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Jefferson Valley Museum

Jefferson Valley Museum Historical displays and information about the Jefferson Valley. Open Memorial Day Weekend through Se Research material also available.

To preserve the past for use in the future is the mission of the Jefferson Valley Museum as it depicts the history and heritage of the Jefferson Valley. This area was once home to Native American tribes, fur trappers, miners and homesteaders who took to raising horses, cattle and produced for the area's mining camps. By the turn of the century, the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived, followed by th

To preserve the past for use in the future is the mission of the Jefferson Valley Museum as it depicts the history and heritage of the Jefferson Valley. This area was once home to Native American tribes, fur trappers, miners and homesteaders who took to raising horses, cattle and produced for the area's mining camps. By the turn of the century, the Northern Pacific Railroad arrived, followed by th

Operating as usual

Having a student council for the high school was important even a century ago.  Here are the high school officers from t...
12/27/2022

Having a student council for the high school was important even a century ago. Here are the high school officers from the 1922-23 school year.

12/22/2022
jeffersonvalleymuseum.org

Our NEW WEBSITE is ready. You can now download our most common forms - membership, walk of names, and memorial donation. We hope you enjoy it. We will continue to develop the site and add more features in the future. Be sure to check out the Upcoming Events section.

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Looking east.  Long black building is where Thriftway is today.  On the far right. lower is the building now the Two Bit...
12/19/2022

Looking east. Long black building is where Thriftway is today. On the far right. lower is the building now the Two Bit; the two-story building is the old Palm Hotel. Photo possibly taken sometime between 1917 and mis-1920s. (Note added 12/20 - The date of this photo is just a wide/wild guess. There are power poles (telephone?) in the photo. The object on top of the Common building (3-story brick, left center) seems out of place for early 20th century. If anyone knows what that siren-looking object is, let us know.)

The museum will be getting a website after the first of the year.  We will let you know when it is up and running.Also -...
12/16/2022

The museum will be getting a website after the first of the year. We will let you know when it is up and running.

Also - our next ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM will take place on Wednesday, January 18th at the museum. We will feature the interview done by Roy Millegan Sr. in 1989 with Lena Brown Slausen.

The theater building, circa 1927, as seen from the city park.
12/09/2022

The theater building, circa 1927, as seen from the city park.

With basketball season just starting, here is a look back at the 1922-23 WHS team.
12/01/2022

With basketball season just starting, here is a look back at the 1922-23 WHS team.

WHS musicians, 1922-23 school year.
11/26/2022

WHS musicians, 1922-23 school year.

Whitehall High School after the devastating fire in the late 1920s.  It was rebuilt and had thousands of students and te...
11/23/2022

Whitehall High School after the devastating fire in the late 1920s. It was rebuilt and had thousands of students and teachers roam its halls for at least 50 years.

Circa 1927, Chet Huntley (center) and classmates Harry and Bob at the high school.
11/15/2022

Circa 1927, Chet Huntley (center) and classmates Harry and Bob at the high school.

100 years ago, Whitehall high school students entered the front door of this building.  It would be severely damaged by ...
11/08/2022

100 years ago, Whitehall high school students entered the front door of this building. It would be severely damaged by fire a few years later. The building on the right, the "old gym", still stands.

The high school annual 100 years ago was different yet many features then are still found in current editions like athle...
11/01/2022

The high school annual 100 years ago was different yet many features then are still found in current editions like athletics, school plays, clubs, faculty and class photos. In the 1923 WHS annual, the student staff included the favorite sayings of some of the faculty. Perhaps you remember one of your high school teacher's favorite saying.

WHS football team from 100 years ago.
10/26/2022

WHS football team from 100 years ago.

The buildings that once housed the Hunt Store in Waterloo and still standing.  This pump, now in the museum, was inside ...
10/18/2022

The buildings that once housed the Hunt Store in Waterloo and still standing. This pump, now in the museum, was inside that store. The photo shows members of the Hunt family. Can you find Ron (he is about 4-years old)? Hint: look on the right side for a couple of little legs.
Ron's book about the history of the Waterloo area is in final stages of editing and will be published soon. Copies will be available at the museum - we will let you know when they arrive. The DVD of his talk in April 2022 is still available at the museum.

