Saturday, January 29, 2005

Helena, Montana

Helena is where I am until Wednesday. I am here to do some work with the Montana Library Network, Networking Task Force, as well as the Montana State Library Commission members. "Futuring" sort of stuff, using the Environmental Scan as a model for thinking "outside in" in terms of what library services might be like in the near future.

I am staying at Sanders B&B in the "Teddy Buckaroo" guestroom. Wilbur Fisk Sanders was Montana's first State Senator elected in 1890, and he lived in Akron, Ohio as a young adult. The house was built in 1889 and he lived here with his wife Harriet and their children. It's a large house and was considered a mansion when it was built. Many of the furnishings are original, including the big claw-footed bathtubs. Mining funded many of the mansions in Helena, but Sanders was a lawyer.

Another interesting historical connection is through Rock Ringling, one of the owners. Yes, that's a well-known last name, and Rock is a great grandson of one of the six Ringling Bothers who began their circus in the late 19th century. In 1907, Ringling Brothers purchased their biggest competitor, Barnum and Bailey Circus. The combined company Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus is still in business, although the Ringling family is not involved anymore.

My breakfast companions were Rock, his dad Paul, Dennis, a colleague of Paul's and Allen, a boyhood friend of Rock's who'd stopped by for one of Rock's good breakfasts. Dennis and Paul are ranchers--and despite Paul being in his 80s, he still works the ranch. I like being back out west where regular workwear includes cowboy boots, big silver belt buckles and cowboy hats, because people here still ride horses as part of their workday. And I like being able to see the horizon--when I first moved to Ohio in the late 90s, I found all the trees stifling which many found downright weird, but when you've lived for a time in places where the sky is big and you can see for miles, you get used to that long view.

So there you go...not much about libraries today and a couple of historical anecdotes.

4 comments:

Can said...

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Mark said...

Thanks for the history and picture of a beautiful bed and breakfast. I love your blog's name as well; it looks like your being spammed pretty hard in the above comments though.

Safe Travels.

George said...

There is some glitch that is preventing me from trashing these damn spams. Sorry.