Missoulian reporter Kim Briggeman received the Montana Historical Society Board of Trustees 2014 Heritage Awards for his contribution to state history at the 41st Annual MHS Montana History Conference in Helena on Friday.
Also honored was Mary Allen, who grew up in Billings and now lives near Roberts.
More than 250 people from across the state as well as from Canada and other states attended the three-day conference.
Briggeman grew up in a house that bordered the Mullan Road, which sparked his lifelong interest in Montana history. Briggeman taught history for several years in Valier and Hall before returning to Missoula to work as a sportswriter, and now as a reporter, for the Missoulian.
Over the years, he has shared his passion for Montana history through public and academic presentations and articles, bicycling and walking tours and even dramatic performances like those he does during Missoula’s annual “Stories and Stones” cemetery tour.
He has worked hard on history projects in Bonner, including a centennial history of the Bonner Catholic Church and writing and editing an updated version of the town’s history, “A Grass Roots History: The Story of Bonner, Montana.”
Along the way he also discovered a collection of 1,600 historic photographs stored in a janitor’s closet that he researched, cataloged and indexed that are a visual history of the Bonner area.
At the Missoulian, he has led efforts to tell the story of the Mullan Road, produced a yearlong series, “Following Old Trails,” retracing the steps of early Missoulian editor Arthur Stone across western Montana, and this year produced a number of historical pieces – including a daily history anecdote – in honor of the 150th anniversary of Montana Territory.
Allen moved to Roberts after marrying area rancher Joseph Allen, whose family homesteaded there in 1908. She became the Roberts High School librarian 25 years ago and began a schoolwide project in which students interviewed residents of the area.
The interviews were refined and edited into a published work that Allen called “a gift of scholarship” for the community. In 2010, she helped organize the Roberts History Group that gathered family information and other history together for the Roberts All-Class Reunion.
Allen also has organized community celebrations, exhibits and other historical presentations in the community.