Charles A. Bovey Papers, 1882-1983

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Bovey, Charles, 1907-1978
Title
Charles A. Bovey Papers
Dates
1882-1983 (inclusive)
Quantity
9 linear feet of shelf space
Collection Number
MC 298
Summary
Charles A. Bovey was a Montana legislator, Great Falls rancher, and collector of historic artifacts, records, and buildings. His interest in historic preservation eventually lead to his ownership and restoration of most of Virginia City, Montana, and the reconstruction of Nevada City. This collection consists of family correspondence; financial records (1944-1966), including Boveys' personal and ranch accounts; legal documents; subject files on Bovey's service in the Montana Legislature, and material collected by Bovey on railroads. There are subgroups for the Charles A. Bovey Estate, for the Alder Gulch Short Line Railway, for Bovey Restorations Inc., for the Historic Landmark Society of Montana, for the Virginia City Players, and for the Virginia City Trading Company.
Repository
Montana Historical Society, Research Center Archives
Montana Historical Society Research Center Archives
225 North Roberts
PO Box 201201
Helena MT
59620-1201
Telephone: 4064442681
Fax: 4064445297
mhslibrary@mt.gov
Languages
English
Sponsor
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Charles Argalis Bovey was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 1, 1907. His parents were Charles Cranston Bovey and Kate Koon Bovey, and his siblings were Martin Koon Bovey and Ruth Bovey Stevens. The Bovey family was part of the Washburn Crosby Milling Corporation, which became known as General Mills. Charles lived in Minneapolis until September 1923 when he attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts. Upon graduating from Phillips, Charles decided he would rather learn the milling trade than attend college. His father sent him to Great Falls, Montana, in October 1926.

In Great Falls, Charles began learning the milling trade through involvement with the Royal Milling Company, a subsidiary of the Minneapolis-based Washburn Crosby. Not long after arriving in Great Falls, Charles was introduced to (Rachael) Sue Ford who was the daughter of Great Falls National Bank President Lee Ford. Charles and Sue would eventually be married in 1933. Though Charles was involved with the Royal Milling Company for a number of years, he soon turned his focus to farming and ranching. He purchased the Sunnyside Ranch in 1929 and two other ranches, the Deep Canyon Ranch and the Cascade Ranch, in later years.

In the 1940s, Charles started to become very interested in preserving Montana's living history. He created the "Old Town" display for the Great Falls Fair in the early 1940s, a display which remained a popular attraction for nearly twenty years. "Old Town" was a recreation of what an Old West town might have been like in the 1800s. It was created using a variety of historic buildings collected from different Montana communities, as well as with items from Charles' own personal antique collection.

Around the same time as the creation of "Old Town", Charles was becoming involved in politics. In 1942, Charles ran on the Democratic ticket for a seat in the Montana House of Representatives representing Cascade County. He won the position and served until the next election, at which time he decided to run for a seat in the Montana Senate. He again won and represented Cascade County in the position through 1965. While in the legislature, Charles was concerned with the well-being of the elderly and the mentally disabled, as well as with efforts to preserve Montana's living history.

Though not funded by the state as he had hoped, the Historic Landmarks Society was incorporated by Charles Bovey in July 1944 as a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving facets of Montana's living history. Some of the Society's projects included the preservation of a sawmill in Craig, Montana and the restoration of a settler's cabin near Loma, Montana.

More significant, however, was that it was through this organization that Charles Bovey was able to begin the restoration of Virginia City, Montana. The Society's first project in Virginia City was to restore the building that had housed Montana's first newspaper press, the Montana Post. After the Post building was completed, the Society went to work restoring and preserving other buildings in Virginia City.

The restoration of Virginia City proved to be a very large and expensive project. The Historic Landmarks Society depended greatly on donations and membership dues for funding, but with the tight postwar economy, those funds were hard to come by. When the Historic Landmarks Society could no longer fund the restoration efforts, Charles invested a great deal of his own money to continue the restoration. In 1950, the Great Falls Fair Board dissolved the "Old Town" display. Charles, not wanting to dispose of the display, moved it to Nevada City and began the recreation of the little ghost town located only a couple miles from Virginia City. As with "Old Town", Charles moved in historic buildings donated or purchased from people around the state. By this point, Virginia City and Nevada City were becoming very popular tourist attractions and were starting to appeal to film makers as well.

Charles Bovey dedicated nearly thirty years of his life to the preservation and restoration of Virginia City and the recreation and preservation of Nevada City. After his death on June 9, 1978, his efforts continued first through his wife, Sue, and then through his son Ford. In 1997, Ford Bovey sold the properties at Virginia City and Nevada City to the State of Montana. After the sale, the state created the Montana Heritage Preservation Commission through the Montana Historical Society to continue preservation and restoration efforts in Virginia City and Nevada City.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection consists of Bovey family correspondence, a diary, financial records legal documents, subject files, and several subgroups.

Correspondence includes incoming correspondence (1909-1978) arranged chronologically by the earliest letter in each folder; outgoing correspondence (1909-1927, n.d.) to various family members; and miscellaneous correspondence (1882-1964) of various Bovey family members.

There is a diary (1935); miscellaneous financial records, including journals and ledgers (1942-1975) covering both Bovey's personal finances and records of his Sunnyside Ranch; and legal documents, including an agreement with an architect for construction of the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) building in Great Falls, an oil and gas lease, and the Charles C. Bovey Trust.

A major portion of the collection consists of subject files. There are two major subdivisions of these files. One consists of files kept by Bovey during his service in the state legislature (1945-1965), including caricatures by the artist James M. Haughey. The second subdivision consists of materials Bovey collected concerning railroads. For the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway ("Milwaukee Road") there are a variety of reports from the Grass Range, Salem, and Tiegan stations. for the Great Northern Railway there are locomotive diagrams, and work equipment diagrams. For the Northern Pacific Railway there are track profiles from Livingston to Paradise on the main line, plus profiles for the Bitterroot Branch, the Butte Branch, the Camp Creek Branch, the Flathead Valley Branch, the Park Branch, the Red Bluff Branch, and the Sunset Branch in Idaho. There are also reports on recommended repairs to bridges and buildings. For the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway there are blueprints of buildings, equipment, etc. [These last were in a fire and are in extremely fragile condition--RESTRICTED]. Among miscellaneous items are typescript copies of minutes (1883-1895) of the Choteau Fire Company; and a proposal to build a tourist railway along Belt Creek from Riceville to Logging Creek through what later became Sluice Boxes State Park.

The Charles A. Bovey Estate subgroup includes correspondence, financial records, and miscellany. The Alder Gulch Short Line Railway subgroup includes correspondence (1962-1976), and miscellany, including a timetable, layout of a sleeping car, and work logs (1960-1963). The Bovey Restorations Inc. subgroup includes correspondence (1969-1978), financial records, and a visitor register. The Historic Landmark Society of Montana0 subgroup includes correspondence (1944-1947); financial records; organizational records, including articles of incorporation, bylaws, membership lists, etc.; a subject file on the Montana Bicentennial Administration contract; and miscellany. The Virginia City Players\b0 subgroup contains correspondence (1954-1966) and miscellany. The \b Virginia City Trading Company\b0 subgroup consists of financial records, including a daybook, journals (1947-1948), ledgers (1948-1953) and payroll records (1949-1950).

[Photographs have been transferred to the Photo Archives.]

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Arrangement

by series

Acquisition Information

Acquisition Information:

