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April 2018 Meeting

Sun River Valley Historical Society

This is an informal and incomplete summary of the meeting we had yesterday, April 2nd, 2018 at the Fort Shaw Community Center.  For complete info on the meeting come to our May meeting for reading of the official minutes.  There were 19 folks who braved the weather and iffy roads to attend.

The planning committee, headed by John Bennett, met ahead of the regular meeting. John shared a list of his targets for 2018 at the Fort.  He has identified several items in a number of areas, including the East and West Wash Houses, the Duplex Quarters, Bakery, Commanding Officer’s quarters, Cemetery and other potential planning areas.  A lot of good discussion and planning followed.

President Burnette conducted the regular meeting, called for reports and gave updates on several items, including Society finances, membership, donations, memory tower project, and opened the floor to discussion of many interesting items.  Membership is doing well with more members and new life-memberships this year.  A donated painting purchased by Earl at the Western Heritage Art Show titled “Fort Shaw Evening” was shown and will be hung in one of the quarters at the Fort.  Ken Robison brought several military artifacts that he has donated, including two helmets.  Sue Williams brought a beautiful wedding dress that was made by Dick Thoroughman’s great grandmother.  She worked on it as she came up the Missouri River by steamboat.  Dick related at one of our meetings that she made a point to get white thread at every Sutler’s store along the way.  Vice President Sue Williams, generously, had the dress cleaned and boxed for storage.  Documents dating back to 1873, donated by Marion O. were passed around and will find their way to SRVHS archives.  Jerry Clark gave a great presentation on bottles from the Fort.  Jerry is an archeologist and he ‘does it right’.  He thoroughly does the necessary research.  Each bottle is properly identified and catalogued.  Jerry gave us a lot of insight into beer making and commerce during the time the Fort was occupied by military.  He showed the type of bottles and explained how trade took place between McKnight Sutler Store at the Fort and Kessler Brewing in Helena, and the difficulties of transport.  Ken R. brought us up to date on status of the Upper Missouri River Heritage Area.  He pointed out that three significant meetings will occur in May.  On May 1st at Helena, May 2nd at Fort Benton, and May 3rd at 5:30 pm in the Missouri Room of the Great Falls Civic Center.  Ken strongly encourages all of us to attend.  Considerable discussion took place and motion to update the status of the Commanding Officer’s Quarters.

As I mentioned above, this is an informal and unofficial summary of the meeting, just to give you the gist of the meeting.  Any omissions and/or errors are my doing.  To hear the minutes of the meeting attend our May meeting to be announced later this month.