Miles City legends
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1493) 20 years ago
(insert name here) and the Highway Patrol

I've heard this tale told with eight different people as the main charcter, my Mom's dad, Fritz Coleman among them. I rode with Grandpa driving--he could've been it. Anyhow, it's usually PeeWee Anderson they tell it about. My other grandad, Dwight Roberts is the latest to tell me this one.

One day PeeWee was going to make his usual trip to his shop in Glendive. He'd stopped for breakfast at the RedRocks, and was noticed there by the local highway patrol trooper.

Now, PeeWee was famous for driving like he was from Miles City. If he had open road, he had the gas pedal on the floor. Said trooper was upset that he could never catch PeeWee speeding while the whole town knew about it, so he had an idea..

He called the Highway Patrol office in Glendive to warn the captain there when PeeWee left the RedRocks, and have him time PeeWee's arrival. Of course, the Captin was waiting for him when he got to his shop, "PeeWee, you left Miles City 45 minutes ago!! I calculate your speed to be over 100 miles an hour!!"

PeeWee answered, "Well, he** Captain, if I'd known you were waiting for me, I wouldn't have stopped for coffee in Terry!"

[This message has been edited by Dave Roberts (edited 2/6/2001).]
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1493) 20 years ago
'Got another one.

About those tunnels under Main Street--

Folks have been talking about tunnels under Main Street being used by bootleggers during prohibition.

The tunnels *do* exist (or at least they did, they may have been filled when the old steam plant was torn down) They were there for the pipes to supply steam to the businesses along Main from the old MDU power plant.

Every fall and spring, the MDU guys (my grandad for a long time) would walk through the tunnels to open or close the valves for whichever businesses were hooked up and wanted the steam pumped to their radiators.

The only hitch with bootleggers using the tunnels is that the locks for the doors into their basements were on the *inside* of the tunnel.
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Posted by David Schott (+16521) 20 years ago
On the topic of prohibition I'm reminded of the Montana Bar. If you look at the tile floor in front of the bar you can see where the stools used to be bolted down. I was told that during prohibition it operated as a cafe and the seats were secured as is commonly done for lunch counters. I was also told that there were tubes behind the counter where the booze bottles would be dropped through to the basement floor... smashing the evidence in the event of a police raid.
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Posted by MilesCity.com Webmaster (+9973) 20 years ago
Those are great legends!

Last time I was in Miles City I enjoyed visiting the old Montana Bar on Main Street and hearing the story about the cowboy who accidentally shot a hole in the front glass while checking in his sidearm -- and while I was there -- viewing the bullet hole still present.

I can't remember the name of the fellow that runs the place, but I think he's done an excellent job of keeping the old bar in pristine shape -- original italian marble on the floor, original horse hair stuffed bench seats in the booths, etc.

If you haven't been there in a while, or even at all, I would definately recommend dropping in and checking out the place.
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Posted by Dave Roberts (+1493) 20 years ago
I dunno nuthin' about prohibition. Or grandmother's root cellars either. ~

But! I do know about the Montana Bar having slot machines for a spell.

I don't know the exact date, I figure it was before I was born or around that time (1967) but the feds (I dunno which jurisdiction either) raided the Montana and smashed up "all" their slot machines out at the dump. All but at least one.

Grandpa Coleman, besides being a machinist at Hines, was a gunsmith. He was also the only guy around that could make his own parts to fix antique mechanical slot machines.

He had one of the Montana's Watling nickel slots in his shop for repairs when the raid went down and as I understand it, the owner just told him to either keep it or throw it away.

I'll get a picture of it scanned and send it to Larry sometime. (well, he** yes he kept it!) It works too!
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Posted by Amorette Allison (+11461) 20 years ago
The steam tunnels weren't where the bootleggers kept their stuff. They used the vaults and tunnels under Main Street that were built for storage and to provide a clean place to walk during the winter. There used to be a wide, brick-lined tunnel from the Olive to the MC Laundry so sheets could be taken back and forth without them getting dirty.
Some of the vaults are still in existence, under the sidewalks, although the last one with the glass blocks to let in light--they turned purple with age--was destroyed just a few months ago.
Down the Cellar restaurant, on the sidewalk next to Big Sky Pharmacy, are still the signs of the old vaults. City engineers office keeps track of what is still open and what is filled in.
--Amorette
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