Cool Things to See and Do in Toole County MT
Sherrie Murphy says, visit us in Toole County Montana and have Cool Time!

Mar
05

Shelby, Montana is one of three locations in Montana, fortunate enough to host a Smithsonian traveling exhibit.   “Native Words, Native Warriors” tells the fascinating story of how the U.S. Military used the Native American Languages, as part of a code during WWII.   Native American code-talkers relayed critical information, in a code that couldn’t be cracked by the enemy; they were invaluable to the United States and it’s allies.  An open house, on July 10, 2011, will kick off the exhibit; it will be worth attending.   “Native Words, Native Warriors” will be in Shelby through July, and is hosted by the Marias Museum of Art and History.  Mark you calendars to see this tribute to our American heroes!

http://www.sites.si.edu/exhibitions/exhibits/codetalkers/main.htm

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Mar
01

Sunburst Senior Center is another good place to eat lunch, for a very reasonable price.  The best part of the meal, though, is the laughter and conversation at the tables.  Lunch is served at the Senior Center, 114 1st Ave. South, each weekday at noon.  Please call Laura at 937-2115 before 10:00 a.m. if you will be joining them for lunch.  One evening meal month per month is served, instead of lunch.  Meals can be delivered, when necessary.  An exercise class will be starting in March for seniors, and anyone else, who wants to get in a workout.   I encourage everyone to eat lunch at the Senior Center – you will meet some really great people!

Mar
01

I can’t talk about Toole County, without mentioning the wind.  Cool Thing #105 shows a fir tree that has stood for many years, but its growth has been influenced by the prevailing westerlies.  Chinooks are a welcome wind, because they can warm us in record time; the beautiful Chinook Arch is a bonus.  Then there are the Arctic northerly winds, not as appreciated, because they bring severe snowstorms, poor driving conditions, and frozen water pipes.  Shovel the sidewalk, and go inside to get warm; 15 minutes later, shovel the same portion of the sidewalk, back inside to warm; then 15 minutes later, shovel the same bit of sidewalk; Toole County residents know the routine. Seriously!  The erosion created by the wind, has created tremendous beauty in our landscape.

Mar
01

July, 1955, an explosion resulted when Melvin Linnell, Sunburst, tried to light a water heater in his basement.  Occupants of another home, reported water and gasoline leaking into their basement.  The Texaco Refinery in Sunburst, Montana, discovered a gasoline leak in their underground pipeline.  The leaking gasoline had already contaminated the groundwater and soil under the refinery.  Texaco made an effort to pump gasoline out of the ground for two years, after the leak was discovered.  Carcinogen benzene and gasoline toxins remained in the groundwater and soil.

Montana DEQ supervised a cleanup in 1989, but local Toole County residents in Sunburst,  didn’t like that gasoline toxins remained underground.  Sunburst School District and area property owners sued Texaco; and Texaco was ultimately ordered to cleanup the 19 acre plume under Sunburst.  The third and final section, located at 3rd Avenue and 3rd Street in Sunburst, is being decontaminated 56 years after the leak was discovered.   The contaminated soil is transported approximately one mile west of Sunburst, and dumped.  The gasoline will evaporate when exposed to the environment.  I smelled the strong odor of gasoline when the trucks went by me, as they hauled the soil from the site.

Feb
28

You can’t miss the big, orange building, just east of Shelby, on U.S.Highway 2, at mile marker 281.7.  The Cinch Ring was built by a 4-5 local businessmen to be used as a roping arena.  There were about 40 stalls inside the building, a tack shop, a veterinarians office, and even a cafe for a while.  The building was used for breaking horses, as well as roping.

A circus, that was scheduled for the Marias Fairgrounds, was rained-out in the late 1960s, or early 1970s; hay bales were used as bleachers, and the Cinch Ring provided a great indoor circus for the Toole County residents.  Circus trucks were parked at the fairgrounds, and the elephants were walked up the hill, and into the Cinch Ring.  I was so proud that my Uncle Bobby made the circus happen – he was the coolest!  Best. Circus. Ever.

Feb
27

The Whoop Up Trail State Historical Site was designated an historical site, February 19, 1968.  Whoop Up Trail ruts are visible near this monument, on U.S. Highway 2, mile marker 283.3.  Cool Thing #55 briefly explains that the trail was a vital link between Fort Benton and Fort McLeod.  Ox-drawn wagons covered 240 miles with supplies, in 12 to 20 days.  Boy Scouts of America erected the monument and developed the park.