available upon request

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection

Charles A. Bovey Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming Correspondence [folders arranged chronologically]
Box/Folder
1 / 1
"Fraulein"
1909
1 / 2
Grandparents
1910, 1936
1 / 3
Correspondence to C.A. Bovey
1910s
1 / 4
Martin Bovey
1918-1976
1 / 5
Ruth Bovey
ca. 1920
1 / 6
Charles C. Bovey [father]
1923
1 / 7
Dr. Joslyn
1924
1 / 8-11
Charles C. Bovey [father]
1924-1928
1 / 12
Charles D. Velie [uncle]
1928
1 / 13-19
Charles C. Bovey [father]
1929-1937
2 / 1-3
Charles C. Bovey [father]
1938-1943
2 / 4-6
Miscellaneous
1942-1976
2 / 7-8
Charles C. Bovey [father]
1944-1953
2 / 9
Estelle Chrisman Laughlin (includes family genealogy]
1961-1962
2 / 10
Josephine Rasdahl (includes photos)
1972
2 / 11
Donation/membership information
1974-1978
2 / 12
"Sally" [niece]
n.d.
2 / 13
John Phillips
n.d.
Outgoing Correspondence
Box/Folder
2 / 14
Miscellaneous (folder labeled "Read to Charlie")
1885, 1917-1925, 1927
2 / 14
to parents and grandparents
1917-1927
2 / 15
Kate Bovey
ca. 1909
2 / 16
"Bunny"
n.d.
2 / 17
Charles C. Bovey [father]
to 1920
2 / 18
Ruth Bovey
n.d.
2 / 19
Martin Bovey
n.d.
2 / 20-21
Parents
ca. 1915, ca. 1923-1924
3 / 1-2
Parents
1935-1953
3 / 3
Montana Dept. of Highways (re Great Falls U.S. 87 East Highway Proposal)
1978
Miscellaneous Correspondence [various family members]
Box/Folder
3 / 5
Kate Bovey
1942-1957
3 / 6
Charles C. Bovey and Kate K. Bovey (includes several writings by Charles C. Bovey)
1882-1964
3 / 7
Bovey children to Mrs. Elliot [aunt]
1912
3 / 8
Sue Ford Bovey to Kate Bovey
n.d.
3 / 9
Ruth Bovey Stevens to parents
1933, 1946
3 / 10
Charles C. Bovey to Ruth Bovey Stevens
1933
3 / 11
Martin K. Bovey to Kate Bovey
1933
3 / 12
Hope Bovey[?] to Charles C. Bovey
1931
3 / 13
Martin K. Bovey to Charles C. Bovey
1931-1933
3 / 14
Charles C. Bovey to Martin K. Bovey
1932-1937
3 / 15
Phillips Academy to Charles C. Bovey (re Martin and Charles' education)
1920, 1923
3 / 16
Charles C. Bovey and James W. Sherwood
1933
3 / 17
Charles C. Bovey to Tom Racine
1938
3 / 18
Charles C. Bovey to Sue Ford Bovey
1936-1946
3 / 19
Charles C. Bovey to Ford Bovey
1946-1961
3 / 20
Miscellaneous to Charles C. Bovey
1922-1949
3 / 21
Charles C. Bovey to miscellaneous
1936, 1938
Case Files
Box/Folder
3 / 22
Bovey vs. Montana Hotel Corporation [correspondence about the case]
1976
Diaries
Box/Folder
3 / 23
Diary
1935
Financial Records
Box/Folder
3 / 24
Invoices
1957
Volume
Vol. 1-7
Journals: personal and business
1942-1975
Vol. 8-9
Ledger: personal and Sunnyside Ranch
1949-1975
Box/Folder
3 / 25
Life insurance/trust account on Kate Koon Bovey
1952-1978
3 / 26
Promissory note
1948
3 / 27
Tax receipts
1932, 1979
3 / 28
Unaudited financial statements
1932, 1979
3 / 29
Miscellaneous bank records
1962-1971
Legal Documents
Box/Folder
3 / 30
Agreement with architect for construction of Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) building in Great Falls
n.d.
3 / 31
Agreement with Martin Koon Bovey and Ruth Bovey Stevens
1937
3 / 32
Deed to Randi Garcia
1977
3 / 33
Oil and gas lease
1975
3 / 34
Charles C. Bovey Trust
1972
Subject Files
Box/Folder
4 / 1
Ford Bovey (includes essay on stagecoach trip; mountain climbing accident hospitalization)
1959, 1967-1968
4 / 2
Chicken breeding business (with Martin Bovey)
1915
4 / 3
Montana Historical Society (primarily Sue Ford Bovey)
1941, 1967-1982
4 / 4
Montana Legislative Assembly: 29th (correspondence, bills, brochures, etc.; includes material on conditions at Warm Springs State Hospital)
1945
4 / 5
Montana Legislative Assembly: 29th (caricatures by James M. Haughey)
1945
4 / 6
Montana Legislative Assembly: 30th (includes bills, rules, airline travel card)
1947
4 / 7
Montana Legislative Assembly: 30th (caricatures by James M. Haughey)
1947
4 / 8
Montana Legislative Assembly: 31st (caricatures by James M. Haughey)
1949
4 / 9
Montana Legislative Assembly: 36th (includes bills, committee minutes, seating chart, proposal for Smith River State Park)
1959
4 / 10
Montana Legislative Assembly: 37th (includes bills, correspondence, seating chart)
1961
4 / 11
Montana Legislative Assembly: 38th (includes bills, correspondence, report of election results)
1963
4 / 12
Montana Legislative Assembly: 39th (includes bills, list of senators by county, 1891-1965)
1965
4 / 13
Montana Legislative Assembly: 39th (includes minutes of Highways and Transportation Committee)
1965
4 / 14
Montana Legislative Assembly: 40th (election material)
1966
4 / 15
Montana Legislative Assembly: (election material, stationery, etc.)
n.d.
4 / 16
Montana State Highway Commission (re interchanges at Laurel and Drummond)
1965
5 / 1
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway check stubs (Grass Range, Mont.)
1925-1929
5 / 2
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway circulars
1958-1964, n.d.
5 / 3
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway daily railroad freight service report to Office of Defense Transportation (Grass Range, Mont.)
1942
5 / 4-7
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway daily track time reports (Salem, Mont.)
