Each year we’ve gone through the outskirts of Bozeman, Montana on our way to Butte from Billings. Each year, before we head for Montana, we say we’ll go to Bozeman, at least for a day. It’s been touted as being a western town success story. Boutique type stores, galleries, and eateries are housed in wonderfully restored buildings that capture the flavor of when the west boomed as the railroad was built and mining thrived.
Some friends of ours who live in Montana have told us that Bozeman has lost some of its wild charm as it has swung more upscale over the years. Unfortunately, last week, Bozeman was delivered a blow that will be a hard one to get over. Due to a massive explosion due to a gas leak, five of the historic buildings downtown on Main Street were destroyed and several damaged. The woman who managed the gallery in the building where the leak happened was killed.
Because of the economic downturn that has also affected downtown Bozeman, there’s a fear that the downtown might have difficult time recovering. The New York Times article, where I read about this news, also covers the other ways economic difficulties have influenced Bozeman’s recent development projects.
With this explosion has come the anxiety about leaks in old gas lines, probably something all older towns ought to think about. Now that I’ve found out about Bozeman’s recent hardship, I have more of an urge to swing through town this summer to buy something. It’s the least we can do.
If you browse through the photos of crd who took this picture of Main Street in Bozeman, you can see more results of the explosion.