Curator's Corner Blog

Monthly Archives: August 2012

It’s HERE!!!

The Streetcar #50 is finally here!

It was such a wonderful day here Saturday July 28th watching the trolley drive through Fort Missoula and back to its rightful home!

 BUT! We are still keeping the finished project a secret!

Want to be one of the first people to see the #50 in all of its restored glory?

Join us for the exclusive unveiling of Missoula’s last trolley at a reception and gourmet dinner at Fort Missoula on September 8th, 2012.  A reception in the new Fort Missoula Trolley Barn includes a tour of the restored trolley and photo opportunities, followed by a catered dinner by Silk Road Restaurant in Heritage Hall with music and a live auction. The event begins at 4:30 at the Trolley Barn. Single tickets are $100. Reservations can be made with Bob Brown at the Historical Museum, 405-728-3476 extension 1, or by emailing

Want to learn more about the homecoming?
Check out this great Missoulian article- and a video by KTFM!–164524636.html.



A New Exhibit for the Drummond Depot

As the summer comes to an end, and the fall school year begins its time for one more improvement to the exhibits on the HMFM grounds.

Drummond Depot during 1980s restoration at HMFM.

The Drummond Depot will be getting a brand new exhibit this fall, so let us learn a little about the importance of the railroad depot in American history!

The 19th century advancement of the railroad system meant progress and hope for Americans country wide, especially in isolated areas in the western states. Along with the railroad came the creation of boomtowns, and the need for public service stations.

The Drummond Depot being transported from Drummond to HMFM in 1982.

These depots were built as close as possible to the center of town, and became a hub for the community. Usually surrounded by freight services for the railroad, such as grain elevators, mills and lumber yards, it was also important to include amenities for passenger trains such as hotels, cafes, groceries and housing. The depot quickly became a symbol of the community, a place to come together around the pot-bellied stove, greet new arrivals, and say goodbye to friends and family.

By 1916 there were over 85,000 American built stations, and 5,000 Canadian stations. The majority of these where small, hastily constructed building, or even prefabricated portable depots that sat on an unused set of tracks.

Drummond Depot at HMFM before restoration.

As depot construction improved, combination stations were built. These stations included a public waiting room, housing for the agent, baggage and freight storage as well as freight services including coal chutes and water supply. As the depot became more self-sufficient, depot agents were employed and often lived at the depot. These operators met with the public to sell tickets, help plan trips, and report freight and express movement.  Depot buildings often included housing for the operator and his family.