Local resident Leslie Paulson Stryker offers a visual glimpse into this mountain community's origins through the photographic archives of the Crazy Mountain Museum. Stryker delves into the history and beauty of this rugged, picturesque, western town, showing through the years Big Timber's growth, industry, and sense of unity, which is alive and well in this lovely town to this day.
Big Timber, Montana (Images of America Series)by Leslie Paulson Stryker, Crazy Mountain Museum
Big Timber, watched over by the Crazy Mountains of Southwest Montana, has always been named for its natural surroundings. Big Timber was originally founded in the late 1800s. An Irish immigrant named the settlement Dornix, from the Gaelic word "durnog," which when translated means "a rock that fits in the hand and is handy for throwing," and there are indeed many
Big Timber, watched over by the Crazy Mountains of Southwest Montana, has always been named for its natural surroundings. Big Timber was originally founded in the late 1800s. An Irish immigrant named the settlement Dornix, from the Gaelic word "durnog," which when translated means "a rock that fits in the hand and is handy for throwing," and there are indeed many such rocks around the region. In 1883, however, when complications with the railroad forced the town to move to its present-day location, it was renamed Big Timber, for the grand and plentiful cottonwood trees along the banks of the nearby Boulder and Yellowstone Rivers. Pioneers began arriving in earnest around 1890, bringing with them sheep, and by 1892, Big Timber was among the world's largest exporters of wool. Later, when a fire devastated the town, the community stood together to rebuild.
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Evening Chapter Two- The rain instantly soaks every cat it touches. It falls like a bazillion tiny needles, hitting everything beneath it with full force. A small, fluffy white shecat pads over to Thrasher, who is viscously lecturing us about how unforgivable cowardice is. "Thrasher," The middle-aged trainer mews. Her name is Minnie, and she is a favorite of us young cats. The trainers and leaders are usually the oldest, aside from Ancients. Lieutenents, however, cann be from seven moons up—although it's tough for a very young cat to get that role unless they are mature enough. Rose, Anne, Arty, and Nemo, for example, may get in. They are what we nickname "brains." Not cunning, really, just extremely intelligent. Fighters depend on one trait that is what trainers refer to as the "central strength." We base our jobs on that. Strong cats are often guardians. Swift cats usually end up as messangers or watchers. Cunning cats are often close to the leaders, supplying ideas. Lithe cats—thin but strong—are normally food-gatherers or recruiters. The Choosing will put us in our jobs. Minnie continues. "We should get these cats started on their jobs, right?" She asks gently, as if Thrasher might explode at the slightest provocation. "Yes." He grumbles, flattening his ears and looking away. "The humans are gone," she reasons. "So we must be even more prepared and on-guard." The shecat turns to us. "Time to be sorted into today's jobs. Gem, Heron, and Flame, would you all check on the kits and mothers, please? Arty and Leslie, go with them." The cats nod and leave. "Fionna, Hound, Daisy, Bobby, Mist, and Jone. You all check in with the Ancients. Bring them something to eat." The next group heads off. Bobby tosses a look over his golden-brown shoulder and dissappears around a corner. Minnie's pale blue gaze sweeps the crowd. "Skunk, Gunner, Hunt, Blade, Rayn, and Freddy," she decides. "You all search the surrounding buildings for food. We need some more." I look for my group and join them, then pad off. The nearest building—tall and made of brick—looms over us. We scramble through a shattered window, and I hear Hunt cursing about glass in his paw. We move on, following the tell-tale scent of food. A rat scurries by, and I chase it into the darkness. I hear hurried pawsteps behind me, following,but I don't stop. I lunge, overpowering the rat and killing it quickly. I turn, the rodent in my jaws, to see Gunner waiting. The gray and black tabby's blue eyes flash in the darkness. "Good catch," He meows. "Thanks," I mumble through my prey. We pad after the others, who left pawprints in the layer of dust on the floor. They have found a human food-making-place, and are looking around, curiously. A door that has food-scent wafting from behind it stands before us. "Blade, can you open that door?" Freddy asks. I nod, padding over to it. 'The humans are gone,' I remind myself. 'Right?'