YGM Presents: A Brief History of Cooke City
April 21 @ 7:00pm
Historian Kelly Hartman published A Brief History of Cooke City in 2019. She tells stories of people from the book that hadn’t been told in recent years, or to their full capacity. Kelly was especially interested in the people who actually lived and died in the valley–those who had lived a full mountain experience, in particular, those that her readers could most relate to, and those that made the valley what it is today. Register via link. Program uploaded to museum’s YouTube channel afterward.
From the back cover of the book: “With claims staked, 1870s prospectors at Cooke City patiently waited for adequate transportation to get their ore to market. Eager enough, they named the town in honor of Northern Pacific tycoon Jay Cooke. Ironically, Cooke’s influence in creating Yellowstone National Park stunted the growth of the town, as the park blocked any efforts to support a railroad through its borders. For more than sixty years, residents waited for rail until a new economy took hold—tourism. The dreams of the miners still live on in tumble-down shacks and rusty old mining equipment. And the successful vision of entrepreneurs offering rustic relaxation at the doorstep of Yellowstone continues to lure visitors. Historian Kelly Hartman recounts the saga that left hundreds battling for a railroad that never came.”
Kelly Hartman was raised in Silver Gate, Montana, attending kindergarten through eighth grade at the one-room schoolhouse in Cooke City. She received her AA in art at Northwest Community College in Powell, Wyoming, and her BFA in painting from Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon. She started her museum career as the Director of the Cooke City Montana Museum during its opening year. In 2016, she began work as the curator of the Gallatin History Museum in Bozeman, Montana. Her first book, A Brief History of Cooke City, was published in 2019; Her second book, Murder Along the Yellowstone Trail: The Execution of Seth Danner, was released in 2020.