Stories From The Tamaracks: Part 9

'I Remember When..."

November 2, 2000
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Left to right: Henry "Heinie" Turner and a dude named "Brownie" from St. Louis sitting in front of one of the cabins at The Tamaracks in the 1930's. (Pel Turner told a story about Brownie concerning the time he and several others were going sunbathing on the Tamarack's beach during a warm summer's day. Brownie buried a bottle of whiskey in the sand and inserted a straw so he could sip unimpeded while soaking up the sun.) Photo courtesy of Monte Turner.

Pel Turner, age 10, at the Tamaracks trying to get his favorite horse, "Beauty," into the water. As mentioned in Part 4 of stories about The Tamaracks, Beauty almost drowned on one occasion before they found she could not swim. Photo courtesy of Monte Turner, Pel's son.

Stories From Long Ago about The Tamaracks of Seeley Lake Compiled by Jack Demmons.

This is part 9 of a series of articles about The Tamaracks Lodge which was prepared by Tom Demmons, son of Ken and Valle Demmons, who were long-time residents of the Lodge and helped manage it through the years. Part 9 contains information relating to Major Henry "Heinie" and Maude Turner, Tom's grandparents, the original owners of The Tamaracks, who were responsible for its construction. (Some of the following information was given to Jack by Pel Turner, Tom's uncle.)

Major Henry "Heinie" Turner

Henry Turner (his real first name was Major), born at St. Louis, Missouri in 1887, had been a well-known businessman in Missoula, and was engaged in the automobile and theater businesses of that city for almost twenty years.

He first came to Montana in 1909, arriving at Stevensville from Yale University, to take a position for one year with the Bitter Root Valley Irrigation Company. Henry moved to Missoula the following year and went into the automobile business with Massey McCullough, the son of Dr. and Mrs. G. T. McCullough, and they formed the McCullough-Turner Motor Company. There he met his future wife, Massey's sister Maude. They were married May 14, 1914.

In 1918 he sold his interest in the automobile agency and for the next six years managed theaters in Missoula for the Northwest Theater Company. In 1924 Henry purchased the Empress Theater that was located in the 200 block of North Higgins Avenue and renamed it the "Bluebird." (That building still stands and is painted light blue. It is on the east side of Higgins Avenue, across the street from where the former Montgomery Ward once stood.)

In 1928 he sold out to Fox Theaters and two years later established The Tamaracks Resort at Seeley Lake, some sixty miles northeast of Missoula. It was there that he died of a heart attack early one very cold morning on January 23, 1941 at age 53.

Maude Turner

She was a Missoula native, born Maude McCullough on September 28, 1890, the daughter of Dr. and Mrs. G. T. McCullough, who came to Missoula from Ohio. She graduated from Montana State University (now known as the University of Montana) in 1912.

Henry and Maude had three youngsters, Valle, the oldest, followed by Henry "Bud" McCullough Turner, and then Pelham "Pel" Massey Turner. Each was born in Missoula.

Maude moved to Missoula from The Tamaracks during the autumn of 1949. She died there June 16, 1952 at age 61.

Future articles about The Tamaracks will include stories about Henry "Bud" and Pelham "Pel" and their involvement in aviation as pilots, to include Pel's "falt-hatting" over the Seeley Lake area.








Maude Turner sitting on The Tamarack's dock in the 1930's. The Lodge had a number of boats for use by the dudes and others who visited the resort. Photo courtesy of Monte Turner.

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