Monday, November 10, 2008


Recently I got an email from someone who lived in the cottage long ago, before we moved it from where it was originally built. She obviously has some great memories from the working cattle ranch she grew up on and the cottage she called home so many years ago. In her own words,

"When I think of when we lived there, we didn't have indoor plumbing and look at it now. I remember the big Christmas parties mom and dad would have. The good china and dishes came out and they always had homemade Tom And Jerry's.

I know daddy and another guy....Tony something or other (
Papish) built it in 1937 the year mom and dad were married. Paul Rigler remembers it and he thinks it only took about 8 months to build.

I found out about your house through an old high school friend in Billings. She had gone to a wedding (
at Chico Hot Springs) and the brides mother had rented your cottage, so on a whim I looked up vacation rentals in the Chico area and there you were." Ceil from Prescott, Arizona

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

This Time of Year

Fall at the cottage means:

  • fall flowers

  • apples

  • yellow. yellow grass, yellow trees, yellow bushes

  • snow dusting the tops of the mountains

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

New Photos from Lindsay!

Go check out some new pictures of Emigrant Creek from Lindsay Wright Photography. She takes some amazing shots and the creek is very photogenic!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Patchwork Garage

One attraction in Old Chico is the License Plate Garage. In the 1940's, Lundy Counts built the garage and paid kids five cents for each license plate they brought him. Soon, he had enough to cover his garage. Over the years, some plates have been taken while others have replaced the missing. The result is a perfectly patch worked building.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What's in a name?

Why the Old Chico Cottage? The name comes from the tiny settlement where the cottage sits which was once a mining town. Many families were able to make it here during the Great Depression mining for gold, my mother's family being one of them. The original name for the town was Yellowstone City, but as the town moved further up the creek for protection from Indians, the name changed to what it is currently known by locals, Old Chico.

Chico because, as local historians say, there was a little fellow named Chico who used the hot springs to wash his dirty duds. I am sure most of the miners in town used the hot springs for that, but the man named Chico must have been unusual and the name stuck.

{One of a few old buildings still standing in Old Chico}

The Roosevelt Arch

Gardiner, Montana was one of the first tourist entries into Yellowstone National Park. In 1903, the railroad came all the way into Gardiner and people entered the park through the enormous arch we now know as the Roosevelt Arch. Roosevelt because Teddy was visiting the park when the construction started on the arch and he placed the first cornerstone. The top of the arch is inscribed with the words, "For the benefit and enjoyment of the people." The arch is still intact today and in great shape.

{Photo by Lindsay Wright Photography}

Gardiner also includes other historic sites such as: the Engineer's office, designed in 1903 by Hiram Chittenden of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Scottish Rite Chapel, 1913; Capitol Hill, former site of Superintendent Norris' headquarters blockhouse; Kite Hill cemetery, 1880s, containing graves of early settlers and employees; Reamer House, designed in 1908 by well-known architect Robert Reamer, an example of Prairie-style architecture; Haynes Picture Shop, photographic studio used by the Haynes family; old roads, railroad beds, bridges; and historic structures in Gardiner.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


A view of the boardwalks and the Mammoth hotel and buildings.

Mammoth Hot Springs is located just inside the Park from the North Entrance. It takes about fifteen minutes to drive there from Gardiner, Montana. Mammoth is unique in that the hot water dissolves limestone under the ground then deposits it on the surface when it evaporates to make these delicate limestone travertine terraces. Really quite beautiful.

Mammoth also has wonderful boardwalks to hike and enjoy the different formations. It is a great way to get out of the car and stretch tired legs.

View the live web cam of the Mammoth area.

Day trip to Yellowstone

Friday we had a day trip into Yellowstone and went to the Boiling River (a must for all vacationers) and the Mammoth Terraces.

The Boiling River is a !hot! spring (130 degrees F) that dumps into the Gardner River. There are pools made from stacked rocks where the hot and cold waters meet and is very enjoyable to swim in. These are located just inside the Park between the North Entrance and Mammoth. Parking is available on both sides of the road.

More about the Mammoth Terraces in the next post.

Guest Comments

Some wonderful comments by a family in 2006. I love the letter from Erin. So cute!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Guest Comment, 2006

These guests were very nice people that must have ran into my dad somewhere on the creek. Mom and Dad's house and where I grew up is near the cottage.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

From Sheep Sheds to Furniture

I really like the rustic furniture in the Sundance catalog, but lets be honest and ask, "Who can afford those prices for an end table?" My wonderful and talented husband had a solution! They were tearing down the old sheep sheds at a neighboring ranch and it was full of great, rustic wood. Here is the result:
He also made a tv stand, a bench, and a vanity all with the same beautiful Doug Fir that was harvested locally and used to build the sheep sheds sixty years ago.

Monday, July 28, 2008


I love this floor. It is the original fir floor that was through the entire house. There were many holes for vents, no floor where there were walls and some damage. So, I ripped up the entire thing and we laid the good stuff back down in the living room, dining room and kitchen. On part of the wood there was a horrible linoleum glue we had to get off and some of the floor had been under carpet for years and years. The end result is a beautiful floor with some character and scars. I love having a piece of the old house with all the new things we have done here.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Water, Water Everywhere.

The cottage finally has a sprinkler system, which will save on energy and some time on my part. This upgrade will ensure everything is watered properly and I should not lose many more bushes to lack of water! The lawn is actually a drought tolerant mix of yarrow, roman chamomile, clover, rye grass and fine fescue, so it requires quite a bit less water than a conventional lawn. I mail ordered the mix from Nichols Garden Nursery . The dryland ecology mix is for this zone and they offer many other options for other parts of the country. I love the feathery, soft look and do not mind the occasional, dare I say it, dandelion.

Here is another guest comment I received by email from the same people that I posted about yesterday.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Guest Comment

July 2006

These were some of our first guests and they came back the next year for the week of Thanksgiving.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New to me

We became the proud owners of the cottage in November of 2004. Immediately we began destruction/construction and two years later, we were ready for our first guests. The time into the project was well worth it and we have loved staying there and sharing with others.
Over the next few posts I would like to show some of the adventure that remodeling this old house has been.
Thanks for coming over!