1957, 1960-1961
5 / 8
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway daily yard check and report of freight cars on hand (Grass Range, Mont.)
1942
5 / 9
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway foreman's reports of broken and failed rails
1953
5 / 10
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway inventory of new and second hand material (Salem, Mont.)
1952-1954, 1960
5 / 11
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway "Material used in repairs to tracks to be wholly or partially paid for by other companies or individuals" (Great Falls, Mont.)
1953-1955
5 / 12
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway monthly inventory, all cars (Grass Range, Mont.)
1942
5 / 13
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway payroll (Salem, Mont.)
1957, 1960-1961
5 / 14
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway "Report of cars set out, picked up or on hand at closed station" (Tiegan, Mont.)
1942
5 / 15
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway semi-monthly Track Department labor distribution (Salem, Mont.)
1957, 1960-1961
5 / 16
Railroads: Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway weekly Track Department material report (Salem, Mont.)
1957, 1960-1961
6 / 1
Railroads: Great Northern Railway casting weight lists
1935
6 / 2
Railroads: Great Northern Railway locomotive diagrams
1941
6 / 3-4
Railroads: Great Northern Railway work equipment diagrams
1933, 1953
7 / 1
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway blueprints [scattered]
1915-1920
7 / 2
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway condensed profile and track chart (Livingston to Helena to Missoula) [see boxes 8-9 for detailed versions]
1960
7 / 3
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway detail sheets #1-48
1913-1914
7 / 4
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway detail sheets #A1-A33
1913-1916
7 / 5
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway detail sheets #B1-F6
1914-1916
Volume
Vol. 10
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway diagrams and charts
1913-1916
Box/Folder
7 / 6
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway overtime slips (Helena, Mont.)
1962-1963
7 / 7
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway Valuation Dept. table of weights of various items of track material
n.d.
7 / 8-9
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway yard operations and yard master's log book (Helena, Mont.)
1950, 1955-1961
8 / 1-16
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (main line, Livingston to Paradise: 16 rolls)
1909
9 / 1-4
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Bitterroot Branch: Missoula to Hamilton: 4 rolls)
1900
9 / 5-10
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Butte Branch: Three Forks to Garrison: 6 rolls)
1898
9 / 11
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Camp Creek Branch: Manhattan 1 roll)
1911
9 / 12-13
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Flathead Valley Branch: Wye-Polson, 2 rolls)
n.d.
9 / 14
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Logan construction, 1 roll)
1919
9 / 15-16
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Park Branch: Livingston to Gardiner, 2 rolls)
1902
9 / 17
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Red Bluff Branch: Sappington to Norris, 1 roll)
1924
9 / 18
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway profile and track blueprints (Sunset Branch: Wallace to Sunset, Idaho, 1 roll)
1902
10 / 1-10
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway recommended and estimated cost of repairs, renewals and improvements on bridges
1940-1949
11 / 1-6
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway recommended and estimated cost of repairs, renewals and improvements on bridges
1950, 1952-1956
11 / 7-10
Railroads: Northern Pacific Railway recommended and estimated cost of repairs, renewals and improvements on buildings, fuel and water stations, etc.
1940-1946, 1948
11a /
Railroads: Minneapolis, St. Paul & Sault Ste. Marie Railway blueprints of buildings, equipment, etc. [RESTRICTED: burned, extremely fragile]
1900s-1940s?
12 / 1
Railroads: time tickets [unidentified railroad]
1892
12 / 2
Railroads: miscellany (includes Santa Fe train orders, clippings, ephemera)
1948-1967
Miscellany
Box/Folder
12 / 3
Judge Nat Allen reminiscence concerning the Lee Simpson case (1937)
1971
12 / 4-5
Charles A. Bovey childhood writings and school papers including graduation from Phillips Academy, Andover
1910-1926
12 / 6
Kate K. Bovey obituary
1964
12 / 7
Choteau Fire Company minute book [typed transcript]
1883-1895
12 / 8
"Guide to Manuscript Collections, Archives University of Montana"
1969
12 / 9
Proposal for tourist railroad and townsite along Belt Creek from Riceville to Logging Creek through what later became Sluice Boxes State Park
1972
12 / 10
Miscellaneous programs, brochures, etc.
12 / 11
Miscellaneous
Clippings
Box/Folder
12 / 12
Miscellaneous (re Charles C. Bovey, various relatives, World War II, etc.)
1922-1978