Sometimes we get lucky at the museum.  An anonymous donor dropped off this License from 1868 at the museum a few weeks a...
10/11/2022

Sometimes we get lucky at the museum. An anonymous donor dropped off this License from 1868 at the museum a few weeks ago. It is a nice piece of local history.

The Jefferson Valley Trading Company was a regular advertiser in the Jefferson Valley Zephyr.  This ad appeared in the A...
10/01/2022

The Jefferson Valley Trading Company was a regular advertiser in the Jefferson Valley Zephyr. This ad appeared in the August 21, 1896, issue. Notice the prices of men's "furnishings."

We had a great turnout tonight for the first Oral History program.  Will plan a second one sometime this winter.Now, bac...
09/22/2022

We had a great turnout tonight for the first Oral History program. Will plan a second one sometime this winter.
Now, back to regular posts.
When WHS started playing football in the 1921-22 school year, the field was on the southside of the tracks near the depot. Many of the other schools they played were those with easy access by rail - no school buses to take the team to another school.

FREE PROGRAM AT THE MUSEUM - Oral History Talk with Bernard May.  Join us at the museum on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st, fo...
09/14/2022

FREE PROGRAM AT THE MUSEUM - Oral History Talk with Bernard May. Join us at the museum on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21st, for a new type of program. We will be using the recording made by Roy Milligan with Bernard May back in 1989 while showing many of the photos Roy mentions in the recording. The program will start at 6:30 PM.
The photo is Bernard's 1930 graduation photo. He was known for his track and field performances while at WHS. His father, John May, was the first homesteader on the Parrot Bench to prove up on the homestead land.

Meet John Emmerson Smith, WHS Graduate, Class of 1922, a nephew of Hilda Borden.  He played on WHS's first football team...
09/09/2022

Meet John Emmerson Smith, WHS Graduate, Class of 1922, a nephew of Hilda Borden. He played on WHS's first football team and scored the 2nd touchdown earned by the team. He started to earn a law degree at the University of Montana in 1923 but ended up getting married and working at Limespur east of Cardwell later that year. Over the next few years, he worked at Roy, Mammoth and Butte and as a car salesman in Great Falls. He is also remembered for shooting one of Mrs. Cowdry's cows when on a hunting trip. Fortunately for John, it was a wild cow that Mrs. Cowdry was never able to catch after some summer grazing, so no charges were filed.
John passed away in 1966.

From the 20th century, Whitehall High Graduate Makes Her Mark on the World.  Eleanor Bliler was born in Bear Creek, Mont...
09/01/2022

From the 20th century, Whitehall High Graduate Makes Her Mark on the World. Eleanor Bliler was born in Bear Creek, Montana and finished her schooling in Whitehall, valedictorian of the class of 1938. Her mother Ruby was a teacher at the Whitehall Grade School for 8 years, 1937-1945. Eleanor attended Montana State College (now University) and was the first woman to earn a degree there in entomology, 1942. She tried to get a position with the U. S. Public Health Services but the man in charge did not want to hire a woman. So, she taught school in Edgar, Montana for a few months, but left when they asked her to coach the boys football team since all available men had enlisted. She then enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WACS). Corporal Bliler was stationed at Bolling field in Washington D. C. as a weather observer until early 1944. She was transferred to Chanute Field, Illinois and was one of the first 12 women to enter the AAF Technical School for advanced training in weather forecasting. After three years of service, she worked for a short time before enrolling at Rutgers and earning her PhD in Entomology. She married Ordway Starnes in 1947, also a military veteran and degreed in Entomology. She taught graduate level courses at Rutgers University for 20 years. In 1965, Eleanor and Ordway moved to Nairobi, Kenya helping the people build a new democracy. They retired to Camden, South Carolina 20 years later. Eleanor passed away at the age of 92 in January 2013.

