Bars and Cars in Deer Lodge, MT
We broke camp at Salmon Lake State Park and headed to Deer Lodge, MT. We needed water and a laundry so decided to park at Indian Creek Campground a private park at the edge of town. The sites were well spaced, the electric and water good, the laundry room priced reasonably and clean.
Our reasons for heading here, other than clean clothes, were the museums. Considering the size of the town, there are a lot of museums here! There is also a National Historic Site, Grant-Kohrs Ranch, but we ran out of time. It was unfortunate, as I really want to know what those giant catapult looking things are out in the fields…
After parking and eating lunch, we head to the old Montana State Prison. I don’t know why, but I love visiting old abandoned prisons and have found them all over the country. This particular prison was built in the 1870s, so I thought it might hold some really interesting sites. To be perfectly honest, Eastern State Penitentiary blows this place away. It doesn’t hurt that Al Capone was kept there. None-the less, the Montana State Prison is pretty interesting and worth a stop if in the area.
Attached to the Prison is a car museum. We really had no expectations but wandered into the room anyway. Turns out, this is one of the most extensive car collections we have ever seen! There are at least 100 cars, starting with the first car ever built. We saw cars we didn’t know existed, cars where there may be one still in existence, cars that were so pristine they looked as if they never set wheel on a US road, especially one in Montana.
I loved the amazing details on the older cars. The amount of detail work required to build them must have been phenomenal. It is surprising, considering the technological advances, that today’s cars are not nearly as detailed as past cars. In fact, our cars today are much more utilitarian and much more lacking in personality. But, I guess our cookie cutter cars look good next to our cookie cutter houses.
While I only have a few posted here, there were dozens and dozens more. Photographing here was difficult, as the cars are squished together and lighting is horrible. But there is a huge assortment of trucks, muscle cars, model ts, you name it, they probably have it. Even the last model Studebaker (it was a beautiful car) and my personal favorite, the 1955 Thunderbird convertible. If you love cars and are in Montana, this is a must stop. The only problem is it could take hours to tour. Every time you think you are done, there is another building and showroom around the corner.