Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Philipsburg, Montana

 Today, Philipsburg, an old Montana mining town, was on our agenda. The map said we'd go about 50 miles on I-90, then 20 plus on the scenic Pintler Loop to Philipsburg. Well, always one to want to avoid the freeway, Mr. Keith asked if there were another way. There was the Rock Creek Road, a gravel and dirt road that did indeed come out at the town, but whose condition was unknown to us. We loved the scenery along the creek, but the road got more narrow and more bumpy as we went along. After 20 miles we came across a worker who advised us that the road only got worse and worse and she would never take her car on it, so we reluctantly turned around and retraced our miles back to the freeway. An hour later we'd reached our destination.

 Philipsburg was founded in 1867 and grew rapidly at a “rate of one house a day,” and by year’s end had reached a population of about 1,500 residents. At the height of its prosperity, Philipsburg enjoyed the mining boom of the late 1800s, and today honors that past. The town is fully occupied and caters to tourists. On this hot day, the streets were lined with cars and the sidewalks with people going in and out of the many gift shops, museums, and of course the famous Candy Palace, the largest candy store we'd ever been in. We succumbed and bought a bag of delicious taffy made on site.

 At last, we were able to have the buffalo burger I've been wanting since we came to Montana at the beginning of the season! The Doe Brothers' Restaurant was in an old original store, one with the high ceilings and creaky wooden floorboards. We split the burger, since we can't eat that much any longer! Today we stayed mainly in the town. Philipsburg also has garnet mining for the tourists, and a mostly ruined ghost town called Granite up in the hills above the town. We'd toured those before but because of our late arrival after our Rock Creek exploration we chose to stay closer in.

 I had to snap a photo of this unusual blue-eyed, brown-eyed and friendly doggie named "Annie"!

 This majestic building has "High School" carved into the tower, but actually houses kindergarten through 12th grade. It was built back when the town was founded and is still in use around 150 years later.

 The Pintler Highway goes through this beautiful valley, so typical of the western Montana scenery. There were cows everywhere, peacefully grazing the day away.

We were intrigued by this odd tree stump decoration. It looks like a variety of cow, mountain goat, deer, and maybe some other assorted horns and antlers. All in all, our trip today was rewarding and we learned more about Montana history. The best part may have been the taffy and the buffalo burger!

No comments: