Saturday, March 13, 2010

Courthouse square ...

The mention of town plats in my last post made me think about the fact that very few Montana communities actually have a formal, platted Town Square. One of the reasons for this is probably the fact that so many Montana townsites were originally laid out by the railroads, and they usually favored simple, standardized (and cheap) designs.

There are a few exceptions, though. There was once a town square in downtown Columbia Falls, until the city shamefully sold it off to a bank a few decades ago. And there are a few cities where the street grid is broken for a central lot containing the county courthouse. The courthouses in both Kalispell and Choteau are like that, sitting in little landscaped parks right in the middle of Main Street. It's a nice bit of urban design, though it gives the highway department fits. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.)

Here's a fairly surprising shot to illustrate -- this is the Teton County Courthouse in Choteau, moments after it was firebombed by angry protesters! And if you don't remember that bit of history, there's good reason ... it's all a Hollywood special effect, created during the filming of the 1988 movie War Party.

No comments:

Post a Comment