I have only lived in Bozeman, MT for three years, but I can already detect the town's rapid growth. The box shaped duplexes encroaching on the farmland, the ducks waddling on pavement in search of wetland that once was, and the backed up traffic at Huffine and 19th all catch my eye.
I became interested in visually documenting this growth, because of my distaste for it, but I felt that my bias would serve an injustice to the community. Instead, I sought the perspective of current longtime residents of Bozeman and Gallatin County. I interviewed each participant about their personal history, their opinions about recent growth, and most important to my concept, a place that is memorable to them from their time as a resident.
These memorable locations became the focus of my re-photography. I uncovered historic photographs from personal and public archives and then took current photographs of the place. By comparing the two photographs, I hoped to reveal how much each person's favorite place has changed over time and if it had been affected by the area's population boom.
What I gathered from the interviews and from my travels to each location is that, generally, growth is good. Growth yields a strong economy, cultural diversity, and simple conveniences like fresh meat from a number of grocery stores in town. Sure there are minor consequences like traffic, but for most these growing pains are easy to live with.
Dee Mast grew up on the Mast family ranch at mile marker six in Bridger Canyon north of Bozeman, MT. During her formative years throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s, Dee developed a strong connection with the Earth. She recalls the pleasant warmth of the dirt by the creek, the smell of the willows in the air, and her father, Jake, educating her about the cosmos in the early morning twilight before the work began. Haying on the Mast ranch. Top: February 1944. Bottom: April 2015.
Paul Milam moved to Bozeman in 1936 while in the 6th grade. He spent his junior high and high school years living at 412 North Wallace St next to the family’s greenhouses and floral shop. In 1943 Paul graduated from high school and left Bozeman to serve in World War II. When he returned in 1945, the family and the greenhouses had moved to 706 North 7th Ave. 412 North Wallace at right. Top: c.1936. Bottom: February 2015.
Harold Levens was an automobile body repairman at the Ford garage in Bozeman, MT starting in the 1960’s. When he and his wife were not camping in Hyalite Canyon or watching basketball games at the Brick Breeden Field House, they enjoyed picnicking at Lindley Park, which was only a mile from their house. Top: Lindley Park c. 1930’s. Bottom: February 2015.
Giles Cokelet worked as a chemical engineering professor at Montana State University in Bozeman, MT from 1968 to 1978. A self proclaimed history buff with a keen interest in Native American culture, Giles enjoyed taking his wife and children to visit a cluster of wickiups in southern Gallatin County just inside Yellowstone National Park. The site has been one of his favorite places to visit over the decades. Wickiup Creek at right. Top: 1992. Bottom: April 2015.
Sonja Berg moved with her family, the Lachenmaier’s, to the Flaming Arrow Ranch in Bridger Canyon north of Bozeman, MT in 1946. She enrolled in first grade at Upper Bridger School and helped her parents run the Flaming Arrow as a guest ranch. Sonja’s mother ran a dining room at the main lodge and was renowned for her fried chicken and lemon merengue pie. The ranch was sold in 1956 and the Lachenmaier’s moved to Bozeman. The lodge, now a private residence, at right. Top: 1947. Bottom: July 2015.
William Brazle was a preacher at the Church of Christ in Bozeman, MT from 1950 to 1958 and again starting in 1990. The original church at Lamme St and Grand Ave was a house with a meeting place for 100 people. Eight members of the Brazle family lived upstairs in four rooms. A new church was built in 1956 over the garden of the house, which was demolished. The building is now used by the Montana Conservation Corps. Top: c. 1956. Bottom. December 2014.
Karen Renne has deep family ties with the St. James Episcopal church located at the corner of Olive St and Tracy St. Her great grandfather, Reverend Frank Bradley Lewis, oversaw the building of the church in 1890 and became its first minister. Karen’s grandmother, great aunt, and mother all grew up going to St. James. As for Karen, she spent every Sunday from age six to 16 attending service and singing in the choir. St. James Episcopal Church at right. Top: c. 1930. Bottom: March 2015.
