Ft Benton, Montana (teaser)

I will be heading to Ft Benton, Montana in June to do a full story on the town for the blog. I did a little scout trip this morning and thought I would give everyone a little teaser of some of the sights you will see when I do my full story.

Along the way I stopped to take some pictures of the Lone Tree Casino, I love the two neon palm trees out front, probably the only two in Montana real or neon.


I took a little break in the small town of Loma, Mt to take a pic or two of some buffalo and the Marias river near Decision Point. Loma has two claims to fame, Decision Point which is where Lewis and Clark camped and debated which river was the Missouri. The Marias flows into the Missouri just east of town. The second is the World Record for a temperature change in a 24 hour period. On January 14th 1972, the temperature was 54 degrees below zero (f) that night a Chinook Wind began blowing the recorded high on January 15th 49 degrees above 0 (f)  Meaning the temperature change was 103 degrees in 24 hours. It broke the previous record change of 100 degrees set where? Browning Montana in 1916. If you don’t like the weather in Montana just wait half an hour it will change.

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Ft Benton Montana established as a fur trading center in 1847 and bills itself as “The Birthplace of Montana” Ft Benton began to prosper in 1859 with the advent of steamboat traffic. It was as far up river as steamboats could navigate. In addition to being known as Montana’s birthplace Ft Benton used to hold title to being “The Bloodiest Block in the West” People were advised to “….Walk in the center of the street and keep your mouth shut.


Today is a much more friendly town, loaded with history, culture, several museums, the old fort, cafes, bars, and a lot of really nice people.

The only unfriendly resident I discovered was this angry hissing goose 😛

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He was located on the old Ft Benton Bridge which was made by the Milwaukee Bridge and Ironworks in 1888 and rebuilt after the flood in 1908

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The steamboat journey ended at the beginning of the Mullan Road.

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After these photos I broke for lunch at the Wake Cup Coffee House: Really good food (cheeseburger and sweet potato fries for me) awesomely nice people staffing the restaurant, friendly and fun, and epic awesome décor. Tables made from antique doors (cool) and absolutely beautifully designed inside with a local interior decorator. I will get the full story when I go back in June…just a teaser today. Here are some photos of the restaurant, If you are in Ft Benton stop in Mon-Sat 7-4 and Sunday 7-3 for a great meal with great people in an amazing atmosphere!

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And my order number ticket –a piece of an old license plate- how fun.

After lunch I finished up with some quick street shots of the down town area. I can’t wait to go back do some serious photos and get the backstory and history on a lot of these buildings and talk to the people.

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Above the I.G. Baker Company that rivaled the great Hudson Bay Company. Below the Benton Bank Building now home to Ft Benton Realty


020 The JJ McGraw building 1912

069The L&R meats sandwich shop in a building built in 1888 (have to eat there next time)

047 066 023 025 Some other scenes from around town and following to historic motels. More on those when I do my June visit.

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And while in rained in front of me and behind me I had sunshine my whole trip it was awesome considering the spring storms that were rolling across the plains all around me. Hope you enjoyed this teaser and be sure to check back in June for the full story.





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