Laurel’s tourist campground is second only to one, tourists say in 1921

Compiled By Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, July 1, 2021
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This cartoon graced the front page of the Laurel Outlook July 3, 1946, celebrating independence from British rule and the end of World War II.

25 years ago July 3, 1996

Laurel Middle School students whose blossoming romances could have been nipped in the bud by a proposed handsoff policy found their champion in School Board Chairman Del Henman. Taking his cue from the old Beatles classic, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” Henman made an impassioned defense of young love at the June 24 school board meeting. With the exception of Trustee Denny Mogan, who wasn’t present, the board unanimously supported appropriate signs of affection between students. Earlier in June, Principal Richard Trerise asked the board to endorse a no-touch policy to deal with students who were overly affectionate during the school day. “I don’t see a problem with kids who want to hold hands. With this (proposed policy) anytime kids touch fingers, someone will be writing them up with a pink slip,” Henman stated.

How many people will marvel at Laurels’ annual Fourth of July fireworks display—10,000? 20,000? 30,000? It’s anybody’s guess. Put on by the Laurel Volunteer Fire Department, the pyrotechnics show has drawn crowds estimated at 15,000-20,000 in recent years. This year? Well, there was supposed to be a Reba McEntire concert at MetraPark. That had pulled the plug on Billings’ usual fireworks display. But Reba pulled out herself Monday, complaining of laryngitis. That left Metra officials conferring with the Billings Gazette, the traditional fireworks sponsor in that city, about possibly re-igniting their display. Laurel Fire Chief Darrell Mc-Gillen, though, isn’t concerned about the competition. “People who are patriotic and want to see fireworks are going to come here,” McGillen said of the largest fireworks show in the state, a top 50 Old West Trail event. Births were announced for

Births were announced for Haley Dawn Hull and Katrina Anne Baumgartner.

A 19-year-old Laurel man and his female friend escaped without serious injuries, but his car was a total loss after it collided with a train Friday night west of Laurel. Brad Bailey was cited for careless driving in connection with the crash which occurred near the Wold Road crossing. Bailey said they went to the crossing and then drove west along the tracks about 10-20 yards in search of a spot to shoot off some fireworks, according to Montana Highway Patrol Officer Scott Largent. A westbound Montana Rail Link train began bearing down on them at 40 miles an hour. When they backed the car to the crossing and tried to pull it off the tracks, it got stuck. The youths got out, but the train smashed into the 1986 Ford Mustang on the driver’s side, according to Largent. The train and the track was not damaged. “They didn’t think it was a close call. The train’s engineer thought it was pretty close,” said Largent.


50 years ago July 7, 1971

About 100 swimmers participated in the first session of swimming lessons offered at the Laurel Swimming Pool, but because of inclement weather during the second week of the lessons, there were no swimmers tested. However, those swimmers who were members of the first swimming session will return during August for testing, Linda Brunsvold, head life guard explained. Jerry Moran, pool manager, reported the pool and equipment is running smoothly. The newly installed filters are doing the job and the only water being lost from the pool is splash water, he said. The pool was re-tarred prior to the swimming season and one pipe was repaired, he said. Moran built and installed a new pool cleaning device which will eliminate closing the pool for cleaning.

Wendy Blaylock of Laurel was among 94 students at Eastern Montana College who earned straight “A’s” during the spring quarter at the college. Others named to the spring quarter honor roll were Earl Blakley, Linda Brunsvold, Walter Foster, Kenneth Frank, James Humphrey, Carol Johnson, Lanny Michael, Carl Phillips, Jr., David Tesar, and Alan Waddell, all of Laurel.

Alderman Tuesday night heard a Laurel Volunteer Frie Department request for a raise in pay and to begin to consider the possible purchase of a new fire engine; approved a Chamber of Commerce request for Crazy Daze; and started procedures to reapportion the city’s wards. Fibre Chief Dave Powers attended Tuesday night’s council meeting to answer questions. Fourth Ward Alderman Charles Rodgers himself a fireman and speaking for the department requested a raise in pay from $3 per monthly drill to $5 per drill and $5 for the first hour of each fire call and $4 every hour thereafter. This is the first raise request made by the department since the rate was set 16 years ago.


75 years ago July 3, 1946

A fire beginning about 4 a.m. Saturday at Laurel oil refinery of Farmers Union Central Exchange inflicted a plant damage estimated at $100,000. Firefighting personnel of the Laurel refinery, assisted by employees of the Carter Oil company plant at Billings, successfully battled the hot fire and extinguished it after a few hours. No one was injured. An oil line running to the fractionating column broke and the escaping oil was ignited by a furnace near the fractionating column. Without explosion the resulting flames were soon out of control, badly damaging the pumping plant building and other nearby structures. As a result of the fire the plant was closed down for immediate repair of the cracking plant. Repair of the primary distillation plant will require a longer time.

Only such increases as are necessary will be made in retail prices of foods and other commodities as the result of the death of OPA, Laurel merchants commented this week. The OPA died at midnight Sunday, which lifted governmental control of prices that had been in effect during the war and was intended to prevent or at least control inflation and reckless spending.

Mr. and Mrs. Rob brown had the pleasure Sunday night of a telephone conversation with their son, Tech. Sgt. Keith Brown who is stationed in Tokyo. He said he would not be leaving here for the States until after Aug. 1. Many men with 23 months of service will go first, followed by fathers. Keith said he had recovered from an ear infection and also from jungle rot, a tropical fungus.

Dick Harris, Jr., and Dick Vandenberg, who left last week by plane for Lima, Ohio, to drive the new school bus purchased by the Park City school district, returned home Tuesday night. The new bus has a seating capacity of 48 and will be used to transfer the student in the Youngs Point district to the local school beginning in September.


100 years ago July 6, 1921

A solution to the burglaries which have been perpetrated in the city’s business district for several weeks past has been reached, it is believed by officers of the law, in the arrest of two young men Tuesday morning in the Laurel yards by Special Agent Shannon of the Northern Pacific. The alleged burglars are Frank Screvner and Franklin Thomas who gave their respective ages at 19 and 22 years and their places of residence as East St. Louis, Ill., and Lancaster, Ill. They are now held in the county jail at Billings on the charges of burglary and grand larceny and will be arraigned before the district court as soon as the presiding judge opens court. It is said that they will plead guilty, as they are understood to have made confessions. The “fence” to whom stolen goods have been delivered in the past was brought to light yesterday in Billings and he is now in the toils of the law, which may result in uncovering the organization of burglars said to be operating in this portion of the state. The system appears to reach as far as Livingston, but no information has been obtained concerning the cache said to be located there.

With the exception of one other, Laurel’s tourist park is the best encountered between Chicago and western Montana.” This is the statement of a traveler, who with his party, stopped in the city’s new park one night last week. Continuing, he said: “We heard about Laurel’s park when we were 200 miles east of here. Tourists who had passed through and who had stopped in Laurel told us to come here by all means as this was one of the best parks on the road.” The accommodations provided for the comfort and convenience of the travelers appeal to them, and while the equipment is not as elaborate as the Commercial Chamber and the park committee would like to have it, the committee has exercised rare good judgment in expending the money at its disposal and has secured equipment which is highly practical and at the same time makes a good showing. Advantage was taken of the excavation for a cellar that was on the lots when purchased and in this two ranges have been installed for cooking, with a roof overhead and proper flues constructed to carry off the smoke. The sewer and water connections in the building are also much appreciated by travelers, as is the concrete sidewalk running along the length of the lots by which the campground is connected with the city. Electric lights have been placed in and on the buildings and in the kitchen.



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