The Montana Department of Transportation is dedicated to preserving and interpreting sites across the state that document Montana's exciting history. Old bridges can be found throughout the Big Sky Country, providing not only a link across rivers, but also a connection between the people who built them and those who came after. Jon Axline's book, Conveniences Sorely Needed: Montana's Historic Highway Bridges 1860-1956, explores the forces that built Montana's historic bridges and the structures' importance to the communities they served.
Bridges provide physical reminders of significant periods in American history, but they are disappearing from the Montana landscape. Time and weather have taken their toll, as has modern traffic demands. Yet, as old bridges are replaced, growing numbers of citizens have come to see the state's remaining historic bridges as visible and underappreciated reflections of Montana's past.
Conveniences Sorely Needed: Montana's Historic Highway Bridges 1860-1956 is a collaboration between the Historical Society and MDT. It was completed as partial mitigation through the MDT's Adopt-A-Bridge Program for the loss of historic bridges. It also provides a new appreciation for the significance of historic bridges and the preservation of some of these celebrated structures.
The book is at bookstores across the state, or can be ordered directly from the Montana Historical Society for $39.95 in cloth edition and $22.00 in soft cover.