Stories From The Tamaracks: Part 18

'I Remember When...'

Joyce and Pel Turner, shortly after they married on August 21, 1948. They are sitting in Eddy and Jerrie Coyle's Key Bar Resort at Seeley Lake. Photo courtesy of Monte Turner, Pel's son.

Joyce Ann Tenney, from Minneapolis, on the right, shortly afer she began work as a cabin girl at The Tamaracks during June, 1948. The girl on the left is unidentified. Photo courtesy of Monte Turner, Pel's son.

January 11, 2001
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana

Stories From Long Ago about
The Tamaracks of Seeley Lake
and Surrounding Area
Compiled by Jack Demmons.
This is Part 18.


Pel Turner stated that his father, Henry Turner, had purchased a summer home on the northeast shore of Seeley Lake in 1927 and later was able to acquire adjacent properties that were for sale. Because of a heart condition, he was unable to buy life insurance, so his real purpose was to provide security for his family. (As mentioned in a previous article, Henry Turner did die of a heart attack at The Tamaracks - in January, 1941.)

Each spring Henry and Maude Turner of The Tamaracks would drive to different parts of the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States, including St. Louis, Washington, D.C., New York City, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, among other places, on "dude wrangling trips," enticing people to spend their vacations at The Tamaracks. Times and places for presentations were made in advance by Henry.

Pel mentioned that he, at age 11, went with them in 1936, getting out of school six weeks early. He was the "official" projectionists.

The trips really paid off. For example, the Missoula Sentinel on August 6, 1936, had this article:

Seeley Lake Has Guests from East. Colony of Missouri

Visitors At Outing Resort of Henry Turner

"The month of August is St. Louis Month at The Tamaracks, outing resort of Henry Turner at Seeley Lake. The delegation of St. Louisans now at The Tamaracks is the largest from any city at a Western Montana resort this year..."

There was a total of 38 at the dude ranch from St. Louis that month, plus other guests from various eastern locations.

Most of these guests traveled to Missoula on the Northern Pacific or Milwaukee Railroads (primarily on the N. P.) and members of The Tamaracks' staff would travel to Missoula and drive the guests back to Seeley Lake, over what was then a long, winding dirt road. Many of the dudes returned for a second or third time.

Pel mentioned that the Northern Pacific offered to print brochures free of charge for The Tamaracks and other resorts, inserting anything the proprietors wanted included, so long as the N. P. logo was used. The pamphlets were distributed at all of the N. P. depots, as well as on the trains themselves. He said, "The craze of the 'Dude Ranch' was in style at this time."

Then in 1948, a young woman in Minneapolis, Joyce Ann Tenney, saw one of the ads and applied for a position as a "cabin girl" and was accepted. Her duties basically included helping take care of the resort cabins. She had never been to Montana before. Pel drove to Missoula and picked her up at the Northern Pacific Depot. He was "floored" when he saw Joyce. That was in June. Exactly 60 days later, on August 21 of that year, they were married. They have been together more than 52 years and live in Missoula. (Currently they are spending six months at Mesa, Arizona.)


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