Cardwell man's story while on the Ledo Road, WWII, was almost forgotten.  The Ledo Road:  an overland connection from In...
08/25/2022

Cardwell man's story while on the Ledo Road, WWII, was almost forgotten. The Ledo Road: an overland connection from India to China for transporting supplies to China during the war with Japan.
Maynard Noble was born in Cardwell and graduated from Cardwell High School in 1929. He was making a living as a carpenter and cabinetmaker. When WWII broke out, Maynard joined the Army and was stationed for 25 months with a unit of 10,000 other US troops to help build the Ledo Road. To ease the stress of working in the mucky jungle conditions, some of the soldiers tried to make rudimentary guitars by stretching wire across wood pallets. Maynard knew there was a better way. Using his carpentry and cabinetmaker skills, he created a brace to shape wood. Using a suitable local wood, he cut it into thin slices, boiled them and put them in the brace for 48 hours to create a guitar shape. The new basic guitars made the music sound more like home. Maynard returned home in late 1945 and returned to working in construction in Montana and California. He passed away in June 1957 and is buried at the South Boulder Cemetery. If any of the guitars made it back to the US and still exist, let the Jefferson Valley Museum know. (The photo is of a section of the Ledo Road)

Photo op in July 1909:  Boyd Tebay, Ethal Hindman, Ethal Charmdel, Sina Tebay, Johnny Reed, Lilly Bonder, Kate Greene, F...
08/19/2022

Photo op in July 1909: Boyd Tebay, Ethal Hindman, Ethal Charmdel, Sina Tebay, Johnny Reed, Lilly Bonder, Kate Greene, Frank Kountz, Will Tebay, Kate Tebay, Will Fitzhugh, and Fred Tebay. (Names not in the same order as the photo)

1909 - Murder Most Foul:  Note the date of death of Mrs. Crisp and Mr. Teear.  Both were murdered the same day in 1909. ...
08/11/2022

1909 - Murder Most Foul: Note the date of death of Mrs. Crisp and Mr. Teear. Both were murdered the same day in 1909. In brief, Mr. and Mrs Crisp were known to not trust banks (banks were different in those days than now). They had lost thousands of dollars from one in Helena and then picked the wrong one in Whitehall. It was rumored that they started to stash the cash in their home.
Mr. Teear and Mr. Crisp had adjoining properties and shared the farm labor. After Mr. Crisp passed away, Mr. Teear remained at the Crisp place. On the fateful day of February 20, 1909, someone (believed to be a young man who had been working in the area, shot and killed both in the cabin then set the house on fire to try to cover the crime. All that was found of money in the house after searching what remained was $2.75 in silver coins belonging to Mr. Teear.

Whitehall 5th grade class with teacher Miss Kountz, circa 1922.
08/05/2022

Whitehall 5th grade class with teacher Miss Kountz, circa 1922.

There is a lot in the news right now about heavy rains all across the nation.  So were headlines back in 1896.  West of ...
07/31/2022

There is a lot in the news right now about heavy rains all across the nation. So were headlines back in 1896. West of Denver, heavy rains caused destruction, South Dakota and Nebraska lost crops and hundreds of head of livestock. Here in the Jefferson Valley, at least one life was lost along with homes and crops. The photo is part of an article from the July 17, 1896, Jefferson Valley Zephyr.

The WHS Class of 1972 held their 50-year reunion at the museum on July 23rd.  All in the photo are classmates except the...
07/25/2022

The WHS Class of 1972 held their 50-year reunion at the museum on July 23rd. All in the photo are classmates except the gentleman in the cowboy hat and Hawaiian shirt.

Seats are still available for the historic tour of the South Boulder Cemetery on Friday and Saturday.  The Friday 10:30 ...
07/20/2022

Seats are still available for the historic tour of the South Boulder Cemetery on Friday and Saturday. The Friday 10:30 AM is near capacity. Stop by the museum and pick up your tickets. It looks like we will be able to stop at the Salvagni Ranch for the Tebay cabin.

Tickets for the Museum's summer historic tour of the South Boulder Cemetery on July 22 and 23rd are now available at the...
07/11/2022

Tickets for the Museum's summer historic tour of the South Boulder Cemetery on July 22 and 23rd are now available at the museum, noon to 4 PM (Monday hours may be shorter). Tickets are $5.00 per person. An extra donation to help cover fuel cost for the bus is greatly appreciated. All money goes to Whitehall Public Transportation for the use of the bus. There is a limit of 10 per tour. On the 22nd, the tour will be offered three times: 10:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM. Only one will be offered on Saturday, July 23rd at 2:00 PM.

Participants must be able to get on and off the bus and walk through the cemetery. Information given off of the bus will not be repeated on the bus. If highway construction does not interfere, we will also stop at the old Tebay cabin on the Salvagni ranch and then head down Tebay and McKeown lanes to Cardwell.

