The North Fork History Project members were busy this summer interviewing more folks from the North Fork. Here’s what’s new:
- Esther Chrisman – Esther was born in Illinois in 1927 to parents who were immigrants from Norway. She met her husband, Baird, in college and they were married in 1948. They started traveling west together to visit the Rockies. They visited their friends, Orville and Helen Foreman, who had purchased the Petersen homestead in 1948. Esther and Baird camped at Avalanche Lake and did lots of hiking in Glacier Park. They bought the Bart Monahan homestead in 1958 when their son Allen was three months old. They knew many of the original homesteaders.
- Bud & April Evans – Bud and April’s parents, Frank and Edna Evans, bought the Panorama Ranch near Polebridge from Bill Adair in 1946. As children, Bud and April spent their summers in the North Fork and winters in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Frank had come from Illinois to work as a naturalist for Glacier National Park. He started a hiking concession in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Edna came to Montana to work as a nurse in his business. They fell in love and married. The Panorama Ranch later became headquarters for their hiking trips in the Park.
- Naomi Hoiland – Naomi was born in a log cabin in 1935 on Half Moon Lake near Belton. She first came to the North Fork when she was four years old and started school a year later at the Ford schoolhouse. She has fond memories from that time. She was raised by her grandparents, Ruth and Bert Conn and they lived near the Holcolms. Her Grampa Bert worked seasonally for the Forest Service as a smoke chaser, lookout, and on the trail crew. She knew many of the original homesteaders.
You can get access to these interviews on the North Fork History Project page under Oral History Interviews. Our many thanks to Debo Powers, Tom Edwards, and Karen McDonough for conducting these interviews and to Debo for writing up the summaries. And of course our sincere thanks to Esther Chrisman, Bud & April Evans, and Naomi Hoiland for agreeing to share their early North Fork memories with all of us.