South Side Dairy
I did a lot of crazy kid stuff while living in Butte, Montana. The town is located just west of the Great Divide and the backbone was easily seen just a few miles from our kitchen window with its then prominent feature, Saddle Rock near XL Heights, the local TV station’s transmitting tower. Saddle Rock has since been replaced by “Our Lady of the Rockies,” a beautiful sculpture and concrete likeness of the Virgin Mary, mother of the Son of God.
Many growing hours and days were spent on America’s backbone learning all the secrets we could wrestle from her grip. The first to view the basin where Butte is located must have been stunned. The head waters of the Columbia River, Richest Hill on Earth. Gold, Platinum and that ‘other’ pesky metal, Copper. Copper became King! In just a few years it would become the city a mile high and a mile deep with the Kelly, Mountain Kahn, the Leonard and the Apex mining law Kings and crooks.
Butte, Montana is worth a serious study in history. American History. The Chinese Laborers excavating the Gold and Copper Mines in Butte were addicted to a Chinese gambling game and for the first time in America, the game called Keno was introduced. That game later built Reno, Nevada after the silver ran out. The Anaconda, the Knievel’s the Knawfuls and the less serious, the Knutson’s, Dawes, Dinius, Davis, Booth, we all laid our fiery white hot brand to her, and like a lady, she refused to kill us.
I had the inspiration to build a log cabin in my youth and I’ll wager the cabin foundation still remains where Dennis Georg(e) and I laid it near that creek in the Divide foothills. We scouted the area well and our only concern was the lack of fish in the seep creek we selected. The creek originated from snow runoff off the Divide and several artesian springs off the mountain. Crystal clear water, so cold you expected it to freeze if stopped or slowed in its decent to the valley floor. It ran past South Side Dairy, the primary supplier of un homogenized milk delivered fresh to the doorstep in clear glass bottles sealed with a cardboard stopper. Housewife could skim the cream on top and use it for cooking. Great milk!! The seep creek eventually was lost as it seeped into the decomposed Granite and never made a flowing connection to Bell Creek on its way to becoming the mighty Columbia River.
To solve the seep creek fish absence, Dennis and I loaded a copper canning boiler with Rainbow, Cutthroat Eastern Brook and feed shiners and suckers. We slid, pushed, pulled and shoved that fish filled boiler to the creek behind the dairy and dumped it, hopefully establishing a viable fish eco system. Our cabin was located on the south side of the creek. I did catch fish in the creek on cabin building breaks I took. Wonder if they are still there?
The tales that yet lie dormant in the canyons of my mind are both humorous and sad. Sad in I can’t go bask and humorous in I don’t know that I would.