IMAGE FOR A DETAILED VIEW
A. Broadwater's Engraved 1880 Gorham Flask
- Persimmon Motif -
owner writes: This is Charles' flask. It was
verified to be at his deathbed in the hotel. It
was given to Broadwater by his good friend and
longtime business associate Cornelius
John McNamara in 1880, upon the successful
completion of their U. S. Army supply contract
Maginnis, Fergus County, Montana.
flask was to have been buried with Broadwater,
but at the last moment his widow, Julia, gave
the flask to McNamara as a keepsake. McNamara's
descendants recall that in later years, he would
hold the flask and speak lovingly about his old
Sterling silver souvenir spoon depicting the natatorium
by Joseph Mayer and Brothers, Seattle, Washington
ON THE SPOON FOR A DETAILED VIEW
plate depicting the natatorium
ON THE PLATE FOR A DETAILED VIEW
from the Broadwater Saloon. The
location of this enterprise is unknown to me at this time,
but perhaps it was on Broadwater Avenue, just east of the
Natatorium. There were several derelict wooden false-front
buildings standing there well into the 1960s, and digs in
the immediate area have produced whisky and champagne bottles.
area immediately north of the natatorium - before
are the Broadwater carriage-house, several modest commercial
structures with false fronts, and a large Victorian
home on the opposite bank of Ten Mile Creek. Note that
neither Williams Street (the road to Fort Harrison) or
iron pony-truss bridge over Ten Mile yet exists. The
bridge is scheduled to be replaced
in 2007, but may find another home.
The tract of land that the home is on was called Seymer
Park or the Seymer Addition (also referenced as Seymour
Park). It was planned by developer John Seymer as an enclave
of wealthy homes. Unfortunately, the economic Panic of
1893 curtailed those plans, and only a few such homes
were built. The one pictured above is still standing.
PROGRAM TO VIEW
from the commemoration celebration of the completion of
The Montana Central Railway to Helena. Held
Monday Nov. 21, 1887 at the Ming Opera House in
Many dignitaries, including James J. Hill, were in attendance.
Musical entertainment was provided by the Maj. R. H. Hendershot,
known as "The Drummer Boy of the Rappahannock".
wasn't exactly what he claimed to be.
Hotel robbed by noted outlaw Thomas Blanck. On
August 18, 1894, aided by an accomplice, the psychopathic
killer and robber Thomas Blanck held up the bartender
at the Broadwater Hotel. Taking $150 from the cash drawer,
Blanck scared away several patrons who had entered the
barroom while the robbery was in progress.
was followed and a fight ensued. Blanck lost most
of his clothing in the fight, but managed to escape. He
then robbed an old man of his clothing while on the road
toward Marysville, Montana. Once in Marysville, Blanck
robbed a bartender of about $150. He would kill four more
men before being hunted down and shot to death near Kent,
Washington in 1895.
Twain visits the Broadwater - 1895.
From left: Mrs. Henry Ward Beecher, U.
S. Senator Wilbur Fiske Sanders and Samuel Clemens
(Mark Twain) -
Union Depot, Helena Montana, Aug. 5, 1895.
Twain's world lecture tour of 1895-96 was
a necessity because of his accumulated debts from failed
investments. Twain sailed around the world on a lecture
tour that took him across the U.S. to Canada, the Sandwich
Islands, New Zealand, Australia, India and South Africa
before completing the tour in England. This whirlwind
tour not only got him out of debt but it also resulted
in his last travel book, Following the Equator.
and his small entourage arrived in Helena by rail on Aug.
3 1895, after lecturing in Butte and Anaconda. They
stayed at the Hotel
Helena, which was on Grand St., just around the corner
from the Ming
Opera House, where Twain spoke that evening. He was
fêted at the Montana
Club after his lecture.
rested in Helena the following day. This from promoter
J. B. Pond's diary of the visit:
lay around on the floor of his room all day reading and
writing in his notebook and smoking. In the gloaming Dr.
Cole, with his trotters, drove Mark and Mrs. Clemens out
to Broadwater, four miles. The heat gave way to a delicious
balmy breeze that reinvigorated everybody. How delightful
are these summer evenings in the Rocky Mountains!"
if anything, Clemens and his party did at the Broadwater
McKinley's planned visit to the Broadwater cancelled.
In May of 1901,
an extensive clean-up and renovation of the Broadwater
Hotel began in anticipation of a visit from President
William McKinley. The main event was to have been a dinner
for the President given by Helena mining magnate Thomas
Cruse. The cleanup had beeen in progress for several days
when word was received that the trip was cancelled due
to the illness of McKinley's wife. Thus, the planned upgrades
were never carried out.
Hotel Company stock, 1920. Charles B.
Power organized this company in 1920 in an attempt to
save the decaying resort. The company built a row of tourist
cabins on the grounds west of the hotel in hopes of attracting
automobile travelers. This was unsuccessful, and the BHC
assumed full ownership and closed the hotel. He sealed
off the dining room from the rest of the building, and
for 17 years operated a restaurant in that space.
1931 Radio Drama Set in the Hotel Broadwater
Studio D of NBC, Chicago -- Configured for "The Empire
1929-31, the Great Northern Railroad sponsored the twice-weekly
30-minute radio program "The Empire Builders",
a dramatic anthology focusing on the tales of passengers
on the Empire Builder, Great Northern's crack train on
the Chicago-to-Seattle run. Produced at the NBC studios
in Chicago, the cast featured regulars Lucille Husting,
Don Ameche and Harvey Hays.
Although these programs were produced and broadcast live,
some air-check recordings were made. In the 1980s, nine
such recordings were discovered in the corporate archives
of the Great Northern Railroad. Unfortunately, the June
8, 1931 episode featuring the Broadwater Hotel - "Room
29" - is not among them, and is thought to be lost.
A brief synopsis of the plot survives:
"In Helena, the Monte Carlo of the gold rush days,
Benny Plot, an amateur detective, and his bride Margie
clear the name of an uncle who was involved in a tragedy
in 'Room 29' in the 'nineties. They succeed only after
a harrowing experience. Principal roles will be played
by Harvey Hays, the Old Timer, Don Ameche as Benny Plot
and Lucille Husting as Margie".
Presented here for those who would like to hear one of
these broadcasts, is the Feb. 2, 1931 episode of "The
Empire Builders", which is a retelling of the first
broadcast in the series, presented in 1929. It is a dramatization
of the life of James J. Hill, founder of the Great Northern,
and business partner of Charles A. Broadwater. MP3 format,
running time approximately 30 minutes. The sound quality
is poor in places, but that it has survived at all is
a wonder. Click
here to download.
Liberty Ship named for Charles Broadwater, but only for a short
A TYPICAL LIBERTY
Charles A. Broadwater
was built by the Oregon Shipbuilding Co., Portland, Oregon
in 1943. It
was a 7,252 gross ton cargo ship, length 441.8ft x beam
57ft, one funnel, three masts, single screw, speed 10 knots.
It was launched as the Charles A. Broadwater,
but completed for the British Ministry of War Transport
as the Samthar. It
was managed by the Royal Mail Lines until 1947, when
she was purchased by Royal Mail and renamed Barranca.
In 1957 she was sold to Soc. Anon. di Nav. Corrado, Genoa,
Italy, and renamed Cesco Corrado. In July 1967, she
was scrapped at Spezia, Italy.
Lithograph of the Broadwater - 1890
CLICK ON IT FOR A LARGER IMAGE
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS