‘Looking Back’ revisits Libby history
New book by June Hileman of The Western News
January 5, 2006
For those who love Libby and want to know more about the history of the area, there is a wonderful new book that just came out called, "Looking Back, A collection of columns from the pages of The Western News", written by June Hileman.
Hileman has worked for the Libby newspaper for nearly 45 years, with part of her duties as paper historian for much of that time. She is a native of Libby and was born on a ranch up Bobtail Creek. In addition to writing, reporting, selling ads and pasting up pages, she also wrote the ‘Looking Back’ column, which pulled snippets from earlier editions of The Western News 20, 40, 50 and 60 years back that appeared in the paper decades earlier near the same date.
This 145-page hard-bound book is a great buy at only $35.00, plus shipping. It includes many black & white photographs and original captions from the Looking back 20 years . . . feature in the paper. Books are available at The Western News and Cabinet Books & Music in Libby and Montana Gifts in Troy. You can also order by calling The Western News at 406-293-4124 and ordering with your credit card.
Here are some excerpts from the book:
Sept. 16, 1954: "Visitors from Spokane and throughout the northwest were entertained by the Libby Chamber of Commerce during a three-day tour of the Libby-Troy area…They were conducted on a tour of Zonolite Company operations where officials explained the mining operations and surprised them by saying that when the mine is eventually worked out, nothing will remain of that particular mountain of vermiculite but a pass through to the other side of the range. Visitors were impressed by the strip-mining process carried out on 10 levels."
Dec. 16, 1954: "The first plant of mountain sheep on record in Lincoln County was made on Monday evening when 11 bighorns were brought here from Wildhorse Island in Flathead Lake and released near Kootenai Falls…"
Feb. 3, 1955: "More than 139,000 visits to the Kootenai National Forest were recorded during 1954…Although the primary declared purposes of the national forest are timber production and watershed protection, the Forest Service does not overlook their value as recreational areas."
May 12, 1955: "On a lofty wind-swept mountain top somewhere in the vicinity of Yaak, a massive radar antenna continually sweeps the skies to detect all aircraft flying within its sphere of control. This isolated radar outpost, manned and maintained by the men of the 680th, AC&W Squadron, is one of the many early warning sites that guard our borders against possible enemy air attack." (Yaak Air Force Base)
Sept. 17, 1964: "Construction of Libby Dam was virtually assured on Wednesday when President Lyndon Johnson and Prime Minister Lester Pearson met at Malmstrom Air Force Base before flying on to Blaine, Wash., for the signing of the Columbia River Treaty at the International Peace Arch."
June 27, 1984: "The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an international non-profit organization founded in Troy, was incorporated in May and recently started its initial membership drive mailing 50,000 brochures, according to spokesman Bob Munson."
This book is a gold mine of rich local history and flavor, and is a must-have for anyone who loves the Libby area. We highly recommend it!