Heatherington Boarding House
The coal found near here so impressed Butte’s William A. Clark that he formed a company to mine it two miles west of the center of present-day Bridger. The company town he began in 1898 included boarding houses and family housing, a school, and a general store. But miners and their paychecks soon attracted other entrepreneurs, even though the only land available was the county road right-of-way. Undaunted, they built saloons and shops end to end on the narrow strip, forming “Stringtown,” where a person could walk out one building’s back door and into the next one’s front. Charles A. and Grace Heatherington built this boarding house in Stringtown in 1899, providing the only housing besides a hotel for new arrivals not employed by the mine. Charles, known as “Curley,” also operated a livery and ran the stage line that brought Bridger’s mail from Red Lodge—and, in summer, he sold ice cut from the Clark’s Fork. When Bridger townsite was surveyed in 1900, Heatherington was among many Stringtowners who moved their buildings here, and he continued to operate the boarding house. Today, this is one of very few buildings surviving from the original settlement.