A Conversation with Slim and June Woffenden
This interview first appeared in the Spring 2011 issue. My motivation for visiting with the Woffendens was to query June about her father, Frank Baney. On my first visit we pretty much stuck to that topic, but then I decided that it would be well worthwhile to visit again and expand on what had been alluded to or passed over the first time. June is one of two children who Frank Baney had with Victoria Dunston, his second wife. He married her in 1924 after the death of his first wife Eva Mills two years earlier. June was born in 1928.
Mud Bay Jugglers and Tune Stranglers
The Mud Bay Jugglers are amazing. That's the first thing you should know. They juggled fire during their March 26th performance at the LCHS auditorium! From the Seattle area, this troupe has toured nationally for over twenty years and has even passed through the Tobacco Valley before as part of Sunburst's Performing Arts Series.
Eureka, the Christmas Tree Capitol of the World
Why was Eureka called the Christmas Tree Capitol of the World and what happened to the Industry?
The Tobacco Valley is surrounded by a Doug Fir and Larch forest which was logged in the first decades of the 20th century. Replacement Doug Fir trees then grew like carrots in a garden and required constant thinning. No one paid much attention when the first railroad car of Christmas Trees was shipped in 1923. When the lumber mill, the town’s largest employer closed the next year, Eureka residents discovered how important the Christmas tree industry would be to their survival during the Great Depression. By 1931 the first tree yard opened and by 1948 three hundred railroad freight carloads totaling 1,800,000 trees were shipped from Eureka. Eureka was the Christmas Tree Capitol of the World!
Montana 1864...the other story
Ken Egan, executive director of Humanities Montana, came to Eureka recently to give a presentation on his latest book Montana 1864, to talk with some classes at the middle school about Montana history and to meet with the Eureka Book Club. The club members had read the book and always look forward to having a discussion with the author. It's hard to say what Ken thought before arriving in the Tobacco Valley as he had never been to this part of Montana before.
Blue Ribbon Perspective
Bernice Ende calls Eureka "a blue ribbon town". Bernice has been the Lady Long Rider since 2005 when she set out on her first trip from Trego, Montana to Edgewood, New Mexico. She did the trip with a horse and a dog and a whole lot of courage. And she liked it. I mean there aren't many of us who could imagine riding a horse thousands of miles, not knowing where you might be spending the night or what the next day would bring.
How Eureka's Jesse Phillips accidentally started up a band called St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Soul on fire
Contributed by Erika Fredrickson of The Missoula Independent
When I finally get ahold of Jesse Phillips, the bassist for St. Paul and the Broken Bones, he and the band are stranded in Texas. That morning, they awakened to a fire alarm and billowing smoke in their tour bus. "It was an electrical fire or some kind of meltdown," Phillips says. "So, we're marooned at this Motel 6 in Wichita Falls until a new bus gets here from Nashville to pick us up and carry us on our way."