BUTTE, DILLON AND VIRGINIA CITY AREA
H Lewis and Clark Expedition On August 1, 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at a point 200 yards west from this spot, on the south bank of the river facing the mouth of the creek which flows into the river from the north. Meriwether Lewis and three others, on a scouting expe- dition in the hope of finding Sacajawea’s people, had crossed the mountains to the northeast of here and coming down the North Boulder Valley had reached here at 2:00 p.m. They found a herd of elk grazing in the park here and killed two of them. After taking time out for an elk steak lunch, they headed on upstream leaving the two elk on the bank of the river for the expeditions dinner.
Historic Virginia City
Cardwell This town is the birthplace of Chet Huntley— famous TV newscaster and founder of Big Sky Resort. The town took its name from Edward Cardwell, a man with extensive property holdings in the area when the town was established. At one time, Cardwell was a station on the Northern Pacific Railroad. It saw a short boom time when the Mayflower Mine was in operation.
This town started as a stopping point for travelers and freighters that traveled between Butte and the Madison River. The town is the namesake of Shadan LaHood, a Lebanese immigrant who came to Montana in 1902. From 1902 to 1919, he trav- eled between Butte, Dillon, Missoula and Madison County in a covered wagon canvassing for a dry goods firm. In 1909, he and his wife opened a general merchandise store at Jefferson Island. He built a park there that bears his name.
Old Whitehall was the name E. G. Brooke gave his large white ranch house in the mid-1800s. The house served as a stage stop for the stages running from Helena to Virginia City. The mod- ern community of Whitehall was developed when
the railroad ran a branch line from Garrison to Logan through the area. Today, the Golden Sunlight Mine on a nearby mountainside offers much of the economic fuel to the town.
The Indians of the area came to the nearby creek once a year to harvest clay from its shores. This clay was especially useful for making clay pipes. The springs were named Pipestone Springs, and thus the town drew its name as well. The first post office was opened in 1880, with Ollie Barnes as the postmaster. The post closed short- ly thereafter, but reopened in 1887 with George Washington as postmaster. This second office closed in 1928.
H Father De Smet
I-90 Frontage Rd, Whitehall
The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed here, westward bound, August 2, 1805. Captain Lewis named the Boulder River “Fields Creek” for one of the party.
In August, 1840, Pierre Jean De Smet, S.J., a Catholic missionary of Belgian birth, camped near the mouth of the Boulder River with the Flathead Indians and celebrated the holy sacrifice of the Mass. Father De Smet left the Indians soon after to go to St. Louis. He returned the following year and established the original St. Mary’s Mission in the Bitter Root Valley, hereditary home of the Flatheads. Fearless and zeal- ous, his many experiences during the pioneer days have been chronicled and form a most interesting chapter in the frontier annals of Montana.
Captain Clark with the expedition reached here late in the evening after a strenuous day spent in snaking the boats up the canyon rapids by means of a long rawhide tow line which had broken in the rapids immediately below here with near calamitous results. At sight of the two elk, the hungry men called it a day and pitched camp. Reuben and Jo Fields went on a short hunt up the creek and killed five deer in the wil- low brakes which caused the stream to be named Field’s Creek, now known as North Boulder. A large brown bear was seen on the south side of the river; Clark shot a big horn sheep in the canyon and Lewis shot two antelope a short distance up stream. Near camp was seen the first Maximilan Jay known to sci- ence. The temperature at sunrise on August 2 was fifty degrees above zero.
D Mer. Lewis
August 2, 1805
“we say some very large beaver dams today. . .the brush. . .acquires a strength by the irregularity with which they are placed by the beaver that it would puz- zle the engenuity of man to give them.”
D Mer. Lewis August 2, 1805
“After passing the river this morning Sergt. Gass lost my tommahawk in the thick brush and we were unable to find it, I regret the loss of this usefull implement, however accedents will happen in the best families”
T Golden Sunlight Mine Whitehall, 287-2018
If you’re driving on I-90 near Whitehall, you’ll notice the mountain to the north doesn’t look quite right. In fact, it looks like it’s been shaved off. This is the Golden Sunlight gold mine, and much of the smooth side of the mountain you see are mine tailings. From mid-June to mid- September, tours are offered daily at 10 a.m. If you would like to view an operational gold mine, this is the place. To get to the mine take the Cardwell Exit 256 and head north. The road curves around and parallels the interstate. Follow this road for almost 3 miles to Mine Road. Head north to the mine.
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BUTTE, DILLON, & VIRGINIA CITY AREA