Weekly Gem #287, The Mythical Founding of Helena, Montana

Published 5/27/23

Location: This hidden gem is located on the corner of Hibbard Way and W. 6th Ave., in Helena, Montana (see the Clue Me! Map), a pleasing artistic rendering of a poem.

The Mythical Founding of Helena, Montana

(after Borges, after Max Frisch)

"Tona," the Blackfeet called the valley: "game pocket," home to deer, pronghorn, elk and bison, grass flowing, scent of sage and wild rose

this "butiful vallie of great extent": prickly pear tearing the feet raw

at the mountain's base, Chippewa-Cree set up their teepees, and in the loud new town, tents glow with golden light, a lantern at every lonesome window, banjo plangent in the night

men blast the earth, the foundation of a business block, and flying stones land on a garden party; the ladies sipping their tea are not amused... (nor much injured)

"no catastrophe," quoth the mayor, "can weaken our resolve" fires, earthquakes, hailstones large as small apples

last chance stream - at flood stage - vanishes into a flume

the gold's gone, too, worked from the earth and made into mansions

scent of lilac and mock orange

hard to remember the town had a beginning

it seems as eternal as the wind in the grasses.

~ Rick Newby, 1997


Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.


A flowin' poem


The Founding of Helena poem

Why It's Interesting

Sure, it's mythical, but it seems that it could be pretty accurate historical fiction!

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