Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bannack, Montana

We just returned from an aggressive vacation to three national parks: Badlands National Park, Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. We also made stops in Bannack, Montana and Omaha Nebraska related to Langford genealogy. The first picture below is the Masonic Building in Bannack. Nathaniel Pitt Langford was involved in Masonry here and his picture still hangs on the Masonic meeting room wall on the second floor. You might wonder how one gets their picture on a wall in a ghost town. It turns out that the Montana Masons have a meeting here every fall since this is recognized as the first meeting of any Masons in the state. Langford was one of three at the first meeting. The Montana Highway Patrol wear the badge of 3-7-77 on their uniforms to this day. This was the number painted on cabins in Langford's era, by the Vigilance Committee, to let people know they had better get out of town. Our guide told us that the "3" stood for the three men at the first Masonic meeting.

The next two pictures are street scenes in Bannack. There are about 60 buildings remaining as well as a visitor's center which includes a gift shop. It is designated as a Montana State Park. Ranger John Phillips gave us a guided tour of Bannack and was fully aware of the importance of NP Langford to the Vigilance Committee, Masonry in Montana and Montana statehood. Ranger Phillips has even "acted" as Langford for the fall Mason meeting.

Lastly, the picture below is from the Masonic meeting room showing NP Langford's picture hanging there. I was also able to buy a copy of his book "Vigilant Days and Ways" at the gift shop.

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