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Feature Article: Charlie Russell Chew Choo
Article 1: This Date in History: March 1, 1872
Article 2: Your Ultimate Montana Guide
Article 3: Norris Hot Springs
Article 4: The Winter of 1886

Feature Article
Charlie Russell Chew Choo
408 NE Main, Lewistown, 538-5436.

This is one of the country’s premier dinner trains. People from all over the world come here to experience this truly unique adventure. The ride includes great scenery, wildlife viewing opportunities, live entertainment, and a great Western style dinner you’ll be talking about years after your trip. The train has grown from two cars to five since its inception in 1994. There is one car used for food preparation and a bar area, three used for dining, and one containing a gift shop and modern restrooms.

The train crosses three 150 foot high trestles ranging in length from 1,300 to 1,900 feet. The train also passes through a half-mile long tunnel enroute. It’s almost a guarantee that you’ll see abundant wildlife along the route. The train passes through four railroad towns, three of which were built specifically by the railroad companies—Ware, Danvers, and Husac. And while you’re watching the scenery, keep your eyes out for outlaws who may be staking out a potential train job. The train turns around at Denton and dessert is served on the return trip.

An average of 184 people make each trip. The train runs a regular schedule and does charters for groups and organizations. It’s a good idea to make reservations well in advance (at least two weeks). Reservations can be made by calling 538-2527. The current cost (subject to change) is $75 which includes a prime rib dinner. There is a cash bar available on the train.

Reprinted from “The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia”

Article 1
This Date in History: March 1, 1872
The Birth of Yellowstone National Park

Situated on the headwaters of the Yellowstone River in Montana and Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park became the first park of its type in the world on March 1, 1872. After years of prior exploration and use from Native Americans and early fur trappers, the Washburn Expedition during the summer of 1871 decided to petition Congress to preserve the land as a national park. Congress approved the measure without reserve, and Nathaniel P. Langford was assigned as the first Yellowstone National Park Superintendant. Although the Montana pioneer received no pay for his position, Langford willingly oversaw park operations during its first five years. Today, the park remains one of America’s most popular national outdoor treasures.

Article 2
Your Ultimate Montana Guide

The most famous explorers relied on a knowledgeable guide, and now you can too. The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia is your essential reference guide for discovering every corner of Montana mile by mile. User friendly and packed with everything you need to know about the Treasure State, this single volume offers more information than nearly a dozen other top Montana guidebooks combined! Discover for yourself today why everyone is raving about this bestseller!

Article 3
Norris Hot Springs
East of Norris on Hwy. 84. 406-685-3303.

Near the Madison River this swimming hole has changed very little since the 1880s era open-air wooden pool and bath house were built. The water in the privately owned pool is about 105 degrees F. The hot springs has had a wild reputation over the years, primarily for the swimsuit optional “buff nights” which were discontinued in the late 1990s in order to appeal to a wider base of clientele. The springs are open year round with an admission fee, and during the week, the facility often hosts live music performances.

Reprinted from “The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia”

Article 4
The Winter of 1886

For those who think Montana winters are cold and long, think again. Few, if any, winters in the written history of the West were as devastating as the winter of 1886. The summer preceding it was unusually hot and dry. Some areas received no more than two inches of rain all summer. Others received less and the range was parched and overgrazed. At the time, there were over a million head of cattle grazing in the state. The ranchers prayed for a wet autumn and an easy winter. But an easy winter would not arrive.

On December 24th it began to snow and the temperatures plummeted. By the 27th, the temperatures had dropped below zero and the Missouri River was frozen at Fort Benton. The cattle couldn’t break through the snow to feed. The cowboys, in what was mostly a futile attempt, worked round the clock in temperatures reaching -55º F with wind chills approaching -95º to get feed to the cattle.

The storm continued into March when it finally broke. The ranches were so devastated, many didn’t recover. The toll was significant. Almost 60% of the million head of cattle perished. A cowboy could walk from carcass to carcass and never touch ground. Food was in such short supply that a bag of flour sold for $7 in 1886 prices.

Reprinted from “The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia”

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