Yesterdays: Phones come to Columbia Falls

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The Rileys of Columbia Falls were good hunters. In 1955 harry Riley bagged a monarch bull elk at Canyon Creek. From left is Jim Riley, Fred Boelkow, Richard Olson, Wally Riley and Ken Riley. (Mel Ruder photo)

70 years ago

Nov. 21, 1947

Columbia Falls had 10 new telephones connected recently. That brought the total number of telephones in the city to 138. There were more than 50 applications for new phones in the works. Among the new subscribers was town Marshall Byron West. The police now had a phone. What a novel idea.

60 years ago

Nov. 22, 1957

The kitchen of Eva Gates of Bigfork was churning out 60,000 jars of homemade preserves for distribution across the nation. Her kitchen was producing 400 to 500 one-pound jars a day of huckleberry, strawberry raspberry and other jams. The business started in 1948 when Gates had too many strawberries for her own use, so she made some jams for neighbors, who thought they were delicious. You can still buy her jams today

50 years ago

Nov. 24, 1967

J.D. Dutton had a $284,000 contract to clear right of way for a new road from Spotted Bear to Meadow Creek Gorge and up to Bunker Creek. Road work was started in the fall and would resume in the spring. The Northern Rocky Sportsmen were going to confer with Glacier National Park officials on grizzly bear management. The sportsmen favored conservation of the bears.

40 years ago

Nov. 24, 1977

Bear sightings in Glacier National Park were up, the Park reported, but there were fewer injuries and no fatalities. According to a report by Ranger Claude Fauley, there were 1,133 known bear sightings, with 321 of those being grizzlies. Columbia Falls downed Whitefish in wrestling 43-16. Cliff Hoerner had a pin over Bulldog Rusty Blake.

30 years ago

Nov. 25, 1987

The city was seeking judge applications. Susan “Tina” Gordon and Sandra Jones had thrown their hat into the ring, joining Robert Smith, Amelia Sands, Avery Sawyer and Ann Carter. Gordon would get the job and hold it for 30 years. She retires next month.

20 years ago

Nov. 20, 1997

Anna Bengtson took second in the 5,000 meters NCAA Junior College National Championship race. At the time, Bengtson ran for Flathead Valley Community College, which had a cross country team. Longtime volleyball coach Sharon Eddy was retiring. She had coached the very first team in 1980.

10 years ago

Nov. 22, 2007

Glacier National Park superintendent Mick Holm announced he was retiring. Holm steered the Park through one of its worst fire seasons in history in 2003 and saw the reconstruction of the Going-to-the-Sun Road come to fruition. Holm still lives in Columbia falls and is active with civic organizations here.

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PO BOX 189, 926 Nucleus Avenue
Columbia Falls, MT 59912

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