Posts Tagged With: buffalo bones


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On entering the Glasgow Pioneer Museum, you are confronted with a full size tee pee, probably 12 feet at the base and 15 feet tall. It is made of sewn together elk skins and once belonged to an Assiniboine Chief, one of the major tribes in this area.

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Chief First To Fly and many of his tribe’s beautiful feathered headdresses, tools, clothing and pictures are gathered here in what I’d rate as an excellent museum.

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A sample of their beauty.

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The museum is good about telling stories of some of the people’s experiences. This is an artist rendering of Pigeon’s Egg Head, a warrior who went to Washington and then what he looked like when he returned with his head full of grand ideas and impractical clothing.

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Cases of buffalo bones as well as an almost complete dinosaur vertebrae are displayed here.

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Remembering my history of how white hunters set out to obliterate the plains Indian’s food supply by savagely slaughtering every buffalo they could is such a sad and cruel part of our history. But when you see the pictures it is a sickening tragedy made real.

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At one time, Eastern Montana prairie was white with bleached buffalo bones where ever you walked or rode.

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Pioneers trucked millions of bones to the Great Northwestern Railroad where Charles Aubrey of Missouri turned them into fertilize. He paid scavengers $24 a ton for the bones. Before he quit in 1886, he paid out $40,000,000 to scavengers for his fertilizer plant. When I think how many millions of dollars go to Africa for tourists to see the amazing animal migrations, and to think we had the same type of migration right here from Southern Canada to South Texas, the loss is compounded.

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Stan’s Bar found its way into the museum.

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As in old western movies, men stepped up to the bar, one foot on a rail. No classy seating arrangements. You drank your whiskey standing up.

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The bar came with two walls of stuffed trophies. Whenever anyone new entered the bar, Stan would say, “Did you bring your checkbook?”  He had many offers to sell parts of his collection, but he wanted it to stay together and he’d say, “It all goes as one, the bar, the animals and my 70 rentals. You better have a deep pocketbook.” Whoever did his taxidermy was very talented.

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A scarce wolverine. Stan’s collection has two of them.

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An albino white tailed deer. DSC09914 (Copy)

Unfortunately, a huge collection of hats that belonged to Dazee Kellerher, are behind glass, almost impossible to photograph.DSC09915 (Copy)

Newspapers found her hats newsworthy as she aged, about every ten years, they’d do another pictorial on her hats. Her reputation was that she never went anywhere without a hat. What a character.

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Trying on a few old hats and viewing yourself in a mirror was such a hoot. A drawer held about 25 hats, some were stunningly ugly but I gave it a go.DSC09841 (Copy)

The Pioneer Museum takes you through several layers of history. The Indians, the cowboys, the sheepherders, the settlers-all well done. So much to see here, to do it right, you need a full day. The Museum, some outdoor exhibits and a nearby house are all part of the Museum Complex. The sheep herders camper depicted  an era when Montana’s economy depended more on sheep than cattle.

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Some interesting paintings and western artists are featured here.

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Outside, a windmill typical of those used on the plains. This one was donated by the Docent’s family. Thoroughly enjoyable, not to miss if you pass this way.





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Our travel goal yesterday was to avoid the boom-town of Williston and seek out the little town of Baineville, just on the border of N.D. and Montana. Jim found a website for Buffalo Trails Museum at Epping, which was closed, but we decided to have a look at the area anyway. It was about 10 miles out of our way. The turn-off required us to cross two lanes, a meridian and another two lanes of oncoming traffic and whoops!  The road is gravel? Oh, well, we’re committed. We bumped miserably along popping rivets and screws and bolts, we are sure,  for about ten miles.

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we pulled into town and parked next to this ramshackle old building.

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There wasn’t a car or a person anywhere in sight. With a one block main street we just walked along taking pictures of this “ghost” town and peeked in the windows.

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After a few minutes of poking around, Heather appeared out of nowhere and began watering plants in front of the school.

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She took us to the Museum office and introduced us to Shelly. These two women are the only two people who have keys to the buildings we were looking into and even though the museum was closed, they opened up  the buildings and allowed us to tour the complex.

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In the front part of the office was a dental exhibit, all items here have been donated by locals. I don’t know the population of the town in 1905 when Epping was founded adjacent to the Northern Pacific Railroad, but in 2010 the population was 100 people according to the census. DSC09676 (Copy)

In every building, the human figures were made out of papier mache  by a guy named Elmer. DSC09667 (Copy)

Behind the office was some rolling stock. Kind of reminded me of  a Bonnie and Clyde affair.

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My quest for something I’ve never seen before was soon answered. This little wooden horse-drawn wagon is a school bus.

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Elmer did a lot of work here. A life sized diorama of his family, with Elmer in bed getting medicine from the doctor, his little brother crying.

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This gentleman reading the paper in an exhibit looks just like pictures of Elmer.  In fact, almost all of the gentlemen in the exhibits look like Elmer.

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Elmer put together several very authentic box dioramas in which he went to the hill where this Indian village was located, he studied the topography, even picked the grass from the site to make this scene.  He must have been an interesting character.

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One building has a unique cement floor.

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The one room school house classroom is in beautiful condition.

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North Dakota winters require a mighty stove and this one is a beauty.

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You’ll notice in this kitchen exhibit the wall paper is made from newspaper, not uncommon in the early 1900’s.

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Another item I’d never seen, a painted story hide.

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And from the General Store, a marshmallow beater. I can’t quite fathom how I’ve managed my life without one.

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The cafe building is historic as is the tavern. Both are open businesses. The tavern was closed but the cafe was open. We didn’t see any activity around the cafe for the hour we wandered the street until lunchtime. Then out of nowhere a few trucks and cars pulled up for the daily special, a cheeseburger and tomato soup. DSC09757 (Copy)

We practically sat under this buffalo head for our lunch. But, I’m digressing. This is a ghost story.

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This exhibit is one the ghost likes to fool with. There is a big space between the two shelving units in this building. Heather and Shelly never enter this room alone because it gives them the willies and they have the only keys. The board was replaced, by a carpenter, screwed in, and, when they returned, it went missing. After three tries, they gave up.

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A glass stopper collection was removed for dusting. The girls placed them on top of the case in rows. When they returned, they were disheveled and moved around. Twice. Lights that have been turned out, go on. They think they know who the ghost is.

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The man who owned this hardware store hung himself in the open window above so everyone returning from church could see him hanging there. They replaced the window. And the next day it was broken out. They replaced it again. The same thing happened. Now, they just leave it open.

We left Epping glad we braved the bad road and got direction from the girls to a short gravel road to a paved highway that took us right into Williston. We breezed on through.DSC09784 (Copy)

Everywhere, we see mobile homes in clusters, temporary housing for oil workers. Billboards advertise for house builders needed, jobs, jobs, jobs. It is a boom phenomena. People rent out space in their yards to two or three mobiles.

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Road workers needed.

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Every half mile or so, we see another well going in.

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Bainville was another gravel road town without even a mom and pop store or gas pump. A post office and a church with a few houses. We pushed on 14 miles west to Culbertson, Montana and spent the night in a delightful city park.


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