Posted By admin on September 9, 2009
Charles Lindbergh was the kind of guy around whom tales grew with the telling. So you have to be careful about those stories surrounding his visit to Montana in September 1927, which I touched on in Sunday’s Montana History Almanac.
He was arguably the most famous man in the world when he flew the “Spirit of St. Louis” into Butte from Boise on Sept. 5, hit a couple of towns to typically adoring receptions, then headed for Spokane a week later to continue a 48-state, 22,000-mile nationwide tour. Lindbergh had flown solo across the Atlantic in May, the first person to do so, and thereby captured the imagination of people around the globe.
So everybody was keeping close track of him on his tour to promote commercial aviation, sponsored by the Guggenheim Family Foundation and the Department of Commerce. When he disappeared from the public’s radar on Sept. 8, there was bound to be consternation. The mystery was cleared up three days later, when it was revealed that Anaconda Copper Co. officials had spirited Lindy away to mountains of western Montana for a rest. The next day, back in Butte, details of his vacation emerged.
Here’s how some of it came out in the Sept. 12 Missoulian, which started off by speculating whether Lindbergh would land in Missoula that morning (he didn’t, but circled every part of the city and dropped a message to the town folk):
“The secret of the location of the camp of Colonel Lindbergh, at his retreat in the mountains of Western Montana, became known yesterday to set at rest the endless speculation and the dissemination of rumors regarding the place where the redoubtable flyer and his friends have been enjoying an outing.
“Colonel Lindbergh’s camp was at Elbow lake, which is located in the northern part of Missoula county, in one of the most rugged and picturesque spots of the entire west, a region the virginity of which is yet unspoiled by the automobile or the pot hunter.”
The article goes on to sing the praises of the country surrounding the lake, which was later re-named Lindbergh Lake.
We’ll go further into the newspaper’s understanding of the trip in the next post.