Charles A. Bovey Estate Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
13 / 1
Miscellaneous (arranged chronologically)
1978-1983
13 / 2-6
Bank statements; cancelled checks
1978-1980
Financial Records
Box/Folder
13 / 7
Bank records: record of checks, deposits and balance
1981-1983
13 / 8
Estate summary (record of finances, prepared by Charles A. Bovey prior to his death)
13 / 9-10
Estate taxes
1979-1982
14 / 1
Expense distribution
1978-1983
14 / 2
Financial statements
1978-1982
Subject Files
Box/Folder
14 / 3
Life insurance information on Charles A. Bovey
1978
Miscellany
Box/Folder
14 / 4
Eulogies
1978
14 / 5
Unused checks
Clippings
Box/Folder
14 / 6
Re Charles A. Bovey's death
1978

Sue Ford Bovey Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Subject Files
Box/Folder
14 / 7
Crop insurance information
1980-1983

Alder Gulch Short Line Railway Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
15 / 1
Miscellaneous (arranged chronologically)
1962-1976
Miscellany
Box/Folder
15 / 2
Layout for sleeping car sent to Alder; Maps for Alder Gulch Short Line [Oversize: Map Case]
1963
15 / 3
Timetable
n.d.
15 / 4-7
Work logs
1960-1963

Bovey Restorations, Inc. Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Incoming Correspondence
Box/Folder
16 / 1
Business correspondence (also includes Brundage family genealogy)
1969-1977
Outgoing Correspondence
Box/Folder
16 / 2
From J. Nold Midyette
1975-1978
Financial Records
Box/Folder
16 / 3
Account with Virginia Trading Company
1971
16 / 4
Audits
1979-1980
Miscellany
Volume
Vol. 10A
Alder Gulch visitor register
1967-1976
Financial Records
Box/Folder
16 / 5
Miscellaneous (includes statements of receipts and disbursements, tax statements, etc.)
1975-1981

Historic Landmark Society Of Montana Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
16 / 6
Miscellaneous (primarily re memberships and donations; also includes reports to members)
1944-1947
Financial Records
Box/Folder
16 / 7
Balance sheets
1944-1946
16 / 8
Check register
1944-1946
16 / 9
Financial statements
1972, 1974
16 / 10
Tax documents
1972, 1976
Organization
Box/Folder
16 / 11
Articles of incorporation, bylaws, statement of purpose
1944
16 / 12
Board of directors ballots
1947
16 / 13
Membership lists
1944-1947
16 / 14
Minutes
1945
Subject Files
Box/Folder
16 / 15
Montana Bicentennial Administration contract
1976
Miscellany
Box/Folder
16 / 16
Publicity
1957-1966
16 / 17
Property ownership; permission papers
1945-1976

Virginia City Players Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
General Correspondence
Box/Folder
16 / 18
Miscellaneous (arranged chonologically)
1954-1966
Miscellany
Box/Folder
16 / 19
Miscellaneous (clipping; brochure of Creston Chorus)
1948, 1966

Virginia Trading Company Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Financial Records
Volume
Vol. 11
Daybook
1948
Vol. 12-13
Journals
1947-1948
Vol. 14-16
Ledgers
1948-1953
Vol. 17
Payroll journal
1949
Vol. 18
Payroll ledger
1949-1950
Box/Folder
16 / 20
Pay scale
1964

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Railroads--Design and construction
  • Railroads--Employees
  • Railroads--Grades
  • Railroads--Montana
  • Caricatures and cartoons
  • Historic sites
  • Railroad bridges
  • Railroad stations
  • Scenic railways
  • Theater

Geographical Names

  • Grass Range (Mont.)--Commerce
  • Salem (Mont.)
  • Sluice Box State Park (Mont.)
  • Sunnyside Ranch (Mont.)
  • Tiegan (Mont.)
  • Virginia City (Mont.)--buildings, Structures, Etc.
  • Virginia City (Mont.)--commerce