Yesterdays: Dust from St. Helens forces shutdown

| May 20, 2020 7:01 AM

70 years ago

May 19, 1950

There were still two-story high snow drifts in front of the many Glacier Hotel, as plows had cleared the parking lot. The Columbia falls High School senior class fit on three sets of stairs for their senior picture. Fifty-three head of horses were to be driven through the Bad Rock Canyon as stock for operations and patrols in forests from Coram all the way to Big Prairie.

60 years ago

May 20, 1960

Flathead County population was about 32,545 according to unofficial census data. Columbia Falls showed the largest increase, with 2,121 residents, up almost 900 from the 1950 count.

50 years ago

May 22, 1970

A 21-day tour of Europe wrapped up for the 87-member Columbia Falls high School Band. Editor Mel Ruder traveled to Europe as well and the newspaper was filled with images from Holland, where he photographed the country and met up with the band, which had its final concert in Amsterdam.

40 years ago

May 22, 1980

Dust from the eruption of Mount St. Helens had shut down the Flathead Valley for a third day in a row because of air pollution. State air quality concerns kept schools and non-essential businesses closed. The dust was actually glass, said local geologist Lex Blood and under a microscope was sharp crystals.

30 years ago

May 24, 1990

The first Family Forestry Expo was held at the Trumbull Creek Forest and was well attended with 1,500 participants. Track star Tanya Tesar was now headed to the University of Idaho on a track scholarship. Tesar held the state class A record in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 44.6 seconds.

20 years ago

May 18, 2000

Jack Therrien, owner of Jack’s Liquor and Pharmacy on Nucleus Avenue closed his store for good. The affable Therrien’s dual role of pharmacy and liquor reached the national spotlight when he was featured in a bit on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Leno poked fun at an ad for the store that said, “We take care of all your health care needs.”

10 years ago

May 20, 2010

Sierha Salois, 17, was hit by an Amtrak train while jogging near the tracks. She had a pair of headphones on and didn’t hear the train. She suffered a broken arm and several bruises, but survived.