15 Things You Might Not Know About Montana

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1. The Freezeout Lake wildlife management area—40 miles west of Great Falls—was established to encourage a habitat for waterfowl production. During migration in early March, spectators can watch up to 300,000 snow geese and 10,000 tundra swan gather before beginning their long trip north. 

2. In the 19th century, gold prospecting in Montana made the state's residents incredibly wealthy. In 1864, four prospectors discovered Last Chance Gulch (currently, Montana capital Helena's downtown). Miners flocked to the area over the next 20 years to look for gold—and the equivalent of as much as $3.5 billion was discovered. By 1888, Helena was home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world.

3. Geysers and grizzly bears and bison, oh my! Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park, which extends from the southern part of Montana into northern Wyoming, was the first national park in the United States. Before the National Park Service was in place, the U.S. Army protected the area until 1918. As such, the army outpost of Fort Yellowstone was established at Mammoth Hot Springs.

4. Speaking of Yellowstone, it existed a full 20 years before Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming were officially granted statehood.

5. Even though the word Montana is derived from the Spanish word for mountain, it has the lowest elevation among the Rocky Mountain states. Its average elevation is only 3,400 feet.

6. The state's mountain crest lines and valleys were carved by glaciers during the last ice age, around 11,500 years ago. The terrain was originally rounded, whereas now it's rugged and concave.

7. The greatest temperature drop in the United States occurred in Browning, Montana, in January 1916. Within a day, a crisp 44 degrees plummeted to a staggering, deadly -56 degrees. And yeah, that’s Fahrenheit.

8. And extreme temperature changes go both ways—the biggest recorded temperature increase in a 24-hour period also occurred in Montana. On January 15, 1972, the temperature in Loma increased by 103 degrees, going from -54 to 49 degrees. Toasty! [PDF]

9. The duck-billed dinosaur, also known as Maiasaura peeblesorum, became Montana’s state fossil in 1985. 

10. Legendary paleontologist Jack Horner made a trip to Montana in 1978 after the duck-billed dinosaur fossils were discovered. The following year, 3/4 of a mile from where the original duck-billed dinosaurs were discovered, one of his volunteers found the first dinosaur eggs at Egg Mountain. The fossilized remnants of babies in nests was the first real evidence that dinosaurs—most likely the mothers—cared for their offspring.

11. Jeannette Rankin of Missoula, Montana, was the first woman to serve in the United States Congress. In 1916, she was instrumental in passing the 19th Amendment, giving women throughout the country the right to vote.

12. During a snowstorm in Fort Keogh, Montana, in 1887, a ranch owner named Matt Coleman found the largest snowflake ever documented. It was 15 inches wide and 8 inches thick. He described the snowflake as being “larger than milk pans.” Pictures, or it didn’t happen!

13. Most of Montana was acquired through the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. But the first attempt at a real settlement happened in 1841, when missionaries built St. Mary’s Mission. However, the distinction of Montana's oldest populated town goes to Fort Benton along the Missouri River, which was settled by the American Fur Company in 1846.

14. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark Expedition discovered Giant Springs, one of the largest freshwater springs in the United States. In fact, it’s so big that 156 million gallons of water flow through the springs each day. Despite its colossal size, this area is also where you can find Roe River, which was once considered the shortest river in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records.

15. There’s a lot of open space in Montana. So much so that 46 of Montana’s 56 counties are known as frontier counties. That means they have an average population of six people or fewer per square mile.

6 Protective Mask Bundles You Can Get On Sale

pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus
pinkomelet/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Daily life has changed immeasurably since the onset of COVID-19, and one of the ways people have had to adjust is by wearing protective masks out in public places, including in parks and supermarkets. These are an essential part of fighting the spread of the virus, and there are plenty of options for you depending on what you need, whether your situation calls for disposable masks to run quick errands or the more long-lasting KN95 model if you're going to work. Check out some options you can pick up on sale right now.

1. Cotton Face Masks; $20 for 4

Protective Masks with Patterns.
Triple7Deals

This four-pack of washable cotton face masks comes in tie-dye, kids patterns, and even a series of mustache patterns, so you can do your part to mask germs without also covering your personality.

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2. CE- and FDA-Approved KN95 Mask; $50 for 10

A woman putting on a protective mask.
BetaFresh

You’ve likely heard about the N95 face mask and its important role in keeping frontline workers safe. Now, you can get a similar model for yourself. The KN95 has a dual particle layer, which can protect you from 99 percent of particles in the air and those around you from 70 percent of the particles you exhale. Nose clips and ear straps provide security and comfort, giving you some much-needed peace of mind.

Buy it: $50 for 10 (50 percent off)

3. Three-Ply Masks; $13 for 10

Woman wearing a three-ply protective mask.
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These three-ply, non-medical, non-woven face masks provide a moisture-proof layer against your face with strong filtering to keep you and everyone around you safe. The middle layer filters non-oily particles in the air and the outer layer works to block visible objects, like droplets.

Buy it: $13 for 10 (50 percent off)

4. Disposable masks; $44 for 50

A batch of disposable masks.
Odash, Inc.

If the thought of reusing the same mask from one outing to the next makes you feel uneasy, there’s a disposable option that doesn’t compromise quality; in fact, it uses the same three-layered and non-woven protection as other masks to keep you safe from airborne particles. Each mask in this pack of 50 can be worn safely for up to 10 hours. Once you're done, safely dispose of it and start your next outing with a new one.

