Historic Cedar Creek project progresses


Slower than a flock of snails crossing peanut butter. At the speed of a glacier. Lazier than a one-legged dog on tranquilizers.

You get it. Something, or someone, takes forever.

The Cedar Creek Interpretive Signage Project initiated by the Mineral County Museum and Historical Society is one such project.

“This [sign] The project took years to prepare, I would estimate 15 years,” said Debra Regan, who is a member of MCMHS but was involved with this project long before retiring from the Forest Service.

“In 2020, prior to my retirement, my supervisor asked me to research interpretive sign companies in preparation for the district’s need to install interpretive signs on the new Murphy Creek trail system. I learned a lot from this endeavor which fueled my interest in interpreting our local resources and history,” she shares. The Cedar Creek signage project was in the works, so by the time the information was gathered, Regan already had a list of designers and manufacturers.”

“We felt we had to tell this story and that’s why we never gave up on the project. It faltered from time to time, but it was never undone. explained Sue McLees who was behind the project. “Cedar Creek is what started Superior.”

“There was nothing here except a bus station, or a place where people could spend the night. It was owned by Adolf Lozeau and was across the river from the mouth of Cedar Creek. It was from 1869 to 1875 and these panels will contain all the detailed information about them.

Tom Castles moved about five years ago and, being a history buff, he attended the monthly meetings of the MCMHS.

“Most of the written history of the early days of the Cedar Creek Gold Rush comes from newspaper accounts. Namely the regional newspapers of Missoula, Deer Lodge and Helena. So how accurate are these articles? Maybe a bit exaggerated. But some of these so-called facts can be verified by these different newspaper articles on the same subject,” he said.

“Treffle LaCasse first came to Cedar Creek in 1885 and died in 1953. I am old enough to have personal memories of him at Camp LaCasse, his last mining property. His daughter, Henrietta, wrote a story about her father for a journalism class at U of M in 1930. Much of my knowledge comes from that document,” Castles said. Mary Murphy-Kellis was also instrumental in the signage project. “Most of the information I found for the panels came from WPA (Works Project Administration also called the New Deal Program) interviews found in the office of the museum and Debbie Davis-Quitt’s book “Gumboot Gamblers”. His book is well researched and very informative.The WPA interviews were conducted shortly after the mines closed and have interesting first hand stories by local citizens on different occasions and events during the period of the gold rush. gold and thereafter.

Regan returned to her alma mater for further investigation.

“Cultural Resource Specialist and District Archaeologist, Erika Scheuring, had valuable insights and insights from working with archaeologists. I thought all those specialists with masters and doctorates with experience would know their stuff. I felt the same way about the other well-researched documents I used, such as Chris Merritt’s doctoral dissertation on the Chinese of Montana. I wanted the signs to be ‘accurate’ and professional so I really couldn’t research enough. Local history is so exciting it needs to be shared.

Out of the blue came an offer from the Montana Ghost Town Preservation Society of $5,000 to the MCMHS for a project of their choosing. This generous donation covered the first four interpretive panels that have been delivered and will soon be ready for installation. The wishlist contains a total of 13 signs that they hope to have built and installed with private funding and grants.

“One last big thing about the Cedar Creek panels,” Regan said. “The MCMHS Signage Committee would not have made any headway getting our signage information, photos, artwork, etc. to the Salt Lake City Design Company without the digital assistance of Heather Miles of the Mineral County Library, extension staff from MSU and Luke Regan from Luke Regan Design The requirements for sending megapixels with special technical characteristics known only to computer whiz, were beyond the skill of the MCMHS signing committee. Many stepped up to help without hesitation.


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