History After Dark!

Posted: August 29, 2021 by extremehistory in Uncategorized

Dear Friends,
We are disappointed to announce that we are cancelling our History After Dark event, originally scheduled for October 15th, due to the rise in Gallatin Valley Covid cases. Our community is important to us and we want to do everything we can to keep everyone, including our Extreme History volunteers, safe and healthy. If you have already purchased a ticket, you will receive a refund.
Thank you for your support and please look for our future events as the Covid situation stabilizes.

As the days get shorter and there is a touch of fall in the air – our thoughts at Extreme History turn to History After Dark! Join us for this self-guided walking tour that brings Bozeman’s past to life! On Friday, October 15, some of Bozeman’s notorious citizens will return from the grave to share their stories with the public. Participants will walk the dark streets of downtown Bozeman, hearing tales of horrific murders, gruesome hangings, and salacious madams from the mouths of the dead themselves. Tours will kick off at 7pm from The Extreme History Project headquarters located at 234 E. Mendenhall. Tickets are limited so purchase early! CLICK HERE TO SECURE A TICKET! For more information or questions, send us an email at info@extremehistoryproject.org!

Join us on Saturday, July 17 from noon to 5pm for the Grand Opening of The Extreme History Project Book Shop! Within the Extreme History headquarters, we have dedicated a room to used books that focus on history. We have a large selection of Montana and western history, along with some great historical fiction. Books range in price from $4 to $12. We are located at 234 E. Mendenhall. Stop by on Saturday, July 17th and find some summer history reading!

Walking Tours Start May 28!

Posted: May 17, 2021 by extremehistory in Uncategorized
Elizabeth Noonan giving our Gracious Gables historic walking tour

We are excited to kick off our 2021 historic walking tour season on Memorial Day weekend! Starting May 28th, we’ll be offering nine historic walking tours including our Murders, Madams, and Mediums: Bozeman’s Dark Side, our popular Ghosts of Bozeman’s Past cemetery tour, and our Business and Pleasure: Bozeman’s Historic Red Light District tour, just to name a few. Our tours are full of fascinating Bozeman and Montana history you won’t want to miss! To secure your spot on a tour, visit our Eventbrite page by clicking here and book a tour today!

Give Big for History!

Posted: May 6, 2021 by extremehistory in Uncategorized

It is that time of year again, time to Give Big! Please consider adding The Extreme History Project to your giving list this year.

We need history and a connection to our community’s past now more than ever. By understanding where we’ve been, we can better understand what’s happening today. Help us continue our mission to make history relevant. Contributions big and small are welcome and go a long way in helping us to provide you with quality historical programming, bringing history alive.

Together we can tell the story of our place, not only the traditional narrative but one that includes all the voices in the story. We ask for your support and we thank you for giving big to history. It’s easy, just follow this link. Thank you for your support of The Extreme History Project and Give Big.

Click here to view our 3-minute video about why we think history is important! 

The Dirt on the Past!

Posted: March 9, 2021 by extremehistory in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

Have you had a chance to check out our new podcast, The Dirt on the Past? If not, be sure to have a listen and subscribe wherever you find your podcasts. If you would like to listen from our website, click here. We interview archaeologists, historians, and other heritage professionals about their research and why it matters today. Thanks and hope you can join us for more . . . Dirt on the Past!

Thank You!

Posted: December 18, 2020 by extremehistory in Uncategorized

Dear Friends of The Extreme History Project,

Like everyone, The Extreme History Project has been faced with many challenges because of Covid-19. Unable to provide our usual full range of programming due to safety concerns, we made adjustments to our walking tours in keeping with mandated restrictions, continued to provide our lecture series via Zoom instead of in person, and introduced several new and informative events to support our educational mission.

This year the nation commemorated the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women voting rights. To highlight this pivotal legislation, we displayed an exhibit detailing the suffrage movement, curated another exhibit providing a snapshot of historic reproductive and contraceptive practices during the 19th century west, and facilitated a committee called The 19th Amendment: Expanding the Arc of the Suffrage Story, a coordinated effort of individuals and organizations in the Gallatin Valley who worked to change the narrative of the women’s suffrage story including the histories of indigenous women and women of color. Many of our lecture series presentations this year also dealt with women’s issues and women’s place in the historical narrative.

