DEER LODGE — The Deer Lodge Historic Preservation Commission will host The Mullan Road Conference on May 19 through 21 at the Rialto Theatre and Masonic Temple.
To attend, register online at historicdeerlodgemt.com/2017-mullan-road-conference or by contacting Shana at the Old Prison Museum, 406-846-3111. Cost of the conference is $95; single-day admission is available. Registration deadline for the Saturday night dinner is May 15, and the bus for the field trip is limited to the first 40 people.
Saturday’s program will include a number of subjects related to the Mullan Road survey and construction, labor force, mapping of historic routes, statues and their repair, and information about the Yellowstone Trail and a talk by noted Montana adventure and exploration author Peter Stark.
Tara Foote, a graduate student from Eastern Washington University, will speak about her work on the procedures needed to achieve National Trail designation for the Mullan Road.
A presentation about the American Fork along the Mullan Road will be part of the Saturday evening reception and dinner.
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A field trip on Sunday will take participants to American Fork (Gold Creek) and Drummond. Lunch will be served.
The Mullan Road was the first wagon road to cross the Rocky Mountains to the Inland Northwest and was built to meet the need of moving military personnel and supplies.
On March 15, 1858, the War Department issued orders for construction of a road, and Army Lt. John Mullan, 2d Artillery, was given the order to explore, locate, and construct the military road from Fort Walla-Walla on the Columbia River in Washington Territory to Fort Benton on the upper Missouri river in Dakota Territory — a task that took from March 1858 to September 1862.
Local points along the Mullan Road in Powell County include Elliston, Deer Lodge, and Gold Creek (American Fork). A monument commemorating the Mullan Road and Lt. John Mullan is located on the courthouse lawn at the corner of Missouri and Fourth St. in Deer Lodge.
Portions of the Mullan Road, which approximately follows modern-day Interstate 15 and Interstate 90 through Montana, Idaho, and Washington, can still be traveled.