Documenting, Preserving and Presenting Our
the Essay of Place: Interactive Student Project
on the Rails
Essay of Place Issue
1st Place Essay
Desarae Baker, Simms High School
"Ten years ago, I played often on the tracks of
the Muddy Creek railroad bridge. Despite the warnings of my worried mother, it was a
perfect place to explore the jungles of Africa or the mysteries of outer space."
2nd Place Essay
Zeb Engstrom, Chester
"Its six oclock! Time to
get up!" my dad yells from the living room. We need to fix a few miles of fence today
and we need to get started as soon as possible. I crawl out of bed and throw on work
clothes. I can barely walk to the kitchen were my Capn Crunch is waiting for
Plastic, or Box?
3rd Place Essay
Andrea Novak, Chester High School
"Some might think it odd to love a place that
is built out of bricks, that holds annoying fluorescent lights, and which on occasion
ruins fun activities planned with friends, but I love being at the store."
Students, People Make the Place
Darlene Beck, Heritage Teacher
Broadwater High School
"These are the people who make Broadwater County
what it is, and they had made our place come alive. Studying a place and its history is
studying its people."
Hannah Brown, Chester High School
"Our little faded red Chevy Luv has
frequented the familiar route on countless occasions..."
Risa Bjork, Bigfork High School
"While waiting for my mother who worked as a waitress at Kootenai Lodge, my dad
and I would drift on the glassy surface of the water, occasionally casting out our fishing
Lisie Colson, Libby High School
"I watched the rain drizzle down the truck
window as we made our way up the bumpy dirt road. This was my first time to the old
trapper cabin out on Squaw Creek."
Memories at Simms High School
Michelle Eisenzimer, Simms High School
"I hope that one day, when yet others join the
thirteen members of my family who have walked these halls, the school will still mean as
much to them as it does to me."
Nicole Ewen, Simms High School
" I can imagine a time sixty-four years ago
when the Montana sky would cover the ground with gold, and the two small shacks would
slowly wake up. Spring dew covers the ground, and the calves can be heard calling for
their mothers. The ranch hands walk slowly, talking as they go, towards the house of Glen
and Verda Crawford for breakfast."
Colby Farris, Bigfork High School
"Everyone needs refuge from normal day to day
life. For as long as I can remember my family has owned a cabin on Little Bitterroot Lake,
and it has been my mine."
to the Ramble Inn
Josh Heiser, Simms High School
"Bob and Ethels Ramble Inn" the red
sign out front says. I was pretty parched from my walk, and the establishment was (in
walking terms) the halfway point between my house and my destination, so I stopped
Jim Holland, Jr.
Heritage Teacher, Townsend Public Schools
"Modern travelers who want to take a break
halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks along U.S. Highway 287 are likely
to stop in Townsend..."
Johanna Johnson, Chester High School
"The duck pond by my old house still holds a
feeling of adventure and fun as well as calmness that I have never experienced anywhere
else. It has the clearest water and trees that have grown just perfect for climbing."
Erica Kepner, Broadwater High School
"About twenty miles from my back door
exists another world..."
Heather McDowell, Simms High School
"A cold breeze passes over me and the
big house. The dead, brown grass crunches beneath my feet, and ghosts of the
past call out my name to hear their story. Standing outside the gate, the house looks as
though it would devour me in a quick second if I tried to get in."
T.J. Middlesworth, Bigfork High School
"When people come to Swan Lake and ask what
there is to do, one suggestion never fails: Jump the cliffs."
Drive-In During the Depression
Sarah Murray, Simms High School
"When I first saw the building up close, I was
awestruck. It oozed history, from the mysterious rusted can I found on the ground a few
feet away, to the broken words nailed near the pointed top."
Amanda Senrud, Bigfork High School
"Gently sloping hills surround the lake but
soon grow into towering peaks, some 6,000 feet above the shore. Snow leaves a blanket of
white broken only by color from the evergreens. Few sounds break the silence of winter,
but occasionally a chickadee sings his song to give comfort and hope to the creatures
hidden around the lake."
Sense of Place
Sharon Sitton, Broadwater County High
"To hear my aunt describe the house and the
buildings was to practically hear her and her siblings running throughout the yard."
Amanda Sorenson, Broadwater High School
"I walk to the edge of Edith, the little
crystal lake. Im wearing shorts and the cool morning air raises goosebumps on my
legs. I wash my face in the icy water, the sun shining as brightly in the mirror lake as
it does in the heavens. Huge jagged rocks surround the lakeplaces for us to sit and
Sean Weinert, Chester High School
"The small outcropping of rocks poking out
from North Central Montana, just north of the small town of Chester, has importance to
many people in the Treasure State. Native Americans considered it sacred, the miners
believed there would be lots of gold around it, and cattle barrens from Texas thought it
was the best grazing land they had seen in years."
Jesse Welling, Simms High School
"Not many people know the significance of
Muddy Creek, a tributary of the Sun River. At first glance, it looks like one river
dumping into another one. Look closer and see the history..."
Joe Wolery, Chester High School
"I always enjoyed when dad would take me into
the hills to get a Christmas tree or even go fencing. It didn't matter what we did up
there just as long as we were there."
1998 Essay of Place