For Charlie Soha, Montana State College was a remarkable place to be from 1958 to 1959. The student body was rapidly growing, Brick Breeden Field House was under construction, and the college had a terrific president in Roland Renne. As a graduate student in education, Charlie specifically remembers being in the one of the first groups of students to occupy Reid Hall, which was opened in January 1959. Reid Hall at right. Top: 1957. Bottom: March 2015.
Jim Ramsey’s job as a Montana state game warden brought him to Bozeman, MT in 1977. As a steward of the environment, Jim developed a great appreciation for the public lands Montanans have access to and treasures his time spent therein. The view east from the summit of Sacajawea Peak in the Bridger mountains north of Bozeman remains one of the most stunning sights that Jim has seen in his lifetime. Fairy Lake with Sacajawea Peak looming high in the background. Top: 1938. Bottom: July 2015.
Wyman Schmidt has been singing in barbershop quartets and choruses since he was a teenager in Iowa. He moved to Bozeman, MT for work in 1975 and quickly joined the renowned singing group, the Chord Rustlers. In 1978 the Rustlers and the recently reimagined Sweet Pea Festival became forever intertwined by the tater pig. The Rustler’s baked potato and sausage snack raises money for the chorus and keeps festival goers happy. Sweet Pea parade at right. Top: c. 1907. Bottom: August 2015.
Maggie Heisick was born and raised in Bozeman, MT and graduated from Gallatin County High School in 1939. She spent 40 years living and working as a fashion model in Los Angeles where she made friends with the likes of Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, and Barney Kessel. In contrast to her charmed city life, Maggie fondly remembers the simple pleasure of playing in the autumn leaves of Bozeman’s Cooper Park with her childhood friend Sammy Lou. Cooper Park at right. Top: 1948. Bottom: August 2015.
Don Pierre moved to Bozeman, MT in 1962 to accept a position as professor of electrical engineering at then Montana State College. Roberts Hall and the College of Engineering soon became Don’s home away from home. Don greatly treasures the collective memories of teaching and mentoring students over his 38 year career at the university. Roberts Hall at right. Top: c. 1940s. Bottom: July 2015.
Isabella Rassley was 11 months old in 1916 when she moved into the home at the junction of Jackson Creek and Bridger Canyon roads north of Bozeman, MT. She, her mother, father, and three siblings lived in the four room house that was built in the 1800s. It was a happy place that she enjoyed until she married and moved into Bozeman in 1935. The Ham family home at right. Top: c. 1960. Bottom: August 2015.
Sharon Harvey has been making styrofoam ducks and jeweler’s flux in a basement factory in downtown Bozeman, MT since she was 15 years old. When she is not hard at work for American Manufacturing Corp, Sharon enjoys life at the family ranch on Wilson Creek near Gallatin Gateway. Through thick and thin, the land has stayed in the family since Sharon’s grandparents bought it in 1909. The ranch at right. Top c. 1920’s. Bottom: August 2015.
Dick Lund arrived in Bozeman, MT in 1969 fresh off a teaching stint in Mexico. Dick took a position at Montana State University as a statistician and he, his wife, Lily, and their four children joined the United Methodist Church on Willson St and Olive St. The church family soon became their second family. Looking back over the years, Dick is filled with the joy of watching his family grow and the church family grow too. The United Methodist Church at right. Top: c. 1940’s. Bottom: July 2015.
Ivy Huntsman can still see the horses in the pasture, hear the plow scraping over rocks, and smell the wheat being harvested. She remembers dad getting up at 4:30 in the morning to milk the cows, her long bus ride to school in Belgrade, and mom washing clothes in stove heated creek water. More recently, Ivy remembers painfully giving up the lease to the family farm in 2005 after the family was on it for 75 years. The Lincoln family farm at right. Top: c. 1960’s. Bottom: August 2015.