Summer 1999
Documenting, Preserving and Presenting Our Cultural Heritage

Writing the Essay of Place: Interactive Student Project
Essay of Place Issue

A Walk on the Rails
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."

Great Grandpa’s Dream
2nd Place Essay
Zeb Engstrom, Chester High School
"It’s six o’clock! 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 Cap’n Crunch is waiting for me."

Paper, 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."

Yes, 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."

The Road Less Traveled
Hannah Brown, Chester High School
"Our little faded red Chevy Luv has frequented the familiar route on countless occasions..."

Kootenai Lodge
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 lines."

Squaw Creek
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."

Moments in Time:
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."

The Crawford Ranch
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."

Little Bitterroot Lake
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."

Ramblin’ to the Ramble Inn
Josh Heiser, Simms High School
"Bob and Ethel’s 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 in."

Real Montana: Townsend
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..."

Back in the Day
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."

Nature’s Beauty
Erica Kepner, Broadwater High School
"About twenty miles from my back door exists another world..."

The Vaughn Mansion
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."

Swan Lake Attraction
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."

The 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."

Lake McDonald
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."

My Sense of Place
Sharon Sitton, Broadwater County High School
"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. I’m 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 lake–places for us to sit and fish."

SweetGrass Memories
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..."

The Sweetgrass Hills
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



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