Monday, July 15, 2013

Dedicating the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Glenn Montgomery cooked for several of the crews that built Going-to-the-Sun Road and was head cook for West Glacier Park. But never in his career did he feed more people than on July 15, 1933, the day Going-to-the-Sun Road was dedicated. Park officials expected to serve lunch to twenty-five hundred people before the opening ceremony. The day before, Montgomery gathered his groceries, including 500 pounds of red beans, 125 pounds of hamburger, 36 gallons of tomatoes, 100 pounds of onions, and 15 pounds of chili powder. The brew bubbled on four woodstoves in nine copper-bottomed washtubs until midnight. Crews transported the first batch of hot chili up to Logan Pass and transferred it to waiting cook fires to keep it hot. Meanwhile back at headquarters, Montgomery prepared a second batch that cooked the rest of the night. Nineteen-year-old Ernest Johnson, who worked on the road’s construction at forty cents an hour, stayed up all night helping to stir the chili.

At the dedication of Going-to-the Sun Road
Montana Historical Society Photograph Archives, 956-617
The morning dawned sunny and clear, drawing four thousand people to the festivities on Logan Pass. The chili stretched thin, but with additional hot dogs and coffee, everyone got something to eat. Johnson later said that he slept through the event, but helped clean up the mess. He never saw so many paper plates in all his life.

From Montana Moments: History on the Go

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