48 Degrees North

New Year’s Day 1923 in Flathead County

Like today, visitors fell in love with Montana and never left

By Denali Sagner
Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo

When the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 1923, President Warren G. Harding held office, the California grizzly bear had just gone extinct and monumental changes loomed in the Flathead Valley.

On Jan. 4, a newspaper in Toole County reported that for the first time, four women sat in the legislative assembly in Helena, who all “had considerable experience in public life.” 

As women entered politics, new technologies reshaped recreation. The Columbian published a story titled “Radio Bug Hits Columbia Falls,” with the breaking news that two local families had installed radio sets. 

“Has the radio bug hit you yet? If not, it will before long, for the epidemic has surely hit our little city,” the paper wrote. 

And like today, visitors fell in love with Montana and never left. The Columbian reported on Jan. 4 that a “young businessman from New York City” arrived in Columbia Falls and “went up the South Fork on an elk hunt.” When the man’s wife inquired about his return, he simply couldn’t leave.