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Crazy Mountains Museum
Cemetery Road, Big Timber. 932-5126

Crazy Mountain Museum encompasses the historical background of Sweet Grass County and the surrounding areas. One of the more exceptional displays is a model replica of Big Timber in 1907. It includes 184 buildings which took 6 years to research and build. The model, a representation of miniature artistry and meticulous craftsmanship, is a historically accurate replica built on a scale of 1/16”=1’ and depicts 12 1/2 square blocks of the town. 184 buildings—1,018 windows—406 doors—143 chimneys—152 power and telephone poles—135 people—22 vehicles—6 bicycles—35 horses—18 sheep—4 cows—20 chickens—8 dogs—4 cats—and 4 pigeons. The details are incredible. Look for clothes on a line, merchandise in windows, a hobo under a tree, axes in woodpiles, gardens, a blacksmith, wool sacks, coal bins, wheelbarrows, manure piles, milk cans, bars on jail and salon windows, a drunk, a swim in an apple tree, a red light on the porch of a female boarding house, a dog in a trash can, ladders, hitching posts, horse troughs, spokes on poles for linemen, a picture on front of the Auditorium, and a towel on a wall in back of the bathhouse, and more!

On the grounds of the museum is a unique structure known as a stabbur. The Stabbur was built as a memorial to the Norwegian pioneers who helped build Sweet Grass County. Buildings like these were a common site in Norway and often had flowers and small trees growing out of their sod roof. The were built as storehouses, and were often decorated with wood carvings. A farmer’s wealth in Norway was measured by the contents of his stabbur. It was his security and signature and was assurance of food for the long winters. The stabbur was usually two stories with the stairs leading to the lower locked door built a distance from the building— “greater than a rat could jump.” The first level was where the grain and other foods were stored including the salted or dried fish, hams and mutton which hung from hooks in the ceiling. The second floor was for clothing, trunks, and other valuables.

Reprinted from The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia
http://www.ultimatemontana.com

The Bonanza or Bozeman Trail
Text of Historic Marker near Big Timber

In the early 1860s there wasn’t a ranch in this country from Bismarck to Bozeman and from the Platte River to Canada. To whites it was land considered “fit only to raise Indians” and while some of them were hoping for a crop failure, the majority were indifferent. They didn’t care how much the tribes fought amongst themselves. They were like the old-timer whose wife was battling a grizzly bear. He said he never had seen a fight where he took so little interest in the outcome.

Then the white man’s greed asserted itself and he looked for a shortcut from the Oregon Trail at Laramie, Wyoming, to the gold diggin’s of western Montana. The Bonanza or Bozeman Trail across Indian hunting grounds was the result. It forded the Yellowstone near here, coming from the southeast. It was a trail soaked with the blood of warriors, soldiers, and immigrants. Thousands of Sioux warriors, primarily under Red Cloud, bolstered by hundreds of Cheyennes and some Arapahos, fought the trail for six years and forced its closure by the Government in 1868.

Reprinted from The Ultimate Montana Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia
http://www.ultimatemontana.com

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