Old Time Elegance
On November 28, 1905 the Milwaukee Road Board of Directors approved the the Pacific Extension to the West. 98 years later, a hot summer day finds Lavina, MT situated 1290 miles from Chicago out along the approved extension.
The remnants of that extension remain scattered on the ground at Lavina as the concrete signal base attests. But like the other miles and miles of this reach west, the grasses have overtaken and now blow gently in the breezes of a hot summer afternoon. No smell of baking creosote or hot ballast on this summer day. This little town is actually "New" Lavina after being moved to the present location when surveyors for the Milwaukee Road plotted the mainline through this part of Montana . The old town and its stage coach stop were left behind to welcome the station calls of trains traversing the Pacific Coast Extension.
In the background of the Milwaukee's mainline rests The Adams Hotel, an interesting story in itself. Built as a center of elegance and social activity, it has spanned the decades from 1908 to present. Like much of the newly settled West, the first few years were good but the droughts and depressions of the 1930s ended its run of elegance. Over the years it served various purposes with restoration starting just prior to this photo taken in 2003.
The big school house of Vananda and The Adams Hotel both tell the story of the railroad's importance to the communities it created and served. It brought hope and played the part of a bright promise for tomorrow. Today Lavina has a population of 182 and joins the many other quiet and small places left behind when the Resourceful Railroad left town.