Feb
27

Ten Pin Alley is a fun place to spend some quality family time.  The bowling alley, at 962 Oilfield Avenue, Shelby, Montana, is open Friday and Saturday, from noon until Midnight; and Sunday from noon until 5:00 p.m.  Kids League is Sunday at 2:00 p.m.; Leagues for mixed, women, and men, during the week, are not open to the public.  Saturday is the best time to bowl, because all day is black-light day.  Go to facebook.com/tenpinalleyshelbymt for more information.  The bowling alley is under construction when it’s not open, and there’s much more to come!

Feb
27

Bob and Charlotte Marshall, north of Shelby, authored a “Step-by Step Guide to Rebuilding Spring Wagons”.   Its possible, that even I could build a spring wagon with their clear direction, if only I had the motivation.  This book is written from Mr. and Mrs. Marshall’ s expertise, and when you see the wagons they build, you will see that they are true experts.  Awesome wagons!

Feb
27

Linda Lee told me about “101 Things to Do and Know about Shelby and the Surrounding Areas”.  It was published in 1996/1997, by the Shelby Chamber of Commerce.   Many things have changed from this publication, in a short 15  years, but many remain the same.

The 101 things include: Chamber of Commerce; Shelby, America’s Western Crossroads; Travel Information Network 96.3FM; Shop Shelby; Import/Export; Dining out in Shelby; Communications; Transportation; Sweetgrass Port; Movie theater; Toole County Library; July 4th Celebration; Media; Downtown special events; Ground Transportation; Gateway to Alaska; Swimming pool; Amtrak; Pamida; Employment Services; Toole County Community Theater; Hutterites; Milk River; Antiques; Our Towns; Civic Center; Get Cash 24-Hours a day/Seven days a week; Toole County History; Dempsey-Gibbons Fight; KSEN Radio – AM 1150; Harvest; Historical Museum; Toole County Hospital; Marias River; Toole County nursing Home; National Guard; Bed & Breakfast – Valier; Ghost Towns; Outfitting; Jerusalem Rocks; Motels; Kevin-Sunburst Field; St. William Catholic Church; Churches; Ceramics; Tennis Courts; Trapshooting; Whoop-up Trail; Running; Day Trips; Oilfield Golf Tournament; Senior Center; Cycling; Banquets, Convention Facilities; Quilting; Dinosaurs; Shelby/Cut Bank Branch of the Institute of the Arts; Fishing; Indian Tepee Rings; Sagebrush Food Pantry; Marias Valley Golf and Country Club; Financial Institutions; Head Start; Victoria Days; Rimrock – Trailways; Espresso Shops; Rocky Mountain Hi; Friendly People; Archery; Blackfeet Indian Reservation; Glacier National Park; Buffalo Jumps; North American Indian Days; Cattle Country; Indian Arrowheads; Lake Shel-oole; R.V. Parking; Camping; Airport; Freezeout lake; Montana Nannies; Shelby Nightlife; Horseshoes; Marias Fair; Classic Car Event; Rodeo; Pet and Doll Parade; Day Care Facilities; Malmstrom Air Force Base; Concrete Plaza; Hunting; Rafting Fun; Shelby Baseball; Lake Frances – Valier; Tiber Dam-Lake Elwell; Toole County Courthouse; Waterskiing, Motorboats, and Jet Skis; Northern Express Transportation Authority; Burlington Northern – Santa Fe; Catering Large Groups, Shelby’s Public Parks.

We are truly fortunate to live in Toole County.  There are so many cool things, not only in Toole County, but many that are just a short drive away from Toole County.

Feb
27

The Cottage Keep is a fantastic floral/gift store, in a quiet neighborhood in Shelby.   It  is located at 704 Marias Ave., two blocks west of Oilfield Avenue.  This adorable brick building is filled with absolutely beautiful gifts, including Montana Made jewelry, frames, stained glass lamps, candles, art, webkins, incredible wooden furniture, and so much more.

The fragrant roses are very fresh; they come from the fields in Ecuador, to the door of Cottage Keep in two days.  Cindy can have flowers sent to anyone, anywhere, via Bloom net, or FSN, privately owned by florists.  The staff will create silk arrangements in whatever you bring to them.  Cottage Keep provides positively outrageous service, Monday through Friday from 9:00 to 5:00 p.m., and ten to four on Saturdays.   This is a great place to get a very special, unique gift for someone you love.  And then there are the flowers…who doesn’t love roses?  You won’t regret going a couple of extra blocks to the Cottage Keep.  More information at 424-2211 or http://www.cottagekeepflorist.com

Feb
26

Friends of the Library Book Club members pack their lunch, and get together at noon on the 4th Tuesday each month.  Each meeting, the members discuss the book they’ve just read.  They also decide which book to read next; read it during the month; then get together to discuss it at the next meeting.  Everyone is welcome to join them in the basement of the Toole County Library.  What a great way to share different interpretations of books.

