Colstrip,Montana, has been a ble$$ing for Montana since first being opened in 1924 by the Northern Pacific Railroad to obtain coal for its locomotives. I am quite sure it will exist to become well over 100 years old all in all. My mother, Mary Shipley, taught in the Colstrip High School in 1942-1943 before she and Dad moved to Edmonton,Alberta, which was his headquarters as a captain with Northwest Airlines flying from Minneapolis to Seattle and all over Canada and Alaska during WWII. When Dad would have earned time off after fulfilling his monthly flying duty with NWA he would deadhead to Billings and Mom would struggle driving the gravel and mud road from Colstrip to Forsyth and then Billings to pick him up for several days or a week together.
He had a part time job working in the mine as a track management and construction supervisor. He earned the big money, $1.25 per hour. This was OK with them because as a copilot with Northwest in 1943 he was lucky and earned $155.00 per month. I have forgotten over the years what Mom earned as a full time teacher, but, it was surely peanuts compared to today.
Ship did spend some time visiting with the high school boys advising them NOT to go off to war as young as they all were. In order to gain and then keep their trust he had to allow them to talk him into poaching pheasants and grouse with them whenever they could.
During the 1970s and '80s when Colstrip was booming Beacon Carter Service had accounts there with Western Energy and Long Construction These huge companies bought hundreds of tanker loads of diesel fuel from us, hundreds. Beacon Carter Tire Service also had all of their tire business and I remember posting monthly statements in our office many times when Long's tire account exceeded $200,000 per month counting all the truck and scraper tires they bought from us. These were very good times for certain.
The yen may do one thing and our dollar may do some other thing, but, all in all, I believe Colstrip will continue to be a great home for thousands and a wonderful producer for decades yet to come.
Thank you, Rob Shipley