We continue to be lucky at the Center once again as we have received many gifts pertaining to Bonner-Milltown's past as well as donations of dollars which make it possible to continue operation. Chief among these is the donation of space and utilities from Bonner Property Development LLC, aka Mike Boehme and Steve Nelson. Reading this extensive list you can easily see the great variety of items that have come to the Center. We are grateful for all these gifts and hope that readers will continue to share more items with us.
Dam Documentation and Gun Mystery Solved
Daren Wicks at Hellgate Forge donated pieces of an old firearm he found in the Blackfoot River. Intrigued, Norman Jacobson was instrumental in piecing together the type of firearm with help from gun experts at Traveler's Rest. Norman also shared his photos of the Milltown and Bonner Dam removals which he had carefully documented. In addition to all the newspaper articles that Jack Demmons has provided us, he also donated a copy of Walter Hook's art and the background behind an article in the magazine, Timberman in 1936 entitled "50 Years at Bonner". Jonathan Black donated a wool jacket worn by his father and a photo of him wearing it as well as an early 1900s oak box from the Twin Creek Logging Camp. Rod Hochhalter donated actual ACM files from the 1950s Warehouse records.
Original Timberjack Obtained, Early Mill Items
Kim Briggeman gave us the missing Timberjack link: the original novel by Dan Cushman on which the movie was based! As well, he donated two books by Emil Petaja who grew up in Bonner. We received a number of items from Bob LeProwse, before he died, relating to the early history of the mill under both Anaconda and Champion. Bob was the District Forester and Personnel and Safety Manager from Anaconda and Champion. Sam Berry donated a copy of Camus, whose cover featured Sam's woodcut of Bill Dahlman, a logger from Bonner. Jerry and MaryAnn Buckhouse donated a number of correspondence items and photos related to Anaconda and Champion's ownership of the mill. We continue cataloguing their extensive gift, so more details later!
Books and Household Items
Dennis Sain has contributed several thermos bottles with glass liners, 2 metal bottle openers, and a ladies buttonhook as well as two early irons. He and Bill Demmons helped solve the mystery of the Red Bridges over the Blackfoot River (see page 7). Judy Matson has added to our library with books from Seeley Lake. Minie Smith also added a book about Frenchtown and a copy of a letter from ACM (original in the UM Archives). Donna Betts gave a metal colander and canning jars used by her mother in Bonner. Glenn Smith has donated the DVD he made for his roundtable program on the Bonner Home Makers and another on cooking with a Dutch oven.
Rick Swanson donated a cardholder from Anaconda and some historic photos including ones which show him getting an award and the Warehouse crew where he worked for many years. Willie Bateman donated a meat cleaver used by ACM butcher Ed Labbe, a tobacco plug cutter, and several items from his mother's kitchen including 2 irons, a food grinder, and a wooden washboard. Lee Legreid's contributions included several color photos of head rigs that he worked on at White Pine Sash and an early log loader. Brent Schafer added a McKay photo of the mill and a 1949 photo of the Bonner mill as well as an additional copy of Bob Bateman's booklet on the Big Blackfoot Railway. Lois Johnson gave a large black and white photo of the mill in the 1940s.
More about Railroading and Measuring Trees
From Wally Otterson came a magazine of the Northern Pacific RR which contained an article about Bonner. Ken McMillan donated a scaling ruler from the west coast. (For the larger trees that grew there: it is 5 feet long!) Bob Lamley added to our map collection with maps of the Blackfoot River and Lolo National Forest (1974). Lavonne Otto donated a scrapbook of articles about the area from 1973-2009 plus pins and papers of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners which had belonged to Bill Beare who worked at the mill for many years. Paul Layton donated a poster commemorating the community effort to Save the Black Bridge and Bonner Development Group donated posters of their projects, including moving the Mullan statue.
Logging References Added
Following our Roundtable last winter on the History of Logging in Montana, Scott Kuehn donated the Chronology of Conservation and Forestry in Montana, a history of the High Wheels (at UM), and a copy of the questions asked on the 1908 Forest Ranger Exams. In the reference department, Marcia Porter, retired Records Management Supervisor for the County, provided us with a list of deeds related to Bonner from Missoula County. Bud Clarke, a participant in the Smokejumpers Roundtable gave the Center a copy of the "Fireline Blasters Guidebook". Jim Habeck donated a copy of the DVD he had made of the Hammond Roundtable in 2016.
Transportation, Sandpaper, and Spikes
Jim Maser donated a photo of Lou Parker and his Blackfoot Stage in 1926 and a short article about the stage. We also received a donation of a roll of sandpaper which came from the mill from a retired shop teacher at Sentinel HS. Elaine Nagle gave us a copy of an old map of Milltown. Alan McQuillan donated rail spikes from Nine Mile Prairie, from the old ACM logging railroad days, as well as some shorter mine rail spikes. Jim Willis brought in early photos of Bonner and Iva Rose Mackenzie let us copy her photo album containing photos of her life through 8th grade in the Woodworth Logging Camp.
Thanks to Our Volunteers
So many folks help make the History Center tick, and we just wanted to acknowledge their support and help. Jim Willis every Tuesday offers coffee and conversation and specially baked cookies to a growing group of folks who regularly come to the Center. When we needed a volunteer to shepherd our new sign into reality, Andy Lukes stepped in and guided it through the process. Hellgate Forge donated the mounting and Mike Heisey and Marla Frick provided the actual hanging. Glenn Smith, Dennis Sain and Kim Briggeman have volunteered to host this season's Roundtables. In addition to donating artifacts, Willie Bateman, Lee Legreid, Rick Swanson, and Bob Lamley are always around to provide support and offer answers to our many questions.
We appreciate their support and friendship! Judy and Minie