In On the Road Again, William Wyckoff explores Montana’s changing physical and cultural landscape by pairing photographs taken by state highway engineers in the 1920s and 1930s with photographs taken at the same sites today. The older photographs, preserved in the archives of the Montana Historical Society, were intended to document the expenditure of federal highway funds. Because it is nearly impossible to photograph a road without also photographing the landscape through which that road passes, these images contain a wealth of information about the state’s environment during the early decades of the twentieth century. To highlight landscape changes and continuities over more than eighty years, Wyckoff chose fifty-eight documented locations and traveled to each to photograph the exact same view. The pairs of old and new photos and accompanying interpretive essays presented here tell a vivid story of physical, cultural, and economic change.
Wyckoff has grouped his selections to cover a fairly even mix of views from the eastern and western parts of the state, including a wide assortment of land use settings and rural and urban landscapes. The photo pairs are organized in thirteen “visual themes,” such as forested areas, open spaces, and sacred spaces, which parallel landscape change across the entire American West.
A close, thoughtful look at these photographs reveals how crops, fences, trees, and houses shape the everyday landscape, both in the first quarter of the twentieth century and in the present. The photographs offer an intimate view into Montana, into how Montana has changed in the past eighty years and how it may continue to change in the twenty-first century.
This is a book that will captivate readers who have, or hope to have, a tie to the Montana countryside, whether as resident or visitor. Regional and agricultural historians, geographers and geologists, and rural and urban planners will all find it fascinating.
About the Author
William Wyckoff is professor of geography at Montana State University, Bozeman.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Revisited Roads to the Past by William CrononPreface and Acknowledgments
Journey Into MontanaOn the Road AgainMontana SettlementRegional Landscape ElementsFour Stories on the Landscape
Along Montana HighwaysBoundaries1. Forty-ninth Parallel2. Into the Mountains3. Continental Divide4. Leaving Red LodgeRivers5. Missouri River6. Marias River Crossing7. The Sound of Mountain Water8. Stevensville BridgeRailroads9. Depot10. Pacific Junction11. T-Town12. Landscape in MotionPassageways13. Approaching the Hellgate14. Yankee Jim Canyon15. Names on the Land16. U.S. Highway17. BillboardForested Lands18. Pinus ponderosa19. Tree Invasion20. Islands of Moisture21. Quartz Ranger StationOpen Spaces22. Road to Ekalaka23. The Jesse Place24. Along the Yellowstone25. Hilltop ViewSacred Places26. Descent to Mission Valley27. This House of Sky28. A Prairie House29. Deerfield Colony30. Blue House at Trestle RanchLandmarks31. Krug Mansion32. Graves Hotel33. Pompeys Pillar34. Water TowerRural Legacy35. Settlement at Sun River36. Rural School37. West of Dixon38. Farmstead South of ChoteauMain Streets39. Main Street in Roundup40. Life on Merrill Avenue41. Small-Town Landscape42. Bypassed Town43. Wibaux Flood44. Coal TownUrban Life45. Butte46. Landscapes of Labor47. Zone in Transition48. Polytechnic DriveSuburbs49. Judith Place Addition50. Suburbarn Manhattan51. Gallatin Valley52. South of MissoulaOld West, New West53. Sun Ranch54. New Deal Bridge55. Flathead Reservation56. Polson Bridge57. Bitterroot Valley58. Road to Paradise
DestinationsLandscape in PlaceLandscape in TimeMontana JourneyOn the Road Again
Bibliographic EssayIllustration CreditsIndex
What People are Saying About This
The rich possibilities of rephotographic time travel have rarely been more successfully realized than in On the Road Again. The book will intrigue anyone interested not just in Montana, but in the changing landscapes of the American West and of the United States more generally.