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93 YEARS AGO • MARCH 3, 1925

FIRST ROOFED HOUSE IN MONTANA LOCATED EAST OF TOWN

Built by David Thompson in Fall of 1809

Possibly the greatest event of historical importance that has ever happened in the northwest occurred last Saturday when Will Café of Missoula, Historian of the Pioneers Association of Montana, unearthed the remains of the cabin that was built by David Thompson, just east of town.

David Thompson was a surveyor for the British government and is claimed to be the greatest geographer the British Empire ever produced who mapped out and established posts for the Hudson Bay Company throughout the Northwest. He established the cabin near town in the fall of 1809 and stayed there until the next spring. This cabin was the first roofed house in what is now the great state of Montana and many reports have been made and much money spent to locate the ruins in years gone by.

Mr. Cave deserves much credit for his labors in this direction and by his discovery no doubt will be the means of making this spot one of the historical places not only in Montana but in The United States. Steps will be taken immediately to influence the government in making a National Park at this spot as it is one of the events that has helped to make history of this great country.

Just as soon as data can be compiled a complete history of David Thompson Falls and his wonderful work will be carried in this paper. We now have on exhibition at this office some of the stone and burned wood that was in this cabin, the first in the state.

50 YEARS AGO • FEBRUARY 29, 1968

STORE SOCIAL CENTER IN EARLY DAYS HERE

To the Editor:

Enclosed is my check for my subscription. It will put a little California money in circulation around there.

I was flabbergasted to read that Larsons and Greens burnt up (or down). The old “Merc” was a landmark and a central gathering place for many years. The old store had a long and very interesting life and was the business center of town where you met everyone you knew in the town and country generally on Saturdays. Farmers congregated there to enjoy the conveniences of “city” life and to meet other farmers whereupon they told of their present and past troubles, lied to each other regarding the bountiful crops maturing, the weight of their hogs, how much his prize team of horses could pull. The hitching racks were full of teams and rigs and perhaps even the horses communicated together while tethered. Then to buy a few grocery staples, and a few yards of gingham for the “old woman,” a keg of horseshoes, and everyone drove off before too late to get home in time for the milkin’.

It all started with two enterprising gents, Mr. Lindenborn and someone else whose name now escapes me, who started a small trading place on the adjacent corner. As time went on, it grew and the first brick structure on the corner was built about 1900. It became the Thompson Falls Mercantile Co. and at one time everybody and every farmer was in dept for grocery bills. Foreclosures were many, but outside of Charlie Weber’s grocery store on the next corner to the east (now the Laundromat), it was the only grocery store and hardware store. It was referred to as “The Company Store,” and by later population, the “Merc.”

Eventually, after the heyday of the dam construction ended and money became scarce, the original corporation found that bad days had come upon them and it went “kerflop,” financially. When this happened, the Anaconda Copper Mining Co. came in and operated the store until again it was promising to be even too great a liability for the ACM and they sold out to Henry Larson. With new merchandising ideas and better arrangements of stock, it began to prosper, and I presume it still does. I hope a new building will arise from the ashes, and I look forward to seeing a picture of it in your gazette.

Trouble with me is, KAE, that when I start to write a short note, which this was intended to be, I kinda get a running off of the typewriter and I can’t seem to stop.

Anyway, may I congratulate you on your paper format and printing. You very seldom see such fine work in a small weekly paper.

Best regards until I have to fork up another five skins in 1969.

Russell R. Ross

 

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