Past Fall Tours

2015 - Great Falls, Montana

2015 SIA Fall Tour, Great Falls, Montana, October 9 – 10, 2015.

Organizers of the tour wereFred Quivik (editor of IA), Brian Shovers (president of the Klepetko Chapter of the SIA), and Ellen Sievert (Great Falls’ historic preservation officer).

The O’Haire Motor Inn in downtown Great Falls was the conference hotel.

About the Area

Montana’s second-largest city, Great Falls owes its prominence to a series of falls along the Missouri River that impeded Lewis & Clark’s upstream expedition in 1805 and then, once the Great Northern Railroad reached the territory in the 1880s, became the power source on which boosters built their vision for an industrial future. The Fall Tour visited a variety of operations that have developed around that industrial base.

During the twentieth century, the Montana Power Company developed five hydroelectric generating stations along the Great Falls of the Missouri River, one at Black Eagle Falls, right in the City of Great Falls, and four downstream. Participants of the Fall Tour saw two of them: Rainbow, built in 1910, and Ryan, built in 1915. Other tours included the Minuteman missile training simulator at Malmstrom Air Base, an airliner refurbishing company at the Great Falls Airport, and ADF, a fabricator of large steel structures.

Prior to the arrival of railroads to Montana, steamboat navigation on the Missouri River provided Montana Territory’s main transportation link to states east of the Mississippi, and Fort Benton, about forty miles downstream of Great Falls, was the head of steamboat navigation. The Saturday itinerary included a trip to Fort Benton to see the historical fort site and the Montana Agricultural Center (an impressive agricultural museum, and lunch on the 1889 Fort Benton bridge, the first bridge in Montana to cross the Missouri and the first bridge of iron or steel to be built in the state.

The early-bird tour on Thursday, October 8, visited Helena, Montana’s capital city. The tour included stops at a Boeing facility, a cement plant, and the Archie Bray Foundation, a ceramic arts educational institution that owns the remains of the Western Clay Manufacturing Company, which was featured in Vol. 37 (2011) of IA.

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Western Clay Manufacturing Company, located at the Archie Bray Foundation, Helena.  This is one of the sites we’ll be seeing on the optional Thursday tour.

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Rainbow Powerhouse: built just below Rainbow Falls in 1910, this hydroelectric generating station was originally built to supply electrical power to the copper mines at Butte and to the Anaconda smelter.

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Interior of the Rainbow Powerhouse: each generator in this facility is driven by a pair of horizontal-shaft turbines.

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Interior of the Ryan Powerhouse: this powerhouse features vertical-shaft turbine-generator units.

2014 - Southern, Indiana

October 5 (Sunday) to October 8 (Wednesday), 2014

About Tour

2013 - Rockford, IL

September 26-29, 2013

Rockford Illinois

Select on image to enlarge
Library of Congress image: Bird’s eye view of the City of Rockford, Ill, 1880
G4104.R7A3 1880.S7

About Tour

Photographs from tour

2012 - Utica, NY including Rome, Mohawk Valley & Adirondacks

2011 - The Last Green Valley - Quinebaug River in MA and CT

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October 13-16, 2011

About Tour

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2010 - Vermont

September 16-19, 2010

2009 - Rosendale, NY

October 13-16, 2009

2008 - Chattanooga, TN

October 15-19, 2008

2007 - Ely, NV

Septmeber 27-30, 2007

2006 - Youngstown, Ohio

September 27, October 1, 2006

2005 - Detroit, MI

September 29-October 2, 2005

2004 - Willmington, DE

October 13-17, 2004

2003 - Northeast Montana

September 25-28, 2003

2002 - Lehigh Valley, PA

October 17, 20, 2002

2001 - Syracuse, NY

October 11-14, 2001

2000 - Sarnia, Ontario, Canada - Ontario Oil District, Petrolia)

October 19-22, 2000

1999 - Birmingham, AL

November 3-7, 1999

1998 - Central Connecticut River Valley

September 30 to October 4, 1998

1997 - Alexandria, LA

October 2-5, 1997

1996 - Central Ohio

September 26-29, 1996

1995 - Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Canada

October 4-8, 1995

1994 - Madison, IN

1993 - Concord, NH

October 1-3, 1993

1992 - South Florida

November 5-9, 1992

1991 - Deadwood, SD

October 9-12, 1991

1990 - Williamsport, PA

October 25-28, 1990

1989 - Butte, MT

October 12-15, 1989

1988 - Easton, PA

September 15-18, 1988

1987 - Pine Barrens, NJ

September 10-13, 1987

1986 - New England Coast

October 2-5, 1986

1985 - Birmingham, AL

October 12-14, 1985

1984 - Niagara Falls

1983 - Colorado

October 13-15, 1983

1982 - Maine Coast

September 23-25, 1982

1981 - Michigan Upper Peninsula

October 8-11, 1981

1980 - Winston-Salem, NC

Septermber 26-28, 1980

1979 - Pennsylvania Anthracite Region

October 13-15, 1979

1978 - Rhode Island

October 29-30, 1978

1977 - Martha's Vineyard, MA

1977

1976 - Passaic Valley, NJ

October 23-24, 1976

1975 - Toronto & Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

September 27-28, 1975

1974 - Lehigh Valley, PA

1974

1973 - Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada

September 22-23, 1973

1972 - Quinebaug & Blackstone Valleys, MA & RI

October 1972