't go wrong there. In keeping with my good business viewpoint and reviews I have written, as a result, I wanted to give them a "shout out." Food was great, they provided excellent service and were very friendly.
[Image View: Looking at the bend in the Missouri River, upstream from Fort Benton (southern tip in the upper left part of the picture), on the way to to Great Falls, Montana.]
In leaving town, we were "treated" with a very narrow one-lane underpass, with the BNSF (Burlington Northern and Santa Fe) railroad passing overhead. Downhill traffic had to stop and yield, to let those coming uphill, on the way out of town, have the right-of-way. Been a long time since I experienced a section of road like this.
Just south of town, as illustrated above, you have a great scenic view of a goose-neck in the Missouri River, heading upstream to Great Falls, Montana. Definitely a place you'll want to stop, read the signs, and enjoy.
If you enjoy history and seeing sights along "the roads less traveled," I trust you've enjoyed this brief intro to Fort Benton, Montana.
If you are ever anywhere close to this part of our great country, I'd highly recommend you take the time to stop by and, for just a little bit, let yourself travel back in time and think about all the history that has taken place in a little town like this one.
Your perspective and thoughts are always welcome!
Respectfully, fellow Steemian @roleerob
Posted using Busy.org and immutably “enshrined in the blockchain” on Thursday, 26 July 2018!
[Image Sources: My trusty smartphone!]