Montana Historical Society (MHS) staff members and other subject matter experts will lead a two-month exploration of the last twelve thousand years of Montana history. Every Wednesday, 3:30-4:30, between April 3, 2019, and May 29, 2019, a presenter will discuss a major theme of Montana history. Individually, these programs will offer compelling discussions of specific topics relating to Montana’s past; together they will provide a big-picture overview of the state’s rich and fascinating history. Come for one—or come for all! OPI Renewal Credits will be available and presentations will be live-streamed for those who can’t make it in person (and ultimately archived).
Contact Kirby Lambert at the Historical Society for more information.
This week’s lesson is On the Road Again. The United States economy boomed in the years following World War II and transportation networks changed dramatically. Growing suburbs, a new golden age of automobile tourism, and the rise of commercial trucking all had a profound impact on Montana. These changes sparked a boom in highway construction in the Treasure State, crowned by the completion of nearly 1,200 miles of Interstate highway by 1988. About the speaker: Jon Axline is a graduate of Montana State University and has worked at the Montana Department of Transportation since 1990. He is the author of a number of books and articles, including Conveniences Sorely Needed: Montana’s Historic Highway Bridges, Taming Big Sky Country: The History of Montana Transportation from Trails to Interstate, and “Operation Skywatch: The Montana Ground Observer Corps, 1952–1959,” which appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of Montana The Magazine of Western History.