Buy it: $44 for 50 (41 percent off)

5. Polyester Masks; $22 for 5

Polyester protective masks.
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These masks are a blend of 95 percent polyester and 5 percent spandex, and they work to block particles from spreading in the air. And because they're easily compressed, they can travel with you in your bag or pocket, whether you're going to work or out to the store.

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6. Mask Protector Cases; $15 for 3

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You're going to need to have a stash of masks on hand for the foreseeable future, so it's a good idea to protect the ones you’ve got. This face mask protector case is waterproof and dust-proof to preserve your mask as long as possible.

Buy it: $15 for three (50 percent off)

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8 Things to Know About Crispus Attucks

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Crispus Attucks was the first person killed in the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770—and became known as the first fatality in the fight for American independence. In a poem memorializing the massacre, poet John Boyle O'Reilly wrote, "Call it riot or revolution, or mob or crowd, as you may, such deaths have been seed of nations." Attucks was America's first seed.

1. Crispus Attucks may have escaped slavery.

We have few facts about Attucks's early life. According to Mitch Kachun, author of First Martyr of Liberty: Crispus Attucks in American Memory, Attucks was born in Framingham, Massachusetts, likely around the year 1723. Newspaper accounts following the Boston Massacre described him as "a Molatto." His father is said to have been an enslaved African man named Prince Yonger, while his mother was likely named Nancy Attucks and was of Natick or Wampanoag heritage.

Attucks may have been enslaved and escaped servitude in 1750. That year the Boston Gazette ran an ad offering 10 pounds to anybody who apprehended "'a Molatto fellow, about 27 Years of Age, named Crispas,' who 'ran away from his Master, William Brown, of Framingham,'" Kachun writes. "Crispas" was also described as being "'6 Feet two Inches high, [with] short curl'd hair, his Knees nearer together than common.'"

2. Crispus Attucks became a whaler.

Attucks is thought to have joined the crew of a Nantucket whaling ship and worked as a harpooner. He went by the alias "Michael Johnson," perhaps to avoid being sent back into slavery. (A newspaper reporting the massacre refers to him as a "mulatto man named Johnson" [PDF].) At the time of the massacre, Attucks had been planning to stay in Massachusetts only briefly. He had just returned from a voyage to the Bahamas and was preparing to set sail for North Carolina.

3. Crispus Attucks arrived in Boston at a tumultuous time.

The Stamp Act of 1765 required that residents pay taxes on paper goods—from playing cards to magazines to stationery—imported to the British colonies. Colonists resented taxation without representation and riots became widespread. The Townshend Acts, which taxed even more types of goods, followed in 1767 and exacerbated the colonists' anger. The Sons of Liberty, a secret group of American businessmen, organized a yearlong boycott of British imports. To quell the uprising, the British government sent several thousand troops into Boston, a city of 15,000 residents. Just days before the Boston Massacre occurred, a brawl broke out between British soldiers and the city's ropemakers.

4. The Boston Massacre was sparked by a dispute over a barber bill.

Boston Massacre print by Paul Revere
Detail of "The Bloody Massacre" by Paul Revere
Paul Revere, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

On March 5, 1770, a young boy began complaining that a British officer had failed to pay his barber bill. (The officer denied this.) When a British sentry began harassing the boy, a crowd of colonists—including Attucks—gathered at Boston's Dock Square and began harassing the officer in return. British reinforcements arrived. Tensions escalated. The colonists began tossing snowballs, pebbles, and wood at the soldiers. Suddenly, gunshots rang out. Six colonists were wounded, and another five died. Attucks is believed to have been the first to fall.

5. Nobody knows exactly what Crispus Attucks did during the altercation.

Some witnesses claimed that Attucks was the leading protestor and attacked the soldiers with a piece of wood. Others say he was simply watching, leaning on a stick. Regardless of his actions, two bullets ricocheted and lodged in Attucks's chest, killing him instantly.

6. The funeral for Crispus Attucks attracted thousands of mourners.

Attucks, along with the four other victims—Samuel Gray, James Caldwell, Samuel Maverick, and Patrick Carr—were buried at Boston's Granary Burying Ground. The funeral procession attracted up to 10,000 people. As one contemporary wrote, "A greater number of persons assembled on this occasion, than ever before gathered on this continent for a similar purpose."

7. John Adams called Crispus Attucks the massacre's instigator.

Every British soldier involved faced the prospect of hanging, and John Adams—later America's second president—was tasked with defending them. During his defense, Adams claimed that the soldiers were acting in self-defense and called the protestors "a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and molattoes, Irish teagues, and outlandish jack tarrs. And why we should scruple to call such a set of people a mob, I can't conceive, unless the name is too respectable for them." Adams claimed that Attucks was the instigator. The argument worked: nobody was convicted of murder. (Two soldiers were, however, convicted of manslaughter. As punishment, their thumbs were branded with the letter M.)

8. Crispus Attucks was later hailed as a patriotic hero.

Boston Massacre monument
The Boston Massacre monument commemorates Crispus Attucks and four other victims.

The public outcry after the massacre forced the British troops to temporarily withdraw from the city and caused Adams to lose half of his law practice. Three weeks after the massacre, Paul Revere made and distributed a print depicting the event; today, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History calls the illustration "probably the most effective piece of war propaganda in American history." In Boston, March 5 became a day of remembrance. According to abolitionist and historian William Wells Brown, "The anniversary of this event was publicly commemorated in Boston, by an oration and other exercises, every year until after our national independence was achieved, when the Fourth of July was substituted for the fifth of March." More than a century after the event, in 1888, a massive monument was erected at Boston Common to commemorate Crispus Attucks and the four other men who died. It, and the location of the massacre, are now prominent locations on Boston's Freedom Trail.