Yesterdays: Nuclear missile base in the North Fork?

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Martin City tent church in 1947. James Scholfield, standing, was pastor. From left, Elaine Johnson, 9, Joan Douglas, 6, Larry Sig Johnson, 6 and Ralph Thompson, 8.

70 years ago

Feb. 6, 1948

They were cutting ice off Lake Five near West Glacier using a cutting machine. The 14-inch thick blocks of ice were being used on freight cars by the Western Fruit Express Company. All told, crews cut and loaded nearly 500 freight cars with ice for refrigeration and passenger train use.

60 years ago

Feb. 7, 1958

Flathead leaders and Hungry Horse News editor Mel Ruder were lobbying for a nuclear missile base here. There was already a radar station near Lakeside. Mel Ruder wrote that he didn’t want a base in Glacier National Park or the Bob Marshall Wilderness, but there was plenty of federally owned land in the North Fork. “We wonder if there’s another section of the nation that offers so protected a spot yet accessible for supply and maintenance as does the Flathead’s North Fork.”

50 years ago

Feb. 9, 1968

Dr. Zhivago was playing at the Park Theatre on Nucleus Avenue. Columbia Falls voters were going to the polls to decide whether or not to install a sewer system for the city. The cost of the system was expected to be about $985,000, of which a federal grant would pay about $279,000. A $650 million contract was signed by Kaiser Coal company and a steel company in Japan for coal from the Crow’s Nest area in British Columbia to provide coal for steel plants in Japan owned by Mitsubishi-Shoji Kasha.

40 years ago

Feb. 9, 1978

Rangers in Glacier National Park on backcountry patrol said they saw 14 moose at Kootenai Lakes and six feet of snow on the ground. They also saw wolverine and lynx tracks and two bull elk near Boundary Creek. The temperature on the trip went from 30 degrees to zero in about a minute, with blizzard conditions for rangers Oakley Blair and John Benjamin, who spent four days in the remote area.

30 years ago

Feb. 10, 1988

Biologists were trapping elk near the Hungry Horse Dam to try to determine who much winter range the elk needed. It was estimated that creating of the Hungry Horse Dam had wiped out about 8,000 acres of winter range for the animals.

20 years ago

Feb. 5, 1998

The Columbia Falls speech and debate team took second at state. Glacier Park set a $4 fee for a backcountry camping permit. It was the second year of a three-year trial to allow Parks to charge fees if they made money on them. Today, backcountry permits are $7. Marc Pitman, who was severely burned in a home explosion in Coram was recovering. The explosion was caused when a shell went off in a rifle in a room filled with gunpowder and ammunition. His son Aaron was killed in the explosion and Marc was badly burned trying to save the boy.

10 years ago Feb. 7, 2008

Housing prices were higher than demand. The average home price in 2007 was $187,584. Valleywide, there were 100 more homes constructed than there was demand for and there were 900 surplus houses total, according to an analysis by Jim Kelley of Kelley Appraisal. The market would collapse entirely over the next few years.

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