A look back at Laurel History

Early winter storm strands folks, closes schools in 1917
By: 
KATHLEEN GILLULY
Outlook managing editor

One-hundred years ago someone was making money selling shares of wells in the Laurel area. Despite the efforts of the oil men, Laurel didn’t become an boom town because of its oilfields.

25 years ago

Nov. 4, 1992

Brad Molnar defeated Tom Kilpatrick in the race for Montana House District 85 during the general election Tuesday. Molnar, a Republican, tallied 2,159 votes to Kilpatrick’s 1,792 for a 54..6 percent edge compared to Kilpatrick’s 45.3 percent. Molnar will be the first Republican to represent the traditionally Democratic Laurel in recent history.

President Bush has signed legislation including Laurel in the Nez Perce Trail. The legislation expanded the National Historical Park to include 14 additional sites in Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, three of them in Montana. A Laurel organization, Friends of Canyon Creek Battlefield, Inc. has been working for the past few years on plans to eventually develop the sit near Laurel. For five months, beginning in the summer of 1877, Chief Joseph led his 750-member band—men, woman and children— from Oregon, across Washington and Idaho, through Montana and toward Canada, where they hoped to find freedom They were pursued the whole way by 2,000 crack Army troops, but they out maneuvered and eluded the soldiers at almost every turn. The Bear’s Paw Battlefield is where the fleeing band was finally caught. Chief Joseph surrendered Oct. 5, 1877 with his famous words, “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever,” ending the Indian Wars.

A power failure which affected much of Laurel Tuesday morning forced the Cenex Refinery to halt operations Tuesday afternoon and caused a control panel at the refinery to explode, sending one man to the hospital. According to Refinery Manager Ron Pletcher, the power fluctuation which struck Laurel caused the refinery to shut down most of the day.

Births were announced for Nicole Faye Yurt, Robert Carter Mann IV, Celina Frances Elizabeth Barndt and Steven Lee Walter Loomis.

 

50 years ago

Nov. 15, 1967

No teenagers have been given speeding tickets as a result of the Laurel police department’s acquisition of a radar unit, but adults have been running up a good bit of business in school zones. Officer Manley Gerke states that more women than men have been arrested, and that Monday of this week the ratio was four to one. “If you never write a ticket, that machine is paid for already,” Clinton Anderson told Roy Edwards, chairman of the police committee, after Anderson had watched the traffic slow down on First Ave. Members of the police department have maintained for a long time that radar would greatly assist in reducing speeding in Laurel. This past week it appears to have done so.

Thirty-six members of the Retired Railroaders Club attended the annual turkey dinner served prior to the regular November meeting at the IOOF Hall. Following the dinner, a business meeting was conducted by Dewey Hafer, club president.

Laurel streets will be brighter and safer if the Laurel Federated Woman’s Club has anything to say about it. Plans to initiate a community better lighting project were discussed at a regular meeting of the club Monday evening in the home of Mrs. Herman Schessler. 

Christmas decorations for the business district in Laurel will be prepared Sunday of this week and put in place the following Sunday, according to Myron Erb, chairman of the decorating committee. The work of repairing lines of lights and attaching greens will start at 9 a.m. in the Smith Super Service garage. The hour was set so that those working could stop to attend church, or get to church before reporting for work. 

 

75 years ago

Nov. 11, 1942

Among items of valuable information on gasoline rationing which Ernest Johns brought to Laurel Rotarians Tuesday was that Mexican beet labor from southern states can stay here to finish harvesting the crop and can then get sufficient gasoline to take them home. Johns minutely explained many provisions of the pending gas rationing. Registration will be at school houses and in Laurel will be at the high school. Motorists with more than five tires will be required to give up the extras before receiving a rationing book. With some exceptions, owners of registered passenger automobiles will be entitled to a basic ration that provides for 2,880 miles a year. There is plenty of gasoline, Johns said, but the sticker is the rubber. Superintendent Fred W. Graff of Laurel schools said registrants will be required to list the number of tires in their possession and the serial numbers. Graff pointed out the school faculty merely serves as registrars and can do nothing about complaints.

Jo Wold, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Wold, ranchers west of Laurel, was recently awarded a prize of $10 in war stamps by the Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing company of Milwaukee in a writing contest on “Why farmers should buy War Bonds.”

Mr. and Mrs. Dane VanNice and family of Park City were guests Sunday at the home of Mr. and Mrs. L.R. Shay.

