Montana historian reveals details left off National Register signs

Megan Michelotti

The Lyman-Neel Residence is on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Megan Michelotti

In many Montana cities, it is not hard to spot the silver signs that mark properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They are full of historic background and information, but have you ever wondered what details have been left out?

Christine Brown, interpretive historian at the Montana Historical Society, gave a free talk on Aug. 13 at the Jefferson County Museum in Clancy titled “All the Sign Text that Isn’t Fit to Print” about stories left off the signs. The stories were about robbery, suicide, runaway horses, abusive husbands, powerful widows and more.

“(I) learn something new every time I write — a new property, a new person that I’d never heard of and discovering stories of people who have gone unnoticed for years and years,” Brown said. “The hardest thing, for me, is to leave ‘juicy’ stories on the cutting-room floor and to not be able to include them on the sign.”

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