City of Choteau News Highlights from 1950-51
Teton County Montana
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A 2013 Centennial Project

"Summarized from the Choteau Acantha Newspaper with their permission by Nancy Thornton, Choteau, Montana. All rights reserved." Copyright 2013-present by Nancy Thornton. This file may be freely copied for non-profit purposes.
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Compiled by Ruth Reiquam from the Choteau Acantha on Oct. 31, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014.

Highlights abstracted from the Choteau Acantha by Nancy Thornton Jan. 16, 2014.

1/5/1950 Tractor sparks start fire in hay at C. Baker place east of Farmington. New theater at Dutton opens Sunday. Choteau firemen H.B. “Red” Swanson and Les Brown started in 1922 first to retire under Choteau's pension fund. Choteau PTA buys Choteau High School uniforms. Mercury hits minus 41 on Tuesday.

1/12/1950 35 deaths, 34 births in county during 1949. 69 tie nuptial know., 12 couples divorce.
Extended below zero weather. Sun River Electric Coop to extend 138 miles of line. 48 miles of which is in the ranch area west and northwest of Choteau with other extensions in the Augusta, Power, Dutton and Pendroy areas.
(Photo) Teton Tavern Association to take steps to curb drinking by minors in county.

1/19/1950 60 day hospital drive set to raise $40,000. Board makes public announcement of plan for last campaign. Final drive needed to buy equipment so hospital can open. Thawing device available at city. Advice given to prevent pipe freezing. City projects subject of talk by K.E. Sturges, mayor. Many jobs open soon at census office.. Chamber asked that Dutton Choteau road be completed. Polio drive Jan. 15-31. George Eichhorn to manage Monarch Lumber Co.

1/26/1950 Ed Obernolte, Choteau Coast to Coast store owner, celebrated 20th anniversary of store in 1950. Wes Cherry opens woodworking shop. Council discusses proposed sewage plant, bond in 1948 raised $52,000 for construction. County has two months of very cold weather. Since Jan. 1 every day has had zero or below zero readings except four days.

2/2/1950 Census workers to take exams. Choteau Trap Club elects Bill Arensmeyer President. Beaupre Café to open under management of Ralph and Letia Pickett formerly of Conrad. West winds raise temperature to 25 degrees. BLM reestablished section and quarter section corners in region.

2/16/1950 Bob's garage reed at Pendroy, also home of manager Robert McDonald. Hospital drive meeting set for Friday inviting 23 organizations to take part. Pistol shoots at Moose Hall each Thursday.

2/23/1950 Dial telephones now being placed in homes. New Texaco station to be built. Mary Ann Breen, Mary Baulch selected to attend girls' state. Alvin O. Reiquam dies of heart attack. Hugh Reid elected president of Choteau Chamber of Commerce.

3/2/1950 Pioneer Bar robbed of $300 when $1 slot machine hauled away. Four events slated as hospital benefits. Gregory Jacobs now manages Teton Department of Public Welfare office.

3/9/50 Plan for new grade school building outlined. Bad fire destroys Passmore-Tesch ranch home. High school addition also recommended for bonding election. 1,200 capacity gym included in plan. Cost $365,000. Census to start Wednesday. Grad school variety show set next week.

3/16/50 GN train runs into panel truck, injures driver 1.5 miles north of Choteau as train was returning from Pendroy.
(Photo) Lutheran church nearing completion, over double former size. Discuss plans to finance new grade school

3/23/50 Hospital needs $10,000 to complete drive. Digital telephones to be in operation next Tuesday. Automatic facilities will eliminate operators, special lines for night fire, police. Hospital raised $15,564 so far. Milwaukee Road back to regular schedule after complaints about cut back to just three days a week on the Great Falls-Agawam run.

3/30/50 Oil Well located near Agawam shows promise of oil find. Robert Van Scherpenzeel killed in car wreck (Photo) south of Choteau at Teton bridge. Eight new buildings and improvement permits approved by city council. Decennial census starts Saturday. Soroptimists plan to buy incubator for new hospital ($300). Two school trustees running without opposition, incumbents V. Earl Hollar and Gibson Monkman.

4/6/50 Large group of farmers and ranchers from the Farmington and Agawam communities ask commissioners to work on Choteau-Farmington road. Not just Choteau-Dutton road. 400 attend Van Scherpenzeel funeral. Choteau PTA to present comedy play by Fairfield community players. Old time dance plans (hospital benefit) set for April 14. $190,000 grade school would cost an average homeowner just $7.50 a year in new taxes. Annual Easter egg hunt set. New uniforms for band now on order (high school).

4/13/50 Rural fire department buys new pump (high pressure) for $1,600, 500 gallons. (Photo) Mardis Gras slated April 28 at high school. Above normal moisture assures lush grass crop. New Texaco station to be built (where Breens Exxon is today). Road fund budget depleted, emergency hearing set April 2.

