Montana Highway 1, the Pintler Scenic Route as I knew it during the 1984-85 state historic preservation plan survey, provides travelers with two distinct experiences. The southern half is a mining landscape, centered on the urban places of Anaconda and Philipsburg. The northern half is very agricultural, a place where cowboys and cowgirls still roam. It is one of my favorite parts of the state. Fret not, I won’t explore every nook and cranny but I will talk about three favorite places.
First up is the village of Hall, which is north of Phillipsburg. The Northern Pacific Railroad ran its spur line from Drummond to Philipsburg through the middle of the valley, leaving Hall as the halfway stop between the larger towns. Just as in 1984, the old town bank still served as the post office. Hogan’s Store still stood near the railroad tracks and a lone grain elevator stood along the old railroad corridor.
So too was the historic school at Hall still standing–in fact this c. 1920 brick building continues to serve local children as it has for decades. The same was true for the Stockman
Bar–maybe not as old as the school building but not far behind and still in business despite the proximity to Drummond and Philipsburg. Then there is a wonderful piece of yard art in Hall–leaving no doubt about the primary agricultural product here.
As you travel north on Montana Highway 1 you next, unexpectedly, cross the historic Mullan Road, one of the oldest roads in the northwest. Parts of the road are graveled and graded, others are paved, but whatever the condition the road takes you to 19th century log
buildings, even a dog-trot type log dwelling as well as the spectacular Valley Cemetery. I call it spectacular not for its cemetery art–although there is more than you would expect–but for its setting in the Flint Valley.
Wherever you look the vista is jaw dropping and can’t be that different than what Capt. Mullan and crew experienced in the late 1850s as they trekked this way. The Annie Milroy grave marker and statue (1912) speaks to the sadness that many homesteaders experienced as they tried to make a go of it in this demanding land.
Union Army Civil War veteran Franklin Taylor found his final resting place here, an indication of the cemetery’s early date as is the beautiful cross marker for Michael Dooley, who died in 1886.
The nearby elaborate carving of the Bergman family marker is just another indication that this cemetery deserves additional, full research. (Not far away from Hall is the lone obelisk marker for the historic Emmitsburg Cemetery, another early settlement site.) My next post will finish the Pintler Scenic Route with a deep look at Drummond.