A Place of Broken Dreams

The Bank

Can you make out the letters on the peak of the building? Would you keep your money in this bank? I guess the garage door is for the Brinks armoured van to drive right on in.

Once upon a time

When I see an abandoned building, I wonder what the story is. Someone lived there once. Someone left.  Were the people happy living there? What changed for them? Why did they leave? Where did they go?

Rural Montana has many old abandoned buildings. It’s a beautiful state, but the conditions, especially in winter, must be very harsh. Ranches are large, so the houses are far apart. The winter snow is deep and blizzards and white out conditions are common. Visiting neighbours or friends must have been difficult or impossible at times. And let’s hope no one was sick. Where would you find a doctor? It’s no wonder so many people left this place of broken dreams.

I’m not sure if this was a schoolhouse in its day, but it certainly has all the looks of one. Across the street from it is a modern school much larger than this one, but still with only 22 children in it, grades one to eight.

In spring , early summer, and fall, the old schoolhouse was probably comfortable enough – perhaps a bit hot on those last June days before school was out. They certainly had a huge playground for recess time. But in the winter months, I can imagine the students (and probably the teacher too) huddling around the stove for warmth.

What year?

What fodder for a story! Need I say more? You can imagine it all.

Much of the evidence of the broken dreams still stands today, but there is a new generation in Montana with a new set of dreams.  The weather conditions are as harsh as ever, but communication is hugely improved. There will still be heartbreaks and failures but the chances of “making a go of it” are much better than they were 50 years ago.

23 thoughts on “A Place of Broken Dreams

  1. The schoolhouse pictures brought back memories.I went to a school much like that for 4 years before we moved to the city. In the winter we often had to keep our coats and mitts on because it was so cold. We made a game, trading coats and mitts and toques.


  2. Broken dreams - it made me think and made me feel sad for a while. I can see a writer in you - sensitive, seeing things which lots of us don´t see.
    Thanks for sharing those thoughts...


  3. Powerful post. I don’t know whether to feel sad and nostalgic, or to adopt a buck-up attitude and say, let me have at it, I want to breathe life back into that building. Thank for sharing!


    • Montana is so beautiful and I think it lures adventuresome people to live here, but the economy is depressed. Big state in area, but small in population. That would be an attraction for me, but it would be hard to make a living. But the worst thing, I think, is that the winters here can be so harsh. It takes tough pioneers to make a living here. I’m glad they haven’t got rid of the old buildings, but like you, I had mixed feelings about them.


  4. I love decay photography and you have some beauties here. It must have been fascinating to wander around the old structures thinking about who might have been there and what there life was like.


  5. I loved this post and the pictures. My parents bought a farm 20 years ago in the Virginia countryside. They fixed up an old farm house. We use what we call the school house for storage. Turns out the farm house was there in the late 1700s. There are chimneys on the property as well. I often imagine the stories if the house could talk.


  6. If its whole history were known there would be a good story about that old bank. I’d bet that since it was indeed a bank, it has been many other things, and the “whys” of that would be interesting!


  7. What an interesting place to go for a visit. It would be fascinating to know the history behind these buildings. Who owned them, where are they now, what caused them to leave…? Great photos.


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