To further our outreach and maintain a dialog with our community, Extreme History started a Book Club with book selections relevant to the Montana experience. Supplementing that effort, we launched The Dirt on the Past podcast in which experts in a variety of fields discuss their research.

2020 has proven to be especially memorable and we have been witness to many firsts. What we do now becomes the history of future generations and informs our actions affecting that future. The Extreme History Project’s goal is to seek out and examine that history — good, bad or ugly — and share that knowledge with you. Knowledge is power, as is truth.

We are gearing up for 2021 and have been brainstorming new, exciting projects. To that end, we do ask for your help in achieving our mission. Your donations enable us to keep our research ongoing and our programming pertinent. Every dollar provides the vital resources needed to continue our service. Sometimes it really does take a village!

Click Here to Support History in your Community!

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Crystal and Team Extreme

PS. Because we are a non-profit, all donations are tax deductible.

Learn how to uncover the history of a house or historic building! Every building has a history and a story to tell. In this virtual workshop, you’ll learn how to uncover the history of a house or historic building, whether it is 50 years old or 150 years old. Experts will share their knowledge on research techniques and you’ll be instructed on how to read Sanborn maps, research city directories, uncover information in deed records, and much more! Join us for this virtual workshop from 10am to 3pm on Saturday, November 7th via zoom. The cost of this workshop is $45 which includes a packet of resources and information which you will receive via email. Hope you can join us for this interactive and engaging workshop! To purchase a ticket, click here. For questions please contact us at info@extremehistoryproject.org.

518 W. Lamme, Bozeman, Montana

Cemeteries as Outdoor Museums

Posted: October 3, 2020 by extremehistory in Uncategorized
Entrance Gate at Sunset Hills Cemetery – Photo courtesy The Gallatin History Museum
Sunset Hills Cemetery by Crystal Alegria

Cemeteries are places of solace and beauty, they are places you go to contemplate, grieve, and appreciate. As a historian, I go to these places for all those reasons but also to learn about the people who came before, those who built the community I now live in and call home. The values of a community can be seen in the cemetery, on the headstones and in the monuments, in the layout, and engraved on the stones. You can see and understand what people held sacred through epitaphs and inscriptions. Cemeteries are like outdoor museums. The headstones hold secrets contained in the symbolism etched on their stone surfaces. If we take the time to look and learn, we come away from our local cemeteries with knowledge about the people themselves, but also the community values they shared. (photo of gate)

Our local cemetery, Sunset Hills, is located on a hill over-looking the town of Bozeman, Montana. Today it is a beautiful park-like cemetery with a multitude of trees, lilacs blooming in the spring, formal boulevards, and manicured lawns. It started off as a convenient spot, atop a hill to bury Bozeman’s dead with little thought to the beauty and tranquility of the location.

There are early newspaper accounts that mention the cemetery as a stark and barren hill, with cattle grazing amongst the tombstones, rubbing up against them and knocking them over. An article from the Avant Courier newspaper in 1879 decried the need for a fence saying, “. . . the final resting place of the dead remains . . .  unprotected from the bands of horses and cattle running at large on the adjoining foot hills.”[1] It goes on to say, “We are aware that several family lots are properly enclosed by neat picket fences but the condition of the remainder, which is by far the greater portion of the grounds, is little more than a standing disgrace to the people of Bozeman.”[2] As mentioned, some early graves had white picket fences to prevent destruction from wildlife and cows. A photo published in The Anaconda Standard from 1901 shows these picket fences surrounding graves. It also shows the grass as un-mowed and tall. It has a wild beauty to it but from our 21st century eyes it is shocking to see a cemetery so unmanicured.

The Anaconda Standard Newspaper shows the grave of Mary Blackmore, along with other graves surrounded by picket fences.

In the early years there was no irrigation in the cemetery. People would bring water up the hill in buckets and pales to water the few plants and flowers that marked their ancestor’s graves. There is an account in 1891 from The Bozeman Daily Chronicle that comments on the view “Seen From the Hill.” The article describes the sleepy town of Bozeman on a May day in 1891, “Farmers dotting the landscape for miles. They seem to be very busy putting in crops. . . Several Bozemanites arrayed in summer suits and straw hats. The dust flying over the city and an old sprinkler going to decay. The schoolboy playing “hookey” and trapping gophers on the Ellis reservation. People carrying water to the cemetery in buckets, tin cans, etc.”[3]

Cemeteries are also a place to self-reflect, to think about your own life and those who came before.  If you would like an introduction to Bozeman’s historic section of Sunset Hills Cemetery, please join us for a walking tour this month. We are offering tours on October 4 and October 11 at 4pm. Due to small tour size we suggest you register by clicking here!

