Historical Note - Week of May 31st

This past week I spent time in Philadelphia, visiting my sister Cassie. I got to experience our nations history at its best and had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Historical Society of Pennsylvania where I took some time to view some of Jay Cooke's papers. Beautifully ornate cursive was flung upon paper over a century old, and there is nothing that can compare to holding that history in your hand. Cooke's business dealings were many, his personal correspondence papers as well, and while I did not find any direct mention of our little neck of the woods one could clearly see that Mr. Jay Cooke was a man with power. Power enough to finance the Civil War, promote the Northern Pacific Railroad, and re-establish his great influence following a financial crash.

I recently came across this article that I think shows his resilience in the face of disaster, like Cooke City the dream of something more was always shadowed in the press:

Helena Weekly Herald, May 10, 1883

"A New York correspondent writes: A tall, elderly man, wrapped in a blue cloak that had seen service, and wearing a broad-brimmed, light colored felt hat, came down wall street from Broadway this afternoon. He attracted no attention, for oddly-dressed people are not uncommon in Wall street. At the corner of Wall and New streets he encountered Sam Wilkeson, secretary of the Northern Pacific Railway Company. After a hearty greeting the two remained on the corner, apparently surveying the street. The man with the blue mantle and white hat was Jay Cooke. As he walked down Wall street it was noticeable that he did not turn his head as he passed by his historic quarters at the corner of Wall and Nassau streets. It is said that today was the first time he has been seen in Wall street since 1873."

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania


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Cooke City Montana Museum

206 W. Main Street

P.O. Box 1134

Cooke City, MT 59020

Museum Director: Kelly Hartman

Telephone : 406-838-2203 

Email : cookecitymontanamuseum@gmail.com