08 November 2010

8 November - Montana Admission Day

Today in 1889, Montana , at the time known as Montana Territory, was admitted to the Union as the 41st state.  The name is Spanish, and refers to the mountain ranges covering a good part of the state, from the Rockies and Bitterroot Range in the west to the Bearpaw and Bighorn mountains in the central portion.

4th in size, this is very definitely Big Sky Country, and there is a lot to see here. The mountains, of course, have hiking, and skiing, and all of the other mountainous activities - Yellowstone National Park, much of which is next door in Wyoming, spills over into two south-western counties.  The Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site is a working cattle ranch in the western part of the state, and for those who want to brood over the Clash of Civilizations, there is the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

This page from the Official State Travel Site is full of Montana-based recipes, including the absolutely delicious Indian Fry Bread, the Butte Pasty, and the Montana Special, which uses venison roast and tomato hot sauce.  Then check out the Microbrewery Page, with itineraries for visiting the state's breweries and taprooms.

Cause for celebration!

Like so many lured by the terms of the 1909 Homestead Act, my great-grandmother left Texas with her four young children and homesteaded in Montana in the years before World War I; the homestead papers described her house as a one-room cabin, with one door and one window.  During the winter, they lived in the nearby town of Belfrey, where the children went to school and she worked as a switchboard operator.  That was one tough woman!