Custer County Historical Society Donating Map to Blaine County

Custer County Historical Society Donating Map to Blaine County
The 1940 map of Halsey National Forest.

BROKEN BOW – The Custer County Historical Society will be presenting quite the fitting artifact to their neighbors in Blaine County: a map of Halsey National Forest from November 1940.

Historical Society curator Tammy Hendrickson calls the gift a gesture of goodwill between the two counties’ historical societies.

“It’s a neighborly share. What we get, we take in and preserve that way, and make it available to everyone, and that’ll be something to share.”

The map was donated a couple of months ago by a family who lived near the forest; Hendrickson says her society is always grateful to be considered by families looking to thin their possessions.

Custer County Historical Society’s Tammy Hendrickson shuffles through the map case in search of the newest addition.

“The map was one of those things they didn’t feel they needed to keep as an heirloom. So many people, I’m sure, would just throw it in the trash, but this was a piece that was in good condition, and made sense to get it to the right place. Some people would give something like this to Goodwill or something, but what would Goodwill do with this?”

The gift comes at a fitting time, of course: the recent Bovee Fire has many in Blaine County and beyond feeling nostalgic for the way the forest was, and such a map provides that comfort, even if it won’t help the trees grow back overnight.

Included on the map are the original nursery demarcation lines, firebreaks, and campsites, most of which, like Whitetail and Natick, are still in operation. Carved out on the map is a very clear-cut, bold square, and in all capital letters reads the word “Bovee.”

The now-infamous Bovee from 1940.

Hendrickson says the artifact is interesting because it could potentially help bridge the recorded historical gap between Blaine County and the Forest Service.

“It would be interesting if the county did have something like this. The Forest might have that in their archives that would have been protected in this last month, but we don’t know. Dunning has only recently started in their different things, and I don’t know if they have a map cabinet or not.”

This is not the first object that Hendrickson and the society have doled out to neighbors; she says sharing history is part of the organization’s mission.

“The historical society is the one that brought the map in, so with that, we always try to say: ‘If it doesn’t fit necessarily here, we want to make sure it gets to the other areas where it does.’”

As of this report, it remains to be seen whether Blaine County will take the original map or a digital copy.