murals at Custer High
Posted by Esther Hurlburt (+13) 15 years ago

I hope someone can provide a bit of insight and history.

Does anyone remember the mural on the third floor of the old high school? My father, Ralph Hurlburt, taught chemistry on the third floor, so the mural dates back to at least the 1960's. As a little girl I remember climbing three flights of stairs to get to the chemistry lab. I'd look up to see a colorful mural above the lockers between the doors to the auditorium. If memory serves me correctly, the mural was of Native Americans on horses up on a butte overlooking a river valley.

When I was in Miles City in 1994, the murals had been covered up with new lockers.

Does anyone remember this mural? If so, do you remember what happened to it or whay it was covered up?


Esther Hurlburt
Class of 1974
Lexington, KY
Posted by Donna Kingsley Coffeen (+398) 15 years ago
Esther, I do remember it and think that your recollection is pretty close. I also graduated in 1974 and think I saw it when my elementary school took a tour of the HS.
Posted by David Schott (+19067) 15 years ago
The main entrance to the auditorium is on the 2nd floor of the 1921 building. The chemistry lab used to be on the 3rd/top floor of the 1921 building. The chemistry lab was relocated to the science building which was built in about 1984 and is between the 1921 and 1964 buildings -- where "the ramp" used to be.

Around the 1983/84 timeframe they replaced the windows in the 1921 building and installed air conditioning. If I recall correctly when they did that they installed suspended ceilings throughout the building. That may have been the demise of the mural since it was covered by the suspended ceiling.

Inside the auditorium on either side of the stage there are still two large paintings (~4ft x 5ft), one of a Native American camp with several teepees and the other of a river scene with Native Americans, white explorers/frontiersmen and a canoe. The artist's name is Masterson.

Here is a photo that shows the 2nd floor ticket window and entrance to the auditorium:

- Dave


From the August 20, 2008, Miles City Star "Stardust" column (page 4):

25 YEARS AGO (1983)[f] When students return to
Custer County High School
this fall, they will find some
changes intended to make a
more energy efficient build-
ing. Ceilings have been low-
ered and 187 new windows
have been installed.[/f]
[This message has been edited by David Schott (edited 12/21/2008).]
Posted by Wil Nelson (+84) 15 years ago
The murals are a distant memory but Mr. Hurlburt is not! I took a couple of classes from him in the late 50's or early 60's. He was a very fine teacher and a great person.
Posted by Bill Zook (+497) 15 years ago
Esther: The mural was done in the mid '40s by 4 students as I recall. One of those was the sister of my classmate and friend. Her name was Helen Mott, now deceased. I'm sorry I can't recall the others as it is my understanding that the mural no longer exists.
I taught with your father from 1966 - 1977 and enjoyed him both as a friend and colleague.