4/20/50 Hospital $10,690 from three benefits. Chamber asks Choteau businessmen to park off Main on Saturday to cooperated without of town and rural residents each Saturday, leaving space for visitors. Milwaukee railroad asks to curtail daily service run from six to three days. Phillips Petroleum Copr. swabbing 32 barrels of oil daily at well four miles north of Agawam. Possible new oil pool. 200 attend mom-daughter banquet at Lutheran church.

4/27/50 School building election slated, voters to determine if new grade school, high school annex to b built. Chevy dealership sold to Robert Hilt. Past winter believed one of th most severe. Telephone company asks increase in phone rates. Four file: county sheriff, Bill Allum, democrat; Bob Clark, Republican, county treasurer; William Irwin, Republican, Effie McDonell, Democrat, for commissioner.


5/4/50 Considerable winter wheat losses reported. Mardi Gras big success, band uniforms, full cost met from proceeds. Public meeting May 10 to discuss high school addition, $175,000. A.B. :Bud” Guthrie awarded Pulitzer prize for “The Way West.”

5/11/50 (Photo) Meeting well attended to discuss proposed high school addition and new grade school. July 3 rodeo to be held under lights at night.

5/18/50 Oil pool looms near Pendroy, cit of Choteau census totals 1,613.

5/25/50 59-vote majority favor high school grade bond notes.
(Photo) Rev. Sheerin, 10 year pastor at St. Joseph church, transferred to Kalispell. Choteau airport seeks permit to light airport at night.
(Photo) Choteau band sports new uniforms. 59-vote majority favors high school, grades get by vote. Second oil well spudded in on Johnson land near Agawam.

6/1/50 Dutton infamt Lonnie L. Walstad, 3, died when crop duster sheared vehicle, family.
(Photo)Public inspection of the new Teton Memorial hospital. Rev. Thomas Gannon to come to St. Joseph church. Taxpayer group wants to invalidate high school bond election. Choteau to get new street signs. Siren to ring every morning during summer to announce city watering hours.

6/8/50 Million dollar rain drenches ranges, cropland, 2.01 inches. Walt Armstrong sells ranch to Ostles, one of the largest Teton County real estate deals in rece nt months. New theater will go up in Fairfield. Big Dutton bin project started, $100,000 estimated cost for construction.

6/15/50 David Wipf, 10, drowned in Teton River. Six Teton County residents have TB. Milwaukee RR to cut service to tri=-weekly. Catholic pastor Thomas Gannon installed. Tourist court to go up, 11 new cabins, filling station will be built four miles north of Choteau. Wedum's store to have new window glass. Cloud burst, hail brings .69 in of rain in hour.
(photo) mountain lion shot on Sturgis ranch near Farmington.

6/22/50 High school building injunction asked over sale of bonds for construction. David Wipf, 10, body found in Teton River after 11-day search. Babe Russell leases management of Choteau Hotel, bar, to John and Eleanor Winters. 3,000 now registered to vote in county.

6/29/50 Big rodeo celebration set , rodeo under lights, Sherburne addition to get sewer lines. Womens club proposes to sell library building so it can buy a new one.

7/6/50 Thousands jam city for rodeo. Slot machines shut down per MT supreme court ruling. Terrific hail storms wipe out many crops in nearby counties. Ken Haugen lased Choteau Drug fountain. Railroad strike cuts service to Teton area.

7/13/50 Eddie Howard to build men's store. Parlor Shoppe has grand opening. Five inches of rain in June. High school grade bonds sold. Beaupre hotel sold to Everett Poore.

7/20/50 open house at new Texaco station. Two mile wide swath pulverized by hail. Teton Selective Service board to be reactivated. Lexa Oil Corp. completes second well east of Pendroy. Heavy voting in primary. Tourist signs go up advertising Choteau.

7/27/50 School building construction set for spring.

8//3/50 county budget at $459,693, 33 mills. Draft board opens. Choteau airport to be lighted. Lexa gets 200 barrels of oil.

More 1950 to come

Compiled by Ruth Reiquam from the Choteau Acantha on Oct. 31, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014.

1/4/1951 42 births, 23 deaths reported in county in 1950.

1/11/1951 About $80,000 more needed to construct new grade school, bond election to be next month. Montana Draft Board rules Hutterites not service exempt. Hospital contractor paid, association now owns building.

1/18/1951 Probable opening of new hospital in May. Board signs contract with Lutheran group to operate it. Chamber elects new officers for year, Pres. Ray Davidson, VP C.E. Russell, Sec/Tres. Bob Crocker. Delivery and pickup of all Railway Express within city limits of Choteau intends to discontinue free delivery starting Feb. 1.

1/25/1951 Fred Barribal will now head Citizens State Bank. New record set for blood drawing in Choteau, over 150 donated blood. New Baldwin organ made its debut last Sunday at the Choteau Methodist Church.

2/1/1951 Photo. Another new house in Choteau to be occupied by Leo Murphy, local attorney.
High school faculty picks five students for honor society: Juniors Lyle Crary and Dick Swortzel; Seniors Mary Ann Breen, Bonna Lee Maynard, and Dorothy Wiseman.

