70 years ago
Dec. 24, 1948
The front page featured a three-photo spread of students at the Mountain Brook School — a one-room schoolhouse south of Columbia Falls next to Mountain Brook. The year 1949 was expected to be good for employment with more than 1,000 workers needed for the Hungry Horse Dam project. Glacier Park did a trail census and figured that about 42,000 people hiked its trails. The most popular trail was Trick Falls in Two Medicine, now called Running Eagle Falls.
60 years ago
Dec. 26, 1958
The Lions Club of West Glacier had extended a tow rope 600 feet up the sledding hill at Stevens Meadow near the old Bridge at West Glacier for skiing. The rope was run by an old Jeep motor loaned to the club by Marlin Metcalf. They hauled the engine to the top of the hill and put in poles for the tow rope.
50 years ago
Dec. 27, 1968
Glacier Park announced new fishing regulations, closing streams in the Middle and North Forks to fishing after July 31 to protect spawning bull trout. They also made several lakes — Rogers, Trout, Arrow and Camas what amounted to fly-fishing only. A story asked “Can Flathead Lake be saved?” The problem was pollution concerns from many sources, including pesticides and herbicides and industrial sources.
40 years ago
Dec. 28, 1978
A $50,000 payment was made out to Jerry Ren, 6, after his father, Montana Highway Patrolman Michael Ren was shot and killed April 8 in Eureka while trying to serve a warrant on Clyde Rector. The payment was made to the boy after it was determined he was eligible for the benefits of his late father under the Public Safety Officers Benefits Act. The family put the funds in a trust for the boy’s future schooling.
30 years ago
Dec. 29, 1988
Burlington Northern Santa Fe crews were working to clean up tons of corn spilled in a train derailment Dec. 18 west of Marias Pass. All told, 22 cars had derailed. Skiers were happy — 29 inches of fresh powder had fallen on Big Mountain in the past week.
20 years ago
Dec. 24, 1998
The final settlement checks for CFAC were expected by the end of the year. The remaining $5 million payout to employees was part of a federal court settlement with the union and the company over a profit-sharing dispute. Earlier in the year hourly employees were paid $60 million in the settlement. A white Christmas wasn’t expected in the valley, the newspaper noted.
10 years ago
Dec. 25, 2008
The Columbia Falls Aluminum Co. announced it would shut down its plant. The company said it was due to low aluminum prices and the high cost of energy and raw materials. About 200 workers would be out of a job when the plant shut down for good in February. It would never reopen and 10 years later, the plant itself is nearly completely torn down.