Circa 1922, the Yotter parade entry.
07/08/2022

Circa 1922, the Yotter parade entry.

A new picnic table (made all from recycled plastic) at the museum.  Donated in memory of Neal Schai by his family.  Some...
06/30/2022

A new picnic table (made all from recycled plastic) at the museum. Donated in memory of Neal Schai by his family. Some assembly required (with volunteer labor). There will be a brass plaque added with Neal's name, WHS graduation year, and military service rank. Thankyou Schai family for this wonderful addition to our museum grounds.

Legion Avenue, looking west, 1922.  Notice the tall pole on the left side.  That was a lighted flagpole erected near the...
06/25/2022

Legion Avenue, looking west, 1922. Notice the tall pole on the left side. That was a lighted flagpole erected near the end of WWI to fly a very large American flag. It would have been just west of the fishpond.

It's only 5 weeks until the 2022 Historic Tours take place.  They will leave from the museum and head to the South Bould...
06/18/2022

It's only 5 weeks until the 2022 Historic Tours take place. They will leave from the museum and head to the South Boulder Cemetery to learn more about some of the people who helped settle our valley. Other stops will be dependent on road construction.
Tours on Friday, July 22nd will be available at 10:30 AM; 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM. On Saturday, July 23rd, only one tour will be conducted at 2:00 PM. Each tour will be limited to 10 people. While the ticket price is still $5.00, we hope people will donate a little extra to help cover fuel cost. All money goes to Whitehall Public Transportation for the use of their bus. Tickets available about 2 weeks prior.

Our historic fishpond at the center of town is now 100 years old.  It was built in honor of WWI veterans and a Doughboy ...
06/12/2022

Our historic fishpond at the center of town is now 100 years old. It was built in honor of WWI veterans and a Doughboy once adorned the top; but, someone kept stealing it.

The first 25 copies of Ron Hunt's DVD on the history of Waterloo has sold out; BUT, we have reordered and they should ar...
06/06/2022

The first 25 copies of Ron Hunt's DVD on the history of Waterloo has sold out; BUT, we have reordered and they should arrive within the next couple of weeks. They will be available at the museum for $10.00 each or we can mail it to you. If you would like a DVD mailed, the cost is $14.00 each. Send a check made out to the Jefferson Valley Museum. Include your mailing address. Send your request to Jefferson Valley Museum, PO Box 902, Whitehall, MT 59759

19th CENTURY MURDER NEAR WHITETAIL CREEK - In the mid 1860s, the view of the To***co Root mountains was probably much li...
05/30/2022

19th CENTURY MURDER NEAR WHITETAIL CREEK - In the mid 1860s, the view of the To***co Root mountains was probably much like today. Our valley was an important travel route between Helena and Virgina City. In December 1863, our valley was the scene of a double murder.
On July 28, 1862, John White and a small party of other prospectors discovered gold on Grasshopper Creek and the town of Bannack was soon born. In December 1863, Mr. White and Rudolph Dorsett were in the area that would be known as the Milk Ranch (north of Whitehall just west of the Whitetail road) when they were murdered by Charley Kelly. No mention was found on what happened to Kelly or where White and Dorsett were buried.

As the class of WHS 2022 awaits their graduation, let's look back on the class of 1922.  It included George Beck, Allen ...
05/26/2022

As the class of WHS 2022 awaits their graduation, let's look back on the class of 1922. It included George Beck, Allen Bryan, George Bryan, Helen Harrington Carter, Verne Correia, Melvin Davies, Clem Davison, Gladys Elmer, Berniece Evans, Maude Jayne, Pansy Jenison, Bernard Johnston, Leslie Knight, Archie McDonald, Rosina Micklethwaite, Elizabeth Miller, Ralph Murphy, Henry Painter, Henry Reilly, John Smith, Cecil Thomas, Irma Thompson, Josphine Tidball, Lola Wetzel, Frank Wilson, and Clarence Young.

Our museum opens for the 2022 season on Saturday, May 28th and also open for visitors on Memorial Day, May 30th.  New ex...
05/22/2022

Our museum opens for the 2022 season on Saturday, May 28th and also open for visitors on Memorial Day, May 30th. New exhibits include Clays in Calico and 4-H history. We will be open from noon to 4 PM, Tuesday through Sunday each week until September 15th, our last day of the season. The museum office is staffed most Monday afternoons throughout the year by many of our volunteers. Hope to see you this summer.

