- Things to See, Historical Markers/Interpretive Sign, Historic Sites
- General info
Location: Hwy. 212 in Red Lodge
Coal was discovered in the Rock Creek Valley nearly two decades before Red Lodge was established as a mail stop on the Meteetsee Trail in 1884. In 1887, the Rocky Fork Coal Company opened the ﬁrst large-scale mine at Red Lodge sparking the communitys ﬁrst building boom, consisting mostly of hastily constructed shacks and log huts. The completion of the Northern Paciﬁc Railway branch line to Red Lodge in 1890 resulted in the construction of many brick and sandstone buildings that now line the citys main street.
Like all mining camps, Red Lodge had a large population of single men and an abundance of saloons. For many years, the notorious Liver-eatingJohnson kept the peace as the towns ﬁrst constable. Red Lodge also boasted several churches and social clubs for those not inclined toward the citys more earthier entertainment.
Hundreds of people came to Red Lodge in the 1890s and early 1900s. Immigrants from all over Europe worked shoulder-to-shoulder in the coal mines, but settled in neighborhoods called Finn Town, Little Italy and Hi Bug. Their cultural traditions endured and are celebrated at the citys annual Festival of Nations.
Production in the coal mines declined after World War I, eventually leading to their closure by 1932. The completion of the scenic Beartooth Highway in 1936 revitalized Red Lodge by linking it directly to Yellowstone National Park. Today, Red Lodges past is represented by its historic buildings and by the pride its citizens take in its history and traditions.
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