Yesterdays: Snowmobile Days in Columbia Falls

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Sporting a cast, Producer Charles B. Pierce, left, talks with Michael Dante during the filming of Winterhawk in September, 1974. Portions of the western were filmed on Highway 40 at the Don Doane spread.

70 years ago

Dec. 31, 1948

The deer in Glacier National Park enjoyed eating the discarded Christmas trees that rangers fed to them at park headquarters over the live firs in the park. Rangers weren’t sure why. Park rangers were also studying the “blind” spots in the park where a wildfire could get going without people seeing it to put it out.

60 years ago

Jan. 2, 1958

The “new” high school was 85 percent complete and expected to be finished by May. The school is still in use today. E.T. Scoyen, the acting director of the National Park Service was pushing for the North Fork Road to connect to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada.

50 years ago

Jan. 3, 1968

It was “snowmobile days” in Columbia Falls with snowmobile races and other festivities on tap. Life was getting back to normal after record cold and snow in December. At the Anaconda Aluminum Co. plant, they had a 37 mph wind coupled with 23 below zero temperatures on Dec. 27. Since Dec. 23, they had 20 inches of snow as well.

40 years ago

Jan. 4, 1979

A feature on the county jail noted it housed about 20 inmates everyday. The story noted that the evidence room smelled like the marijuana that was stored there and that most prisoners that stayed there actually gained weight on the two meals they were served a day (A sample meal was wieners, potatoes, sauerkraut and cake).

30 years ago

Dec. 29, 1978

Columbia Falls native Linda Sharp was finding success in her singing career in Australia. Aussie’s called her the “natural” and often asked for her autograph. Her largest audience was in Brisbane, where she performed for 10,000 people.

20 years ago

Dec. 31, 1998

Northwestern Tire in the Flathead Valley was bought by Les Schwab. Northwestern was owned by Jim Roth and had stores in Evergreen, Columbia Falls and Whitefish. A Christmas Eve storm brought 8 to 12 inches of snow to the region — there had been predictions of a green Christmas prior to that.

10 years ago

Jan. 1, 2009

A lawsuit squashed what could have amounted to a $17 million payment from the Bonneville Power Administration to the Columbia Falls Aluminum plant. The payment was part of a deal BPA swung with CFAC that, in essence, subsidized their operation. But several northwest electric co-ops sued, claiming the deal raised their electric rates. They won in federal court and the subsidy went away.

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