Spring in the early 1930s, just like today, was training time for the Whitehall High track team.  (Although this is not ...
05/16/2022

Spring in the early 1930s, just like today, was training time for the Whitehall High track team. (Although this is not the track team, many of the members were the same as those who played other sports)

The center of town in the mid-1950s.
05/11/2022

The center of town in the mid-1950s.

If you were in Whitehall in the 1980s, you probably remember the fire that destroyed the businesses east of the theater ...
05/04/2022

If you were in Whitehall in the 1980s, you probably remember the fire that destroyed the businesses east of the theater - Montana Power, the Town Clerk, Rams were the first three from left to right.

Address

303 S Division Street
Whitehall, MT
59759

Opening Hours

Tuesday 12pm - 4pm
Wednesday 12pm - 4pm
Thursday 12pm - 4pm
Friday 12pm - 4pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm
Sunday 12pm - 4pm

Telephone

(406) 287-7813

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Comments

Arcylle Shaw, I hope you don't mind, but I think a photo in which you appear mind occur in a published book in the near future.
Thank you Jefferson Valley Museum and Whitehall Farmers Market for your support of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce. We appreciate all that you do for our community. Check out their member profile on the Chamber website: http://whitehallchamberofcommerce.com/chamber-directory/
From the 1971 WHS Trail.
Here's a photo of the 1964-1965 5th Grade Class at Whitehall Grade School.
Back Row: Mrs. Sigrid Woodward, Eddie Robinson, Bill Saunders, Charles Handsaker, Jim Weber, Michael Melvin, Byron Hanson, Greg Savage, Billy Churchill
Third Row: Sandra Davis, Andrea Boch, Glenda Younkin, Cindy Strozzi, Glenda Allen, Diana Crawford, Virginia Getz, Sandra Wilson, Sandra Strozzi, Peggy Bowman, Gena Molenda, Rebecca Risher
Second Row: Judy Winslow, Valinda Holmes, Arlene Weber, Cathy Redfern, Gail Speck, Linda Rust, Janet Way, Victoria McGee, Cindy Leithead
Front Row: Teddy Getz, Wayne Lemrick, Tim Haxby, Roy Millegan, Patrick Kountz, David Hanson, Bobby Helwig
Absent: Jean Losey
Here's a photo of the 1966-1967 5th Grade Class at Whitehall Grade School.
Back Row: Mrs. Helen Williams, Jonathon Snow, Joe Molenda, Kelly Warmoth, Mark LaMere, David Stout, Lance Rezac, Jim Patacini, Greg Strozzi, Mrs. Sigrid Woodward,
Middle Row: Curtis Smith, Teri Skogen, Sherry Hoover, Judiann Stratton, Paulette Held, Maureen McGlynn, Jim McCord, Mike Spackman
Front Row: Sandra Wallace, Dianne Budd, Lynnae Kaushagen, Raylynn Lauderdale, Shelley Preston, Tina Olind
Here's a photo of the 1965-1966 5th Grade Class at Whitehall Grade School.
Back Row: Mrs. Sigrid Woodward, Tom Carr, Allen Smith, Kerry Robertson, Sam Burt, Terry Chung, Duane Thompson, Terry Ball, Duncan Preston
Middle Row: Terry Olind, Henry Leduc, Dennis Heinzmann, Sandra Simonich, Darla Spackman, Kathryn Sears, Carla Jensen, Susan Seybert
Front Row: Lura Davenport, Cathy Davis, Ann Snow, Nadine Lutey, Karen Hoover, Susan Muldowney, Randi Piazzola, Bonnie Fuller, Geraldine Crowder
Thank you Jefferson Valley Museum for your support of the Whitehall Chamber of Commerce. We appreciate all that you do for our community.
Upcoming course with MSU and Museum of the Rockies.
Thought I would share this company I found in Bozeman, Montana for everyone who may be working on or plans to be working on preserving photos and other media files to digital and prints.

I'm searching for information about my birth mother. Does anyone out there know of Anna Frances Whealer, born October 10, 1903 in Parrot, Montana. Father Donald F. Whealer, mother nee Jennie Cox. Worked as a librarian in Detroit, then moved to Sun City, AZ, where she died in 1990. Anything you can share would be greatly appreciated.