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Where is Lump Gulch, Montana?

Northern Pacific Trestle, Evaro 1883

Northern Pacific Trestle near Evaro, 1883

In case you missed the news release, here’s a project from “the damn govmint” that’s just darn cool. The Montana State Historical Society and the Montana State Library have created a website based on the book “Montana Place Names from Alzada to Zortman“. I don’t know about you, but this kind of historical trivia just rings my bell.

Bet you didn’t know that the town of Peerless, up in the northeast corner of the Treasure State, was named for Schlitz-Peerless beer, the community’s brew of choice at the time. Ever wonder where the name for Makoshika State Park came from? Well, Makoshika (or Maco Sica) is a Sioux word meaning “badlands.” And “Ekalaka is named for Ijkalaka, the Ogallala Sioux niece of Chief Red Cloud and the bride of David Russell, who opened a store and saloon there in 1885.” As for Deadmans Basin Reservoir,

Legend has it that in the 1860s a horse wrangler in the area was strung up by a local vigilance committee after several different brands were discovered in his herd. The Deadmans Basin Reservoir covers 2,000 acres, impounding 57,000 acre-feet of Musselshell River water.

Sunday in Ekalaka, 1890

This nifty website is just crammed with interesting trivia about Montana places, people and place names. It uses a kinda gimpy map interface, but it works good for the most part. There are several wonderful historical society photographs from the book, but I wish there were more. Give it a try. This is participatory government at its best. If you have an idea for a place name that was missed, for the next edition of the book, you can write the good folks at the State Library and let them know. If not, just drop them a line and let them know how much you appreciate them making more of our history available online.


2 Responses

  1. Thank you for your kind comments about the Montana Place Names Companion web site. I am the Programmer of this web site. I was wondering if you could tell me why you found the map interface “kinda gimpy?”

    I would like to know what problems you ran into so that I might have a chance to improve what you ran into. First, it would help if could tell me what browser you were using.

    This application uses the very latest state-of-the-art ERSI ArcGIS Server technology and we think as map applications go, it is very snappy and responsive.

    Again, I apprecite your input… Jeff Dobb …MSL

    • Jeff,

      Sorry if the “gimpy” comment was a little more harsh than I meant it to be. Overall, I found the interface to be very responsive. A couple of times, I did have the “Click for details” banner pop up over the circle when I got toward the center of the map (Power & Floweree) and I could not click the circle. I had to fiddle with the map size to get the banner out of the way so I could click. The Zoom bar seemed to get stuck a couple of times and moved with my mouse when I was no longer near the bar. Pretty minor stuff really. I’m using Firefox v.3.0.11.

      I’m really very impressed with the application. Kudos for all the work you did. I just noticed the map feature that changes to topographic when you zoom in far enough. That’s cool. I guess I would have known that if I read the instructions, but…

      I’m really looking forward to seeing the places expanded and I’d like to see more historic photos, but you will never please everybody. Again, this is a great application and everybody involved is to be commended. I hope it gets lots of use. Thanks for all the work.

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