Three Forks Interpretive Displays
In Missouri Headwaters State Park itself are several interpretive stations or sites with numerous signs and maps. I stopped at the visitor's information site just inside the park entrance and collected several brochures and pieces of information from a very helpful park volunteer who explained about the various places to stop and things to see.
In addition to the small booth where he sat, there was a newish interpretive kiosk with several signs, as well as an interesting adjacent site containing the remains of an old log hotel built in the 1860s, with a sign explaining its history. Directly across the road from the visitors information area is the park's small campground where I've camped at least twice in past years.
New interpretive kiosk at the entrance to Missouri Headwaters, "new" meaning built since I was there last!
Example of some signs inside the kiosk.
The old hotel is one of only a couple buildings remaining from a town called Gallatin City, or rather, an attempt at establishing a lasting town, a sort of planned community. It turned out that the Three Forks area could not support the town envisioned by its developers--the rivers were not big enough for steamboats, as originally promoted, and Gallatin City did not last long.
The town of Three Forks, which I'll write about in the next post, succeeded due to the establishment of the railroad, agriculture, and so forth, not because of the proximity of the three rivers.
The Gallatin City Hotel today.
Interpretive sign about the hotel, showing its one-time addition, now gone. Gallatin City failed in part because the Missouri River was not commercially navigable all the way to the Three Forks.
Besides the information kiosk and hotel site, the other major interpretive site in the park is at the trail head to Fort Rock (from which I took my picture of the Gallatin River in the previous post). Here there is a shady picnic area, as well as two interpretive structures with native grasses on their roofs. These were just being built last time I was here. The current signs in these structures are new since that visit.
One of two "sod-roofed" interpretive structures at the Fort Rock trail.
Row of signs inside one of the structures. Some of the information is about Lewis and Clark, but much of it is about the landscape, rivers, wildlife, native people, and other aspects of area history.
At the same site is an unusual feature: an enclosure containing three children's graves from pioneer days. A sign indicates they died in the 1870s from "black diphtheria." Many, many places across the west have these scattered graves of people who were buried pretty much where they died as people were traveling through an area.
Three graves of children who died here from diphtheria in the 1870s.
Next: Sacajawea at the Three Forks and interpretive sites in town.
[All photos by K. Dahl, copyright 2007.]