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Heron is Hopping!

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Bill and Lois Berry in the museum with Susan Compton Bill and Lois Berry in the museum with Susan Compton

There's an awful lot going on in this community on the river


The day after the Autumn Equinox the community of Heron, Montana, gathered to celebrate their bounty. The first thing that folks saw as they entered the old Heron School was a new, handcrafted sign down the hall that said Welcome.

Welcome is the overall theme of Heron and the eclectic population who somehow, together, have woven a beautiful, homespun community that continues to thrive.   

Heron is a fascinating town nestled along the Clark Fork River. Originally, it was a stop way for the train, complete with a roundhouse. The little town boasted a 35-room hotel along with 18 saloons. The trains stopped here for restocking of their dining cars from the gardeners in the area, which, at that time, was provided by a group of over 300 Chinese immigrants. Due to a water shortage for the trains, the rail division point was eventually moved to Hope, Idaho along with the hotel perched on a flat car. Ever since her “hey day” Heron has lost most of her buildings and grandeur, but none of her spirit.

The gardening tradition has remained a vital part of the Heron Community for over 130 years. At the Fall Into Fun Celebration, the Heron Food and Garden Co-Op was represented with a grand display of home canned goods and crafts. This Co-Op has been going since 1976 and is a non-profit group who has shared equipment from a flour mill and meat grinder to a cider press and soil test kit. New members are always welcome and are encouraged. The Co-Op is just one of the many examples how Heron is an area where people still help each other.

Last spring, through the efforts of many generous donations, both private and corporate, the Heron Library was able to almost double its shelving. The re-arrangement has made a more welcoming library environment and one that is kid friendly. The library is another non-profit facility and operates with volunteers.  This dedicated group of individuals has extended their hours for patrons by opening one evening a week so that it can be accessed by students and working people alike. Again, they welcome and are looking for more volunteers. The Heron Library has two computers and a Wi-Fi hook up.

Just down the hall from the Library is Heron’s newest member—the gym! Again through hard work, community support and many generous donations, Heron has an active gym with new and modern equipment. They have both day and evening sessions and a busy schedule of activities.    

Outside, where once was a schoolyard, now is basketball, tetherball and volleyball. The Healthy Community Center also has beginning Yoga, Senior Stretch classes, Zumba Dancing and Body Sculpting.

My next stop on this fine day was to walk over to what was once the Heron School Gym. 

There, members of the now (in)famous Heron Players were sojourning about the crowd, in costume, selling popcorn and DVDs of their past accomplishments. They also were raffling off a cord of wood to raise money. Sam Baylor, another helpful Heron resident was the happy winner.  

Heron’s drama group has actually helped keep the entire facility going with their twice-yearly dinner plays and events like the wood raffle. Since their inception in 1995 the Heron Players have put on 34 original shows. 

You can’t have drama without mention of Shakespeare and he too was represented.  Heron has a great reputation among the thespians who come the third Saturday in August each year to do Shakespeare in the Park. This year’s performance will be a rousing rendition of Hamlet.

It goes without saying that this small community, which boasts 4-H activities, adult education, senior dinners, drama, health and a library can feed your mind, your soul and your body. There is even Bingo on the first and third Wednesday of each month. New faces are not just welcome they are encouraged.   

Each time we lose a business in Heron, we band together to fill the hole. The old post office wasn’t destroyed, it was moved next to what was once a teacheridge. And the teacheridge was once the Grand View School. Now it has changed hats again and is morphing into the Grand View Museum where Chinese pottery, photos of the river before the dam and an eclectic collection of pioneer memorabilia are displayed.   The museum was open this day only, but hopes to have regular hours in the spring.

There are too many names involved to start listing the hands who put this all together. We would be bound to miss someone of import. Below, though, is a list of people to contact if you are interested in joining a fun filled group of residents and expand not only yours but their horizons.

For Hours & More Information:

Heron Community Health Center is on  Facebook. You can reach them via email at heroncommunityhealthcenter(at)gmail.com or by phone at 406-847-2520

Heron Food Co-Op: Michelle Greiner  406-847-0100, Diane Mosley at 406-847-2024, or Lou Springer at 406-847-5594

Heron Library: Open Wednesday, 3:00  to 5:30 pm, Thursdays 11- 1 p.m.,  and Saturday 11-3 p.m.

4-H Meets 2nd Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m.

Adult Education: Quilting, Sewing, Yoga, Scrap booking etc. start the 2nd week in January.

Senior Dinners: Every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

For additional information you can go to: https://postingplace.com/HCC


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Author info

Kathleen Huntley

Tagged as:

Homepage, Headlines, Montana, Heron, gardening, Heron Players, Fall Fun Celebration, Heron Food and Garden Co-Op, Heron Library, Healthy Community Center, Montana Shakespeare in the Park, Grand View Museum

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