One of our favorite cemetery books at Extreme History is Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters. Here is a small piece from this classic.

Where are Elmer, Herman, Bert, Tom and Charley,

The weak of will, the strong of arm, the clown, the boozer, the fighter?

All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One passed in a fever,

One was burned in a mine,

One was killed in a brawl,

One died in a jail,

One fell from a bridge toiling for children and wife —

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Ella, Kate, Mag, Lizzie and Edith,

The tender heart, the simple soul, the loud, the proud, the happy one? —

All, all are sleeping on the hill.

One died in shameful child-birth,

One of a thwarted love,

One at the hands of a brute in a brothel,

One of a broken pride, in the search for heart’s desire,

One after life in far-away London and Paris

Was brought to her little space by Ella and Kate and Mag —

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where are Uncle Isaac and Aunt Emily,

And old Towny Kincaid and Sevigne Houghton,

And Major Walker who had talked

With venerable men of the revolution? —

All, all are sleeping on the hill.

They brought them dead sons from the war,

And daughters whom life had crushed,

And their children fatherless, crying —

All, all are sleeping, sleeping, sleeping on the hill.

Where is Old Fiddler Jones

Who played with life all his ninety years,

Braving the sleet with bared breast,

Drinking, rioting, thinking neither of wife nor kin,

Nor gold, nor love, nor heaven?

Lo! he babbles of the fish-frys of long ago,

Of the horse-races of long ago at Clary’s Grove,

Of what Abe Lincoln said

One time at Springfield.

[1] The Bozeman Avant Courier, Thursday, May 29, 1879.

[2] The Bozeman Avant Courier, Thursday, May 29, 1879.

[3] The Bozeman Daily Chronicle, May 1891.

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The Dirt on the Past: A Podcast of The Extreme History Project

Posted: September 25, 2020 by extremehistory in Uncategorized

We have BIG NEWS! We are so excited to debut our new PODCAST, The Dirt on the Past; A Podcast of The Extreme History Project! We’ve been thinking about this podcast for a LONG time and decided to make it happen! The podcast is hosted by Crystal Alegria, the Director of The Extreme History Project and Nancy Mahoney, a downtown Bozeman business owner and member of The Extreme History Project’s Board of Directors. Crystal and Nancy will converse with professionals in the fields of history, archaeology, and anthropology to bring you cutting-edge research and why it matters today. Extreme History is partnering with Gallatin Valley Community Radio (KGVM 95.5). A big thanks to Steve Durbin of KGVM for recording and editing. You can find The Dirt on the Past on Apple Podcasts (aka itunes, please subscribe!) or you can listen directly from either the Extreme History Project website, CLICK HERE or catch it on KGVM 95.5. Thanks, and keep listening for more . . . dirt on the past!

We are excited to announce that The Extreme History Project has a new pop-up exhibit, “From Boudoir to the Brothel: Reproductive Health in 1900’s Montana” now on display! This exhibit showcases the history of women’s reproductive healthcare in Montana through the lens of two women who lived in Bozeman, MT during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Rachel Lindley and Libbie Hayes. Lindley was a member of Bozeman’s social elite and Hayes managed a house of prostitution. Jennifer Hill PhD, the Director of the Women’s Reproductive History Alliance curated the exhibit and is an expert in the field of women’s reproductive history and a pioneer in the field of digital humanities. To view the exhibit visit The Extreme History Project at 234 E. Mendenhall Street in Bozeman, MT or visit the virtual exhibit by clicking below.  Extreme History is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 10am to 3pm. This exhibit will be on display for the remainder of 2020 and into 2021. 

Boudoir to Brothel front page





A BIG THANK YOU to the sponsors who made this exhibit possible including:

Susan Sewell


Students for Choice at MSU

Montana NOW

Patrick and Kris Holland

Women’s Reproductive History Alliance