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Historical Notes - Week of Dec. 7th

Red Lodge Picket, December 9, 1893

The Red Lodge-Cooke City Wagon Road Must Be Built

That the Cooke People are in earnest is shown by the following letter sent to the people of Red Lodge as a result of their recent meeting to adopt plans to act in conjunction with the citizens of Red Lodge to build a wagon road to that great mining camp and establish a mail route to this place.

Cooke, Montana Nov. 28, 1893, To P.F. Hanley, Red Lodge

Dear Sir: At a meeting recently held by the citizens of this place it was resolved that we ask the people of Red Lodge and eastern Park County to co-operate with us and see what we could do towards connecting Cooke with Red Lodge by wagon road. It was demonstrated at the meeting that the people here are willing and ready to expend seven or eight hundred dollars on such an enterprise and are ready to do it early next spring before the season opens for mining purposes. There was a committee appointed to go over the route and see what the distance is, what the probable cost would be and what bridges are necessary, and report.

Frank Chatfield was here a few days ago and he says that a road can be built parallel with the river and he thought that Fremont county, Wyo., would help some, also the people of Sunlight would do their part. Now the idea of the people is for each man to go out there and take hold and do from five to twenty days work each, build bridges and repair the worst places. The ranchers will turn out with teams and plows if the people of Red Lodge will take hold of the matter with us It has become evident to us that we will have to seek an outlet from the east and by so doing avoid going through the park, the distance is some further, but from what we can learn the road will be better, there will be less snow to contend with, therefore will be a better winter route, as the snow only reaches to Crandle creek while on the Cinnabar road it extends about 50 miles.

A road from here to Red Lodge will have settlers every few miles where travelers can stop, while as you are aware that there are only two places on the Cinnabar road that you can stop at, i.e. Soda Butte and Yancy’s. While the people of Red Lodge enjoy daily trains on their branch road and a daily mail service we get our mail once a week over the Park branch with a prospect of it being closed down entirely during the winter season. We feel confident that the time is not far distant when we will get our mails from the east direct. At present we get our county papers six days after they are printed and it takes 15 days to communicate with the county seat at Livingston and get a reply.

James Smith, Arthur Whitney and Frank Watson, have been named as the committee to look the matter up and interview the people in your vicinity and see what can be done.

We write to you knowing as we do that you will take an interest in the matter and give it some consideration. Yours Respectfully, J.P. Connell

As before stated in THE PICKET our business men and citizens are ready to invest money in this proposition and will do their utmost to complete the work. As soon as the committee from this city accompanied by an experienced engineer will start and run all the necessary grades and make an estimate of the sum required to build our portion of the road. As soon as that is ascertained the funds will be forthcoming. The only heavy piece of work will be the Clark’s fork canyon hill and parties who have been over the trail say that an easy grade can be made up the hill without encountering any serious rock work, that the ground is broken and loose so that grading can be prosecuted during the winter. It is estimated the road going this way will save a climb of 1,500 feet less than by the old Dead Indian hill road. The preliminaries should all be made at once and work pushed as far as possible this winter.

Cooke City looking West 1913 edited.jpg

Cooke City looking West, 1913

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