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National Grant Helps Preserve History At Bannack State Park

Montana State Parks

Wed Dec 31 00:00:00 MST 2008

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks recently received a $194,500 "Save America’s Treasures" grant to complete restoration work on several historic buildings at Bannack State Park, Montana's first territorial capital.

"Save America's Treasures is a competitive and important federal grant," said Charles Van Genderen, acting administrator for Montana's State Parks. "Each project is chosen to protect and preserve vital aspects of our nation’s historic and cultural legacy. FWP is honored to be among the 2008 award recipients."

The federal Save America’s Treasures program is one of the largest and most successful grant programs for the protection of the nation’s endangered cultural heritage. Grants are available for preservation and conservation work on nationally significant cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites.

 The historic mining town of Bannack, located 25 miles west of Dillon, is a designated National Historic Landmark, a prerequisite to qualify for Save America’s Treasures funds, which are distributed by the National Park Service.

"We're very pleased to see Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks receive this national support for historic preservation at Bannack." said Mark Baumler, Montana State historic preservation officer. "We look forward to continue to work closely with FWP to help ensure that the important historic resources of Bannack are preserved."

For 2008, Save America’s Treasures received 221 grant applications from eligible federal agencies; state, local, and tribal governments; and nonprofit organizations. Two panels of federal experts representing preservation and conservation disciplines reviewed the applications and made final recommendations to the Secretary of Interior on how to distribute $10.5 million in funding. Montana's Bannack State Park was among only 40 projects awarded grants.

 To be successful, applicants must also have access to nonfederal matching funds. Van Genderen said Montana's matching funds were provided by the 2007 Montana Legislature, which provided $500,000 to assist with the stabilization of some of Bannack’s 50 historic buildings.

"It's heartening to know that others recognize how important these projects are to Montana's heritage and to our local communities," Van Genderen said. "The stabilization of Bannack's historic buildings will keep one of the earliest historic mining towns on the Western American frontier intact for future generations to enjoy. We deeply appreciate the National Park Service’s—and the Montana Legislature's—support in helping to complete this project," Van Genderen said.

Sara Scott, FWP’s historic resources program manager, said the Save America's Treasures funding will be used to level floors and plaster interior walls at the 114-year-old Meade Hotel; and to stabilize Kepler’s Cabin, the Marge Griffith Residence, and the historic Parsonage, all log structures built in the late 1800s.

“Part of the beauty of historic preservation is that you use the same materials early miners employed when they constructed these buildings," Scott said. "Maintaining the historic integrity of these buildings is paramount to FWP's efforts at Bannack.” 

Stabilization work at Bannack will be completed over the next 18 months.  For more information about Bannack State Park, visit FWP's Web site at Click "State Parks" for the "Visit A State Park" link. Information about the Save America’s Treasures Program can be found online at