Toston, Montana. Population 108
The Peat Bar
1 Broadway St, Lima, MT 59739
It appears new owners have taken over the Peat as of 5-15-15 and will be reopening on July 1. Best of luck to them!
Polar Bear Building – 900 Central Ave W, Great Falls, MT
Currently for sale, this building appears to have last housed “Cash Converters”. What was it originally? An ice cream stand? Whatever it was, the building itself has been remodeled and covered over. It’s surprising and fortunate that the iceberg and polar bear on top has survived.
527 Central Ave W, Great Falls, MT 59404
Ford’s Drive In opened in 1954. The radial design, with its central pylon and cable supported overhang of this one reminds me of late ’30s designs like Wayne McAllister’s Herbert’s or Simon’s, but the straight car awning and parking pattern negates that design. Maybe it was added later. Cheeseburger. Fries. Milkshake. I appreciated that the milkshake at this one was a proper consistency. I like a thick milkshake as much as the next guy, but I’ve been on a streak where I’ve been getting what seems like straight soft serve with a straw.
With a fabulous 3D neon sign and a bank of stools, how could I stay away from this charming lunch counter?
Just around the corner from the Sip and Dip / O’Hare’s Motor Inn, I met Beth Lennon of Retro Roadmap and Cliff Hillis here for a chicken fried steak, to recover from the previous night’s fishbowl (more on that later) and to stoke up for what would prove to be a long day of thrifting.
This was just a quick day trip to Missoula, combing through the thrift and antique shops for my business, Vintage Haberdashers. I hope you enjoy the pictures!
It’s a bit of a drive out to Pony from Bozeman. B roads out through Norris and Harrison until you come upon the town, nestled in the foothills. My friends and I went a bit further, out to the Potosi campground and hot spring, a truly beautiful and secluded spot. After a night of camping, campfire cooking, and soaking in the natural hot springs, we ventured into Pony for the famed Pony Bar.
Pony was first settled in the 1860s as a gold mining town. It prospered through the early 1920s, boasting electrification before New York City, and at its peak, 5000 residents. After mining ceased being profitable, the town shrank, and in 1920, a fire swept through downtown, burning many of its buildings. By the 1950s, Pony had become a ghost town. The Pony Bar is the last operating storefront. Signs of Pony’s historic wealth are still apparent by the surviving brick structures, namely the Morris Bank.
The Pony Bar
108 Broadway St, Pony, MT 59747
According to the Butte city webpage, the M+M has been open since 1890. It is half lunch counter and half bar, the bar being the counter on your left as you walk in, the lunch counter being the one on your right. In the back is gaming.
Food at the cafe is excellent, and as it is cooked behind the counter, you get a show as you wait. The stools are a type I have never seen before, with a vertical “twist” ripple to their top. The cafe logo is embossed in their seat covers.
We were in Butte, working the National Folk Festival, and hit up the cafe twice, once during the three day festival, and once a day after. While the event was in town, the M&M was standing room only. It was so full and swamped that we gave up. The second time was different, slower, once the festival had left town, and it was back to mostly locals.
I love the juxtaposition of the M&M and the R&R. The Neon, the hand painted sign on the side of the building and the lettering in the trimwork up top all proudly announce the name of the cafe. The stainless facade adds some sparkle to the old brick building. The current neon was added sometime after 1939. A different piece is found in this 1939 picture of the cafe on Shorpy. The town doesn’t look all that different, though than it did 70 odd years ago.