Feb
26

Hjortur Hjartarson authored a great book about his life in Toole and Glacier Counties.  “A Rendezvous With Change” is full of our precious, local history.   Mr. Hjartarson talks about the harsh reality of growing up on homesteads; the Baker Massacre; swift justice in the 1930s, and the changes in the legal system over the  years.  He remembers the bandits who came here in 1936, and the gunfight that took the lives of Toole County Undersheriff Shelt Alsup and Chief of Police Ed Tenbrook.   Mr. Hjartarson talks about his family, fun, schooling, faith, war, and much more.  I encourage you to read his book – it is a great read!  You can borrow the book from the Toole County Library.

Feb
20

There are three locations in the United States with an antipode; Toole County, Montana is one of the three.  If you dig a hole straight through the center of the earth, you would not come out in China; you would come out in the Kerguelen Islands.  Most  U.S. citizens would come out in the Indian Ocean.

Check it out at http://www.ubasics.com/dighole/

http://www.zefrank.com/sandwich/tool.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kerguelen_Islands

Feb
19

Prohibition laws banned alcohol in the United States, from 1920 until 1933.  Montana passed a referendum in 1926, preventing Montana officers from enforcing prohibition laws.  Prohibition Agents weren’t able to make a dent in the illegal whiskey trade on the Bootlegger Trail; especially without the help of Montana law enforcement.

The laws didn’t stop alcohol trade or consumption in the United States, and certainly not in Montana.   Illegal whiskey was transported from Canada to Great Falls, via Galata, on the Bootlegger Trail.  North of U.S. Highway 2, Bootlegger Trail is known as the Galata Road; but south of Highway 2, it is still the Bootlegger Trail.  When Tiber Dam was built, Lake Elwell covered a good portion of the historic Bootlegger Trail.  The pictured bucket is only one of the creative ways, whiskey was hidden when it was transported.  The bucket can be seen at the Marias Museum of History and Art.

Feb
18

I’m not endorsing graffiti, but some of the BNSF cars that come through Toole County, are really cool.  I doubt that Burlington Northern/Santa Fe appreciates the art work on their cars, but I do.  Some of the artwork is amazing.  Check it out, next time you see colorful cars on the train.

Feb
18

Creative, kind ladies and one gentleman, from Toole, Glacier, Pondera, Liberty and Hill Counties have their business meeting, every third Tuesday, each month, at the Senior Center in Shelby.   The charity work, and the individual donations of each member is priceless.

The Triangle Squares Quilt Guild is always doing something for someone.  The members talked about their joint projects: making quilts for ambulance patients, Hi Line Help for Abused Spouses’ children, Florence Crittenton Home newborn babies, and stockings (and filling them) for our soldiers; the list of their generosity is extensive.  They occasionally travel together, and have a great party each year.  The members obviously work hard, but they also know how to enjoy themselves.   Good People!

Feb
18

A cool traveling, military exhibit, will be coming to Toole County in June, 2011.  Dates are not set yet, but it should be here for about a month.  Shelby is one of only three locations in Montana, where the exhibit will be displayed.  More information later!

Feb
13

The old Telstad Community Hall was moved to Galata in the late 1920s, and added to the Galata Community Hall.  The hall is still in use, and is located the north end of Galata.  Telstad, Montana was an active little town until a few years before the building was moved to Galata, Montana.

Feb
13

Prairie Oasis Animal Shelter has a Bingo fundraiser, at the Shelby Senior Center each year, right around Valentine’s Day.   They earn about $500.00, which means the bingo players go home with the other $500.00.  There are snacks and drawings for door prizes.  I learned new ways to play bingo: Straight, Six-pack, All Round Free, Four Corners, B & O Row, and blackout.   It’s great that local citizens support fundraisers in Toole County.

Feb
06

Northwestern Energy gathers gas from different producers during times of low demand, compresses the gas, then stores it for times of high demand.  The natural gas is pushed into the ground, via bidirectional compressors, wells, pipelines, etc, into a natural storage field.  The field, in Toole and Glacier Counties, does not have a storage container underground, but the 900 pounds of natural gas is trapped in the ground, where gas had originally been found.  Natural gas was discovered in Toole County in 1914.

During times of high demand, during our Montana winters, the natural gas is brought back out of natural storage.  The natural gas will supply three months of energy, with a couple of billion cubic feet of gas, for a much greater population than Toole and Glacier Counties.

Cobb Storage, is the largest natural gas storage field, of three fields, in Montana.  Loop Road, just north of the intersection of Bunyak Road, you will see plenty of evidence that natural gas is pumped back into the ground, and extracted later, at times of high demand.