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Fort Connah helps keep history alive at annual rendezvous

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The historic Fort Connah, located about six miles north of St. Ignatius on U.S. Highway 93, opened for a history-filled weekend during their annual rendezvous.  

The trading post was established in 1846 during the fur trading era, when the post was originally open for business. The fort stands in an open field and consists of one remaining original building. Historians believe it to be the oldest standing building in Montana. Two additional log buildings were also moved to the site to replicate the original fort. Items that would have been used during the fur trading era, including a wooden cradle, children’s clothing, oil lamps and a cast iron pot filled the historic building. 

Activities that hearken back to the era included chuckwagon meals, carriage rides and Atlatl throwing. Wild animal skins were on display as were the old-time traps. Historians at the event dressed in time-era clothing and offered guided walks to the Angus McDonald Cemetery on site to honor the fort’s founder.  

Gil Mangels was wearing a black leather duster while showing folks his old black powder revolver. He also had an old rifle with a whole lot of story behind it. According to Mangels, the rifle was designed in 1864 and there were only 1,000 of them ever made. 

Preston Miller was also on hand to share stories. He wore an old fashioned top hat, talked about the trading post and answered questions anyone had while touring the fort. 

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