The Rod and Gun club held its November meeting Monday evening. Winners of last spring’s varmint hunt were entertained by those who lost. The club voted to have the annual pheasant dinner in the near future for wives of the members.

Dated Hawaii Oct. 31, a letter was received this week by Miss Martha Reiter from Herman Reiter. He says he is well and affectionately inquires about his relatives. “Saturday night and no place to go. All I can do is listen to the radio. Tonight is the Hit Parade. ‘White Christmas’ is No. 1. They also broadcast the Oregon State-California football game. Later tonight we’ll get all the scores for the whole day. I got my rating—private first class. The guys tease me a little. Vic hasn’t a rating yet. I’ll get $4 a month more. I really don’t car about the money; all I want is some kind of rating.

 

100 years ago

Nov. 7, 1917

Mrs. W. H. Calfee, wife of the Methodist pastor who cares for the parishes of his denomination in Edgar, Boyd, Joliet and Roberts, lost her life Wednesday at her home in Edgar through the explosion which occurred while the unfortunate housewife was attempting to light a fire in a stove with the aid of kerosene. The accident occurred shortly before 11 and by 4 o’clock in the afternoon the tortured body had set its spirit free. The disaster overtook Mrs. Calfee at a time when she was alone in the house with her 5-months-old baby boy and when Mr. Calfee was attending to his ministerial duties at Boyd. The first knowledge of the affair came when smoke was seen coming from the house by neighbors, who running to offer assistance, found the infant unconscious from fumes and the mother wrapped in the quilts she had seized with great presence of mind in an effort to extinguish the flames that had enveloped her. The fire had been smothered and the agony had begun with which was to end only with the coming of death at about 4 o’clock. As soon as possible after the condition was known Mr. Calfee was notified at Boyd and was taken to his home by A.G. Anderson. When the husband arrived he found his wife conscious and so she remained until the very end. The baby boy had already recovered from his partial suffocation and it is expected that no ill affects will result in his case. Short funeral service were held this morning over the remains of the deceased wife and mother and Mr. Calfee with the body departed this afternoon for an eastern state to give it interment.

Miss Dolly Fraser, who came out from Billings to spend Sunday at the Linger ranch, was forced to prolong her stay owing to the recent snow storm.

There was no school Monday of last week at Coombs Flat owing to Mrs. Fudge being unable to return from Laurel, where she had gone Friday to spend the weekend. This was on account of the storm making the roads impassable.

The ladies of the Congregational Aid society will hold their monthly social meeting at the home of Mrs. E. L. Fenton, Nov. 15. Mesdames Fenton, Nelson and Herbert Bundy will be hostesses. All ladies of the community are invited.

According to the Park City Pioneer, Judge Stark of Livingston passed on the Stillwater county saloon license case of S.B. Williamson of Park City and others by dismissing the appeal of the saloon men. The action of the county commissioners in refusing to re-issue saloon licenses in this county has been sustained. The above information was telephoned to the Pioneer office by Attorney E. E. Collings of Billings, who is the attorney for the anti-saloon forces.

Imagine a picture of 40 duck hunters standing on the shores of the Big lake 28 miles northwest of Laurel, at daylight Sunday morning and not a duck in sight. Then again their departure from the lake with one lone duck is to their credit after hours of waiting. It is a sad picture, but such was the plight of all those who went from here. The water there was literally covered with them until a few days ago, when they migrated. This was the reason for their absence Sunday.

 

Category:

Upcoming Events

  • Sunday, November 19, 2017 - 10:00am
    Sundays, 10 a.m. (closed), 8 p.m. (open), 201 1/2 E. Main St., nonsmoking
  • Monday, November 20, 2017 - 10:00am
    Mondays, 10 a.m., Thursdays, 1 p.m., Laurel Senior Center, 720 S. 4th St.
  • Monday, November 20, 2017 - 10:00am
    Third Monday, 10 am., LDS Church
  • Monday, November 20, 2017 - 11:00am
    First & third Mondays, 11 a.m., Laurel Public Library
  • Monday, November 20, 2017 - 1:00pm
    Mondays & Fridays, 1 p.m., Laurel Senior Center, 720 S. 4th St.
  • Monday, November 20, 2017 - 1:30pm
    Al-Anon, Mondays, 1:30 p.m., 201 1/2 E. Main St.

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