Tuesday, August 17, 2010

View From The Bridge 8/18/10

“VIEW from the BRIDGE”
by Muncie

There is a new fashion look for the Volunteers at the Visitors Information Center. A group of “Super Quilters,” worked from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday, the 9th. They cut and sewed black vests with each vest designed different colors and quilted designs. The new vests are very sharp looking and with the Volunteer buttons, the Volunteers will look very professional.

The women who took on this project were (in alphabetical order,) Helen Anderson, Judy Beloate, Ruth Carlstrom, Jan Fisher, Margaret Haugworth, Corina Holcomb, Sue Lepley, Karen Sansouzi, Joan Schaefer and Sue Swanstrom. Dee Lohse opened and closed the building and set up the tables for the Quilter’s sewing machines.

NOTE: There will be a meeting of all of the Volunteers at the Wake Cup Coffee Shop on Monday, the 23rd at 10:00 a.m.. Please plan to be there, as the vests will all be completed and given to those who do not yet have them. There will also be a discussion to plan an upcoming event.

Dennis Nottingham gave all of the following information to me. He has better access to research and he lives in Carter. He has been a great supporter of this article on the Carter Bar, as well my Adopted Plot where he placed rocks underneath the New Bridge and landscaping the area for me. It looks so much better and I hope that you have noticed it too.

Dennis found a recent article in the Great Falls Tribune detailing the early use of electricity in the Electric City. An electric streetcar was shown in one photo, which brought back memories of Car No. 40.

Highway 29 (now Highway 87,) used to closely follow the Great Northern Railroad alignment from Havre to Great Falls using Carter’s main street through that area. Sometime in the 1930s, the alignment was changed to bypass Carter to the north. In 1931, the Great Falls electric trolley system was replaced with diesel busses and the trolley cars were surplused.

No. 40 was moved to Fort Benton for a while and was then purchased by Bob Vischer and Wesley Nottingham, (Dennis’ father.) They moved the trolley to Carter and located it along the new highway alignment at the present site of the Rocking K.

In 1935 highway traffic needed gasoline and food service. The Toonerville Trolley fulfilled this need under the name of the Toonerville Service. At this time, a cartoon named “Toonerville Folks” was popular in many newspapers featuring a fictional trolley car, and so the name Toonerville Trolley. The “Toonerville Trolley was a famous landmark in Carter and word of its existence was widespread. The seats from the Trolley (dated 1905,) can be seen today at the Carter Methodist Church

Business was good, but in the early 1940’s, the business was sold to Andy Larkin who owned a tavern in downtown Carter and he moved the building to the Trolley location. He and the Cronkhite Boys formed a new Tavern business. It was common in those days to use everything in a frugal manner including old buildings and the Trolley was moved to the Vischer Ranch. It was later sold for scrap and everyone today wishes it had not been scraped.

A long line of owners and remodeling followed for this Carter Tavern including Wesley Nottingham, (for a second time.) Dennis said that the Carter Tavern helped put him through college. This is the end of Dennis’ story.

A pamphlet and a book were published by Jack K Caster. For everything you ever wanted to know about Carter, go to the Chouteau County Library and check out “A new Town, Making Good,” from 1975, and “Carter, MT Homestead Boomtown 1909-1930,” published in 1990.

From other sources, I learned the names of many of the owners of the Carter Bar. I do not have the order in which they owned the Bar nor the year. They are Bob Vischer, Wes Nottingham, Andy Larkin, Stub and Doris Stubster, Jeff Morger (1948,) Ray Kline (murdered by one of his employees,) Vince Webb, Vic Fatz, Greg Stubbs and John Dawson, and now Tamara Adams. If anyone has any information as to the order or the dates, please let me know. Perhaps we can compile an accurate historical record.. Actually, I have not made a trip to the Court House and I will try to plan some time this week to do that. That would probably be the simplest way.

What a delightful evening of singing and the playing of dozens of instruments. There were approximately 90 to 100 people in the audience who brought their picnic lunches and lawn chairs. We sat within the stockade walls of the Old Fort. When the weather turned nasty, Aodh Og O Tuama asked the audience, if it rained, would they each take one of the instruments inside the Trading Room. Soon the wind began to blow fiercely and everyone jumped up to either leave or to take shelter inside the Trade Room.

All the instruments were brought into the building safely and the show continued to intermission. Molly Trindle, (Organizer Vera Conrod’s granddaughter,) baked a cake as well as Vera. They passed out plates of cake during the intermission, which was a nice surprise for the audience. It was nice to be inside, warm, and cozy, while it rained outside. The rain did stop by the time the concert was over and everyone agreed that it was a very pleasant evening.

I was pleased to see many young people and children attending. I told one young girl that it was so good to see young people interested in that kind of music. She said that her grandmother had one of their CD’s and she listened to it often.

Another first…many of the people in the Trade Room were there for the first time. Dave Parchen announced a welcome to the Old Fort that is a community project and belongs to all the residents of Fort Benton. I have been urging you Readers many times to take the Old Fort Tour. It is all about the beginnings of Fort Benton, the fur trade and the steamboat era. “If you don’t know where you came from, you cannot know where you are going.”

The Old Fort will have tours through the end of September. Make it a point to take in all of the venues that Fort Benton has to offer. You will be amazed to see and learn about how history ties all events together. It is a “small world” in our “where we came from.”

Well, it is here at last. It looks as though the weather will be cooperating and much preparation has been put into organizing all the food concessions, day and evening events and vendors in general. The end of summer is in sight with the closing of the swimming pool on Saturday the 14th and the Fair this coming weekend. Enjoy and a good time should be had by all. It is all what you make it.

I forgot to tell you about my recycling experience in Bozeman last week at the motel where we stayed. I noticed as soon as we entered our room, that there were paper cups instead of plastic. When I went to the Continental Breakfast the next morning, I told the attendant how pleased I was that they were using paper plates and cups instead of plastic. She said that it was POTATO WARE. I asked her to repeat as I thought that I heard it wrong. No I did not, as she explained that someone had developed Potato Ware actually made from potatoes so it was biodegradable. The motel has been using these products for four months.

I immediately thought it was worth the trips to the moon to develop biodegradable tableware. Unfortunately, the forks, knives, and spoons do not work with that system because one might end up eating them. (Sometimes I make jokes.)

If you travel in the near future, be sure to check out what your accommodations are doing for recycling. Every little bit helps.

A reminder that Charlotte Caldwell will be returning in October for work on the photography book for one-room schoolhouses. Keep the calls coming (622-3217 after 2:00 p.m. and 899-1380 after 9:00 a.m. if a local call. If it is long distance, you will have to wait until after 7:00 p.m. MT time.) Do a good deed every day and be kind. GOD BLESS AMERICA.