As we walked around this gianormous place, we found ourselves asking those questions. We also found some memories of our own that had been forgotten for a time. Scents and sounds, the feel of textures give our memories more place than we realize. J remembered his boyhood at the livestock auction owned by his stepdad. I was remembering the farm ~ the old machinery, the firehall... stirrings of hot summer days filled with laughter, and family were revived. We almost didn't want to speak for fear of losing the feelings - so we walked in hushed, companionable silence.
We marveled at the height and the fact that it was still standing though in disuse for so long. Almost every window had been broken. Deer and pigeons were making good use of it's adandon state, oblivious to the locks and bolts on the doors.
Our favorite areas of the place were the brick walls. Brick has so much character. If we ever build a home we'd love to do brick and stone. They seem so solid. So timeless.
Being in a melancholy state of mind after walking around the mill, we decided to continue our little adventure.
We stopped at the Spur Line trailhead and walked along the old railroad that used to be fed by the flour mill too. The river that ran directly up to the mill criss crossed the trail. We stopped to listen to it running over rocks and tree roots.
We followed Storymill road into town and found out it dumped us off almost at the church! We had seen an old railway station on our way in and so we turned off that direction to see if we could get up close. Before we got there we came across this beautiful old cigar sign. It was surrounded by some of the most beautiful landscaping I've seen in Bozeman. Thinking it was a store, we stopped to check it out.
What we got was an hour or 2 of stories. :o) Bob owns and the building, but it isn't a store. He and his partner own Mountain Man, which is a manufacturer of ski equipment for the handicapped. The sign and garden were a subtle tactic to keep the city from tearing down the historic building (and his business). The sign is original from the late 1800's. Bob had lived and worked in that location for 35 years or more and was full of tales to tell. J would ask a question and off he would run on rabbit trails like a hound dog with his nose to the ground. It was fabulous!After our visit with Bob, we did eventually wind up at the old station. It was almost anti-climactic. No one was there to regale us with stories of it's hey days. I hope to see inside of it some day. It would make a facinating train musuem or some other business, if it was restored.We went home chattering about all that we had learned and seen, about our own feelings and memories... we were full ~ and all we set out to do was get a coffee.