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The Bitterroot Bugle Story


I began blogging, that is self-publishing Idaholiberty.com on the Internet in 2007. At the time, I was chairman of the Idaho Libertarian Party, growing it to its largest membership in 35 years, eventually twice a candidate for Idaho governor – very active politically, culturally, and doing my best to share knowledge. “The Blogosphere” seemed like a great tool … still does.

In 2013 I found myself no longer tethered to Idaho’s Treasure Valley. Montana’s Bitterroot Valley had caught my interest long before. In March I found a cabin in Conner that was to become our foothold in this area and by June we had completed the move.

You can see in my series Post Card From Conner, it is a lovely place and we appreciated that. We since moved to a much larger place in nearby Darby, with acreage, year-round creek, generous shop space, and well above any flood plain.

Back to my early days in Montana, and my blogging. I wanted to publish under a local name. For me, the Bitterroot name describes the river, the mountains, the people and culture. In days where journalism had more interesting writing, use of language, creativity and descriptiveness, newspaper names were tattler, beacon, caller, herald, bugle and similar that implied projection of information. Here, the elk are a widely appreciated natural feature, and their bugles during mating season are locally famous.

Ted in concert with The Grand Canyon echo choir Feb 1, 2006

As a lifetime trombone player with some experience on a similar baritone bugle, the obvious first choice was Bitterroot Bugle, a name that strikes me as balanced aesthetically and lyrically.

It was so obvious that I knew it would be taken. Sure enough, it was – April 12th, 1889 … and glory be, abandoned October 15th, 1892 evolving into the newspaper that is now called the Ravalli Republic. That’s IT! I found no other uses of the name.

Most importantly, BitterrootBugle.com was unused on the World Wide Web, and available for me to purchase as my own domain – that I have owned and operated continuously since 2013.

A web-search on the name (linked above) will demonstrate that over the ensuing years, I put that name on the map.


addendum: Scrolling through the search I shared above, I just now tripped over an additional use of the Bitterroot Bugle name – this one from one of the Civilian Conservation Corps camps during its 1933-1942 existence:

Among the enrollee-produced CCC camp newspapers in Montana were titles like The Drifters, produced by Company 280 in Augusta, The Cavern Echo written by enrollees from Company 574 in Whitehall and the Bitterroot Bugle, the camp newspaper for Company 1501 in Darby. Civilian Conservation Corps work and activities in Montana were reported on at the national level in the pages of Happy Days, “the authorized weekly paper of the CCC.”