Ghost town convention to unearth histories

Alastair Baker
News Editor
Thursday, August 22, 2019

The Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society (MGTPS) will be holding its convention in Red Lodge Sept. 6-8 at the Old Roosevelt School.

This year’s convention chairman is Don Black.

The convention will include a guided tour of the Carbon County Historical Society and Museum on Sept. 6 from 4:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.

On Saturday at the Old Roosevelt School presentations will begin at 9 a.m. with Prof. Larry Loendorf presenting ‘Horse Bones and Horse Pictures on the Rocks.’

Loendorf, PhD, is a native Montana who received a BA and MA degrees from the University of Montana and a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He taught at the University of North Dakota and then New Mexico State University. He currently manages Sacred Sites Research, Inc. During his career he has located and excavated dozens of sites in the Pryor Mountains. For the past 30 years he has concentrated on rock art related research. He has written numerous books and articles about Montana archaeology.

At 10:15 a.m. Montana Historian Jon Axline will present a talk on ‘Bearcreek: Life and death and life in a Montana Coal Camp.’ 

Axline, MA, is a graduate of MSU and is the historian at the Montana Department of transportation. Published extensively on a wide variety of historical subject in Montana The Magazine of Western History and Montana Magazine. He has written numerous books on the Big Sky Country.

Lunch will be from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Pollard Hotel.

At 1 p.m. there will be a field trip led by geologist and historian Linda Dutcher.

Dutcher, PhD, has been an MGTPS member since 2000 and has researched Montana geology and mining history since her retirement as a geologist employed with industrial minerals, fluorspar and coal mining companies.  She has contributed articles to the Montana Ghost Town Quarterly.

A social hour, banquet and annual meeting will commence at 5:45 p.m. with presenter and speaker Jeff McNeish at the Old Roosevelt School.

On Sept. 8 there will be a field trip in the morning to Mountain View with Linda Dutcher as a guide and host. 

 McNeish, BA, was born and raised in Billings. He works in software development but his hobbies include history and genealogy. He is related to 11 members of the “underground day shift” that reported to work on Feb. 27, 1943, the day of the Smith Mine Disaster. The lives of two other relatives were lost to the Smith Mine during the 1930s.

The goal of MGTPS is "to preserve and maintain ghost towns and historic sites in the state of Montana, and to develop an appreciation of the cultural benefits in the sites, buildings, and artifacts that are part of the living museum formed from the beginnings of Montana."

According to the MGTPS website more than 600 mining camps and towns existed at some time in Montana's past. 



Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 11:30am
    Ross Orchards, located at 111 North Street in Fromberg, is proud to announce the opening of a farm stand this Fall. The orchard will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays noon - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 21 and closing Oct. 13. The orchard is working in conjunction with the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill and Red Lodge Ales to offer fun, family-friendly events.   Every weekend apples, fresh apple cider pressed with apples from the orchard, apple pastries, local honey, food, hard cider, and beer will be available.  There will also be pumpkins and a variety of local produce for sale. Additionally, each weekend will have a different event. Sept. 21 - 22 – Cider and Salutations yoga 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28 – A farm to table dinner at 5 p.m. catered by the Last Chance Pub’s chef Kevin McNourlin. The dinner will feature local foods paired with cider. Contact to reserve seats (limit 40) Oct. 5 - 6 - Kidz Dayz. Bounce house, pumpkin carving, face painting and tractor rides through the orchard. Oct. 12- Orchard run 5k. A family-friendly run/walk through Ross Orchards. Visit to sign up. Sam Hoffmann, President of Red Lodge Ales, remarked, “it has been fun to get to know John, Laura, Hilary, and Elizabeth Ross over the last ten plus years. Together we have pruned, picked apples, and made cider on a home brew level and now commercially. We are proud to share our work with the public.” John Ross, owner of Ross Orchards, adds, “The orchard has always been a source of pride and happiness for me.  Our family has enjoyed working with Sam and Lindsey Hoffmann and their employees. We look forward to the success of Orchard days.” Contact for more info: John Ross 406-671-9614,; Sam Hoffmann 406-425-4607,; Lindsey Hoffmann 406-425-3734,  
  • Monday, September 23, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.