On the Road Again

Montana's Changing Landscape

William Wyckoff
Foreword by William Cronon

  • $30.00s paperback (9780295986128) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2006
  • Subject Listing: History / Western History; Environmental Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 200 pp., 116 illus., 8.5 x 11 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
  • Contents

In On the Road Again, William Wyckoff explores Montana's changing physical and cultural landscape by pairing photographs taken by state highway engineers in the 1920s and 1930s with photographs taken at the same sites today. The older photographs, preserved in the archives of the Montana Historical Society, were intended to document the expenditure of federal highway funds. Because it is nearly impossible to photograph a road without also photographing the landscape through which that road passes, these images contain a wealth of information about the state's environment during the early decades of the twentieth century. To highlight landscape changes - and continuities - over more than eighty years, Wyckoff chose fifty-eight documented locations and traveled to each to photograph the exact same view. The pairs of old and new photos and accompanying interpretive essays presented here tell a vivid story of physical, cultural, and economic change.

Wyckoff has grouped his selections to cover a fairly even mix of views from the eastern and western parts of the state, including a wide assortment of land use settings and rural and urban landscapes. The photo pairs are organized in thirteen "visual themes," such as forested areas, open spaces, and sacred spaces, which parallel landscape change across the entire American West.

A close, thoughtful look at these photographs reveals how crops, fences, trees, and houses shape the everyday landscape, both in the first quarter of the twentieth century and in the present. The photographs offer an intimate view into Montana, into how Montana has changed in the past eighty years and how it may continue to change in the twenty-first century.

This is a book that will captivate readers who have, or hope to have, a tie to the Montana countryside, whether as resident or visitor. Regional and agricultural historians, geographers and geologists, and rural and urban planners will all find it fascinating.
William Wyckoff is professor of geography at Montana State University, Bozeman.

"The rich possibilities of rephotographic time travel have rarely been more successfully realized than in On the Road Again. The book will intrigue anyone interested not just in Montana, but in the changing landscapes of the American West and of the United States more generally."
-William Cronon, from the Foreword
Foreword: Revisited Roads to the Past by William Cronon
Preface and Acknowledgments

Journey Into Montana
- On the Road Again
- Montana Settlement
- Regional Landscape Elements
- Four Stories on the Landscape

Along Montana Highways
1. Forty-ninth Parallel
2. Into the Mountains
3. Continental Divide
4. Leaving Red Lodge
5. Missouri River
6. Marias River Crossing
7. The Sound of Mountain Water
8. Stevensville Bridge
9. Depot
10. Pacific Junction
11. T-Town
12. Landscape in Motion
13. Approaching the Hellgate
14. Yankee Jim Canyon
15. Names on the Land
16. U.S. Highway
17. Billboard
Forested Lands
18. Pinus ponderosa
19. Tree Invasion
20. Islands of Moisture
21. Quartz Ranger Station
Open Spaces
22. Road to Ekalaka
23. The Jesse Place
24. Along the Yellowstone
25. Hilltop View
Sacred Places
26. Descent to Mission Valley
27. This House of Sky
28. A Prairie House
29. Deerfield Colony
30. Blue House at Trestle Ranch
31. Krug Mansion
32. Graves Hotel
33. Pompeys Pillar
34. Water Tower
Rural Legacy
35. Settlement at Sun River
36. Rural School
37. West of Dixon
38. Farmstead South of Choteau
Main Streets
39. Main Street in Roundup
40. Life on Merrill Avenue
41. Small-Town Landscape
42. Bypassed Town
43. Wibaux Flood
44. Coal Town
Urban Life
45. Butte
46. Landscapes of Labor
47. Zone in Transition
48. Polytechnic Drive
49. Judith Place Addition
50. Suburbarn Manhattan
51. Gallatin Valley
52. South of Missoula
Old West, New West
53. Sun Ranch
54. New Deal Bridge
55. Flathead Reservation
56. Polson Bridge
57. Bitterroot Valley
58. Road to Paradise

Landscape in Place
Landscape in Time
Montana Journey
On the Road Again

Bibliographic Essay
Illustration Credits

"Wyckoff presents a fascinating portrait of change in Montana's rural and urban landscape."
-The Public Historian

"No one has used repeat photography more richly-as a basis for discussing change broadly in the natural and human landscape-than cultural/historical geographers. And arguably no geographer has succeeded as well as William Wyckoff."
-Journal of Cultural Geography

"Rarely can a little book say a lot, but such is the case with geographer William Wyckoff's study of the Montana landscape through historical and contemporary photographs. The result of Wyckoff's careful work is an insightful, enjoyable book. It is of great value to historical geographers, students of landscape, and historic preservationists."
-Oregon Historical Quarterly