I spent the day at the Big Timber Museum meeting lots of locals and hearing some amazing stories. I did get a minute to take a few images that will give you an idea how Memorial Day is celebrated here in Big Timber.
The other day I went to Emigrant to explore the upper area that is tucked more into the Gallatin Mountain Range. When I was driving I couldn’t help but think about the cult that runs this land and in all honest it made me a little bit nervous. From the research that I have done on The Community of North Glastonbury, it used to be a pretty forceful group. They have calmed down quite a bit in the last 10-20 years. With that in my head and me being an outsider, it was hard to feel even a little bit comfortable driving around that area.
Wyatt, from the Wildflower Bakery, told me that some of the people that live in the community go to the Bakery to eat and hang out sometimes. From his experiences Wyatt noticed that the people will always wear purple so you will always know that they are part of the community. Wyatt also mentioned that they were fairly kind people but would usually just stick to themselves. One last piece of information that Wyatt gave me was this book called Prophet’s Daughter: My Life with Elizabeth Clare Prophet Inside the Church Universal and Triumphant. This book is written by Elizabeth Prophet’s daughter, Erin Prophet. What I have gotten out of it is that the book is a biography of Elizabeth Prophet as well as a biography of the cult that actually started near Corwin Springs. Corwin Springs is still one of the top head quarters for the Church Universal and Triumphant.
This is the Yellowstone River, it runs though Gardiner Montana and in many regards is the life blood town. The Yellowstone River has it’s headwaters in the first national park, Yellowstone. From the park the river heads north and east to the gulf of Mexico. The Yellowstone river is longest free flowing river in the United State.
There are seven rafting companies in the small town of Gardiner, MT. Each summer season thousands of adventure seekers from around the world come to Gardiner to raft the mighty Yellowstone. The highlight of the trip is Yankee Jim’s Revenge a class three rapid.
The other day I spent some time at the Wildflower Bakery and Cafe. Wildflower is run by Emigrant locals that all live just down the road from the Bakery. Inside of the building is where all of the baked goods are made. There are also a bunch of smaller tables that seemed to be used by people looking for some wifi. On the outside there is a gorgeous patio looking out towards the Absaroka Mountain Range. The patio offers beers on tap and a huge meat smoker where they smoke all of there meat for lunch and dinner. The patio seemed to be very popular not only for people just stopping by, but for the locals as well. Everyone working was extremely friendly so I immediately sparked up a conversation with some of the people working. One of the workers that I kind of bonded with right away was a fairly young guy named Wyatt. Wyatt grew up in Gardiner and Missoula, Montana. Within the last couple of years, he decided to make his way to Emigrant for the outdoor recreation. He may be a great person to go to with some questions.
Within the next couple of days I plan on heading back to hopefully take some photos of Wyatt and a couple of other workers at the Wildflower Bakery and Cafe.
Many head out west; Gardiner Montana, has always been a magnet for those who seek adventure and work. This is Tiffany, she hails from southern Georgia. This is her second summer season in Gardiner. I met Tiffany at Yellowstone Pizza, where she is a waitress. Tiffany, is easy going and talkative, she is also a great subject.
Gardiner is a Montana small town of only 875 year round residents, the demographic of Gardiner is 97.30% Caucasian, 0.35% African American. Tiffany laughed and joked about this fact, Stating “I don’t mind being one of the only black folks in town, but, I don’t mind most things though.” Tiffany, seems to fit in great here in this western small town, it is folks like her that make G-town a magical place.
Gardiner, Montana the original gateway to Yellowstone National Park. This is Roosevelt Arch, which was dedicated on April 24th. 1903 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Gardiner is Yellowstone’s only year round entrance, it is also where the National Park Service and Xanterra the park concessionaire are headquartered. Because of this, many people come from around the country and the world to work in Gardiner during the short summer months.
Captain William Clark led The Corps of Discovery into what is now Sweet Grass County in 1806, but it wasn’t until 1883, and the Northern Pacific Railroad came through, that Big Timber (formerly named Dornix) was born. A railroad station was constructed at Dornix, a small settlement at the confluence of the Boulder and Yellowstone rivers, whose economy revolved around a saw mill. Within a very short time Dornix moved to higher ground and renamed Big Timber for the large cottonwood trees growing along the rivers. Big Timber was within the Crow Indian reservation lands until 1891, when the Crow Nation ceded their lands west of the Boulder River to the United States Government.
In 1880, two Irishmen, Charles McDonnell and Edward Veasey, drove 3,000 head of sheep from California to Montana, beginning a long history of sheep and cattle ranching in the area. In 1901 the first woolen mill in Montana was built in Big Timber, and at one time Big Timber shipped more wool than any other city in the United States. While farming and ranching are still the backbone of the area, platinum/palladium mining has become a major contributor to the economy. A bus comes everyday to Big Timber to pick up the workers for the mine.