2/8/1951 Cornell Café to open soon, operated by Elsie Holombo. Choteau Grade School bids call for $262,335 in funds.

2/15/1951 Truck smashes into six cars in front of the Moose hall in Choteau. Damage was set at $3,000.

2/22/1951 No enough votes at special bond election for grade school $80,000 more was needed for the building to be fully equipped. Girl Scout annual birthday Friday, March 9, at 6:30 pm.

3/1/1951. Engineer warns city must have relief sewer construction soon. Commercial building area mapped out. Two permits were granted, one to Chick Sulgrove to building a new residence; second to Chester Baker to move his frame resident to the Sherbourn Addition.

3/8/1951 Photo. Walter Partlow, formerly of Libby, is the new owner of Choteau Electric. He purchased the business from John Woodward.
One of worst March blizzards on record hits. Schools close, mercury plummets to 35 below zero.

3/15/1951 Coast to Coast store remodeling complete. Will have open house March 22.

3/22/1951. Fire causes extensive damage at Bill's Texaco station. Firemen arrived at 4:20 a.m. and had the fire under control in 30 minutes.

4/5/1951 Mr. Blumer from Great Falls to run Phillips 66 service station next to the Rice Cabins on north Main.

4/12/1951 Judge Burns and Al Hensley win school trustee posts.

4/19/1951 Photo. First high school building is torn down to make room for the new grade school. the building was used as a dormitory after the high school was built in 1920.

4/27/1951. Clarence Foss new operator of body shop. He is in business under the name of C.P. Foss Auto Body Works.

5/10/1951 Curbs, sidewalks placed in front of Teton hospital.

5/17/1951 Sportsmen ask for game changes, want resident game warden for Choteau.

5/24/1951 The city fire siren will ring at 10 a.m. every morning in Choteau to signify all water users to turn off lawn and garden hoses. All beds and furniture has arrived for Teton Memorial Hospital. The hospital will probably open soon.

5/31/1951 Photo. George Eichhorn is the new owner of the Roxy Theatre, having bought it from Mack Niccum who will leave Choteau and build a new home on Flathead Lake.

6/7/1951 Photo. Steve Strong is transferred to a Missoula Safeway store. He has been in Choteau since March 1941. Duane Reisch has been named the new Choteau store manager.

6/14/1951 12,000 numerals up in city street signs The Choteau Lions Club sponsored the city improvement project.

6/21/1951 Photo. Teton Memorial Hospital to be dedicated this Sunday at 3 p.m. Choteau High School auditorium. After the dedication, public is invited to the open house at the hospital.

6/28/1951 Photo. Hospital open for business after dedication.
City to operate park pavilion, Choteau American Legion has operated it until now.

7/6/1951. Photo. First baby born at new hospital is a boy, Stuart Charles, proud parents are Hilda and Bud Moulton.

7/12/1951. Photo. New Crary building opens, quarters for doctor, dentist and apartments.

7/19/1951 Photo. Mobile traffic signal used in downtown Choteau on a trial basis to see if it might benefit Choteau traffic.

7/26/1951 Cornell Hotel purchased by Schoonmakers from Mr. and Mrs. E.R. Poore. Tot Toggery will open this Saturday, with owner/operators Mr. and Mrs. Lee Nett.

8/23/1951 Chamber urges stop signs north of Great Falls.

8/30/1951 Days for the 15th annual “Days of 49” celebration have been set for Sept. 28-29.

9/13/1951 Lions want square dances at their hall during the winter. Classes will be held with Helen Hanson and Jane Gronberg directing.

9/27/1951 Virginia City players have big audience for their presentation of the four act play “Rip Van Winkle.” this was sponsored by the Lions Club and was presented in the Choteau high school auditorium on Monday night.

10/4/1951 Photo Lions Club '49ers celebration was a large success last Friday and Saturday night. The event grossed about $1,820 for both nights.

10/11/1951 Fire burns grain elevator to ground. Firemen extinguished blaze in top before midnight. Second fire starts early next morning, General Mills to build new 50,000 bushel elevator.
Photo. Logan Hatch buys Holt Chevrolet Co. from Robert F. Holt.

11/1/1951 Lincoln Apartments on North Main street across from the Glenloyd Hotel, sold to Mr. and Mrs. Nick Paulus.

11/8/1951 Rogers to open flower shop located in the J.E. Byrne building in quarters formerly occupied by attorney H.W. Herman.

11/22/1951 Photo. Excellent crowd attend 40th Old timers meeting. Ladies of the WSCS served a fine banquet Music for dancing was furnished by the Montana Ranch boys.

11/29/1951 Choteau Food Store will be a cash market starting Saturday Dec. 1.

12/6/1951 A Christmas wreath nine feet in diameter is being placed at the courthouse by the Choteau Chamber of Commerce.

12/13/1951 Use of telephone triples in Choteau during past 11 years.

12/27/1951 Sharp blast rocks Citizens State Bank in freak explosion. After checking equipment it was assumed the cause of the blast may have been lack of oxygen in the room and when an electric light was turned on down stairs it caused the explosion.

Last updated 6/28/18

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