Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Forsyth ...

Though I love most Montana towns, I'll confess to a real soft spot for Forsyth. I spent several months there a number of years ago, doing my first big history project, and I still feel a real connection with the place ... though the town has changed some, of course, and many of the people I knew in Forsyth have since passed away.

My friend Mike Blakesley is still there, though, running the gorgeous old Roxy Theatre, and a few days ago he very kindly sent me a number of historic photos of the town. This is one of my favorites -- it was taken by Mike's father Bruce, at the Forsyth Horse Show parade back in the 1950s. I love it for all the period details you can see ... the old-style stop sign, the clothing styles and the cowboy hats, the building cornices and facades that are now mostly hidden.

And the old signs! Blakesley's Cigar Store, Lefty's Bar, and of course the Roxy ... it's the survivor on that street, and today looks better than ever.


  1. What a TREASURE!!!
    I don't understand why mainstreet buildings, today, aren't build in the same style as these. Would it really be that hard to make buildings beautiful?

    And the styles from the 50's! Aaaaahhhh.....

  2. Yeah, it's absolutely wonderful. :)

    And I'm definitely with you on the building styles. In Forsyth's case, the really tragic thing is that the owners of several of these buildings have covered up much of that great old architecture with some of the ugliest sheet-metal facades imaginable ... turned what was a very handsome block into something of an eyesore. Makes me sad.

    And yep, I'm glad those 1950s clothing styles are long gone! I imagine what we're seeing here is a little out of the ordinary, though ... people had pulled out their cowboy clothes in honor of the horse show.

  3. What a great picture. My sister lives there now, so I'm familiar with that street. I love the pictures of Eastern Montanans in the 50's. One can tell that to get out the clean and starched dress clothes, shine the shoes and wear a good hat was such a treat for them!

  4. Yep, a great shot of a great little town. It's the everyday photos like that one, I think, that end up being the most treasured in the long run ... and they're the ones that folks like me who do historic research always value the most.

    And I agree, people did seem to like to get dressed up a lot more back then! Photograph a crowd like that today, and they'd all be wearing T-shirts and ball caps. In a way it's too bad, though I'm definitely a T-shirt kind of guy, myself. :)