CSPAN: American History TV Will Air Billings History


Hosted by our Charter Communications cable partners, our Local Content Vehicles staff visited numerous locations to explore the history and literary culture of Montana’s Magic City. In addition to having the below pieces sprinkled in throughout the weekend on the respective networks, both AHTV and BOOK TV will have a block of programming where ALL of the respective Billings pieces for their networks will air October 5-6, 2013.

BOOK TV BILLINGS BLOCK: SATURDAY, October 5 at 12pm ET (Charter channel 14 in Billings)

AHTV BILLINGS BLOCK: SUNDAY, October 6 at 5pm ET (Charter channel 113 in Billings)


• Pictograph Cave State Park with Park Manager Jared Kostrba.  Excavations performed at the site in the late 1930s uncovered nearly 30,000 artifacts that gave insight into the lives of people who inhabited the area at least 9,000 years ago.  See the pictographs left behind by the Native Americans and today’s new cutting edge 3D mapping that’s helping recreate the site and how it looked before excavations.

• Pompey’s Pillar, the only site existing today that shows physical evidence of Lewis and Clarks’ expedition.  Climb the pillar to see the rock where William Clark signed his name more than 200 years ago. Site Manager Jeff Kitchens hikes to the top of Pompey’s Pillar to talk about why the site was so important to the growth of Billings. 

Learn about
• Frederick Billings—the city’s namesake and President of the Northern Pacific Railway from 1879 to 1881. Although he never owned a home in Billings, he played an important role for how downtown looks today. Hear Western Heritage Center Community Historian Kevin Kooistra talk about the life of Frederick Billings – a gold rush lawyer, a railroad magnate, and a conservationist.

• The History of Cowboys. See a modern day cattle drive and hear what life was like for early cowboys out on the prairies of Montana. Chas Weldon, Executive Director at the Yellowstone County Museum, shows the equipment necessary for survival, talks about some of the hardships that early cowboys faced, and explains how modern ranching has changed.
• Battle of the Little Bighorn Special Event  – Hear the stories of Custer’s last stand as the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry fought against the Sioux and Cheyenne. See the battlefield that looks almost as it did on June 25, 1876, and hear what happened that day from site interpreter Steve Adelson.

Hear about
• The life of Billings born suffragist and human rights activist Hazel Hunkins Hallinan. Western Heritage Center’s Kevin Kooistra talks about the activist who left Billings to join protests on the White House lawn and attracted national media attention for her role as a suffragette.  Hallinan continued to fight for civil rights throughout her life and at 87 years old, news reports called her Hazel the “hell-raiser.”  

• The Huntley Project Museum of Irrigated Agriculture.  Agriculture is the state’s largest industry. Hear Museum Director Melissa Koch talk about the impact of the Huntley Irrigation Project, how the system worked and why it was such a success in south central Montana.

• The Billings Public Library Bookmobile as it travels through rural Yellowstone County bringing books and other media to the residents who live in the rural areas of Billings.
• The stories of some the first visitors to Yellowstone National Park, as M. Mark Miller, author of “Adventures in Yellowstone”, reads the  letters recalling their encounters with bears and the first time they saw Old Faithful.

• Former Billings Gazette Book Editor Craig Lancaster discuss the literary culture of Billings.

• Crow Indian Poet Henry Real Bird talk about the history of the Crow Indian and the importance of preserving Indian history.

• The Battlefield at Little Big Horn with author Tim Lehman as he recounts the events of the battle and the emotion it still invokes today through his book “Bloodshed at Little Big Horn”.

Learn about
• The distribution of American mass culture from Montana State University Professor Bob Rydell author of”Buffalo Bill in Bologna: The Americanization of the World”

• “Fort Ellis”, a combination infantry and cavalry post built 3 miles east of Bozeman, Montana in 1867 from author Tom Rust. Its purpose was to protect the early settlers and miners from nearby Indian tribes.

For more information on the Local Content Vehicles tour of U.S. cities, go to www.c-span.org/localcontent.

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