Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Helena’s Paul Revere

I'll be doing a reading and book signing for my new book, More Montana Moments, at the Montana Historical Society Thursday evening at 6:30. It's free! I hope you can make it.

Here's a "moment" from the book:

Helena suffered numerous serious fires in the early years. Merchants sometimes had to rebuild their businesses more than once. Jacob Feldberg lost his clothing store to the fire of 1869 and understood the devastation it could cause. In 1871, another fire threatened Main Street. Jacob ran to help the firemen. “Go away, Jacob, and leave us alone,” they told him. “You are too small to be of any help.” Jacob was a man of very small stature, but he did not give up. He looked around to see what he could do. Wind was whipping through the gulch, and he saw burning embers flying up Broadway. Jacob yelled at the onlookers to follow him, and they ran up the street as firebrands stuck their backs and sizzled at their feet. There were few houses except for a row in the first block of Fifth Avenue behind the courthouse. The neighborhood men were all away fighting the fire on Main Street, and Jacob found women and children madly throwing buckets of water on their homes. Jacob and his followers led horses to safety and turned out the cows, pigs, and chickens to fend for themselves. They thought the fire was nearly under control when a burning ember flew into a woodpile, which burst into flames. Jacob leapt upon a barn roof just as it collapsed and found his way into a kitchen. He gathered all the pots he could find, organized a bucket brigade, and saved the neighborhood. Ever after that, Jacob Feldberg was a hero, and for spreading the word of the fire, he earned the nickname “Helena’s Paul Revere.”

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