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One of the agents within our company recently stumbled across an article that had been stowed away in a well-hidden file folder since April 1992. The piece, written by Mimi Read, was entitled “Into Montana” and was featured in Travel Magazine. The author lived in New Orleans, and this was her first venture to Montana. As much as things have transformed in the 26 year time span, there are still similarities that keep Montana special.
In the early 1990s, the area was beginning to be discovered by big name celebrities. Ms. Read referred to Michael Keaton frequenting the Western Café when he came to town. To this day, the Western Café is a solid staple on East Main Street while Michael Keaton, as well as other celebrities, can still be spotted throughout the area. However, the trepidation of the residents at the time of turning into another glitzy Aspen or Jackson Hole has still not come true in the opinion of many.
The author spoke of the presence of shivering neon reminiscent of the 1950s. That same neon is still prominently alive and well in Livingston’s downtown, and one of the most photographed items for tourists and locals alike. Another nod given to the good old days went to Sir Scott’s Oasis in Manhattan, commenting on the prevalence of martinis and plate sized steaks that apparently weren’t in vogue anywhere else in the country at the time. Yet both are still readily available for your dining pleasure at the Oasis.
Bozeman was cited as “a sophisticated college town with two renovated inns, several polished restaurants, and an impressive western museum.” And though all of these factors still ring true, much has been added to the mix of why Bozeman has been growing and thriving. In the early 90s, antique stores couldn’t keep up with the demand for antique fishing creels to decorate rustic homes and log cabins alike. The prominence of A River Runs Through It can take some credit for that. Shops and dining establishments up and down Main Street are still flourishing due to a combination of local residents, tourists, and second home owners who visit seasonally.
Deer living in close proximity to homeowners and the pervasiveness of bighorn sheep south of Bozeman were sights to behold for a writer from the city, but thankfully the beauty of our wildlife and landscape is still intact in 2018.
Livingston in 1992 sounds a bit more like a blast from the past with an affinity for keno parlors and Calamity Jane. However, it is still possible to find a boot-repair shop and an abundance of low key dining where you can end up side by side with a famous face or two.
Chico Hot Springs may have gone through some needed and appreciated upgrades over the past 25 years, but the natural healing waters, the proximity to the breathtaking Emigrant Peak, and the fact it is still a getaway destination have remained.
Read went on to explain the feel of some of the smaller area communities as well with a poignant statement of her take on them. She wrote, “Poky little towns where nothing much happens might drive type-A personalities crazy, but there is always the chance that such places will drive you sane.” And therein lies the underlying feeling that the more things change, the more they stay the same.