Claude Elder Interview, 1963


Claude Elder


Edward "Stan" Healy



Download Audio Interview (59.8 MB)

Download Transcript of Claude Elder Interview (314 KB)


Claude Elder describes the construction of the 1892 Higgins Avenue bridge in Missoula, Montana. He recalls the flood of 1908, which delayed the construction of a newer bridge. He talks about Higgins Avenue before it was paved and describes many of the buildings and businesses that existed in during the late 19th century and early 20th century including the Florence Hotel, multiple Chinese laundries, and the Missoula Hotel. Elder discusses the events that were celebrated in Missoula such as the Fourth of July and Chinese New Year, due to the large population of Chinese immigrants in Montana at that time. He mentions the circuses that came through the town on a regular basis. Elder also describes the different theaters in downtown Missoula including the Blue Bird and Harnois. He concludes by describing the Native American peoples who came through Missoula, including Chief Charlo of the Salish tribe, and he talks at length about the roundhouse whistle.


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Document Type

Oral History


Missoula, Montana history; University of Montana, Missoula, history; Higgins Avenue, Missoula, Montana; Front Street, Missoula, Montana; Chinese laundries, Montana; Chinese immigrants, Montana; Northern Pacific Railway [NPR]

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Stan Healy Collection of Early Missoula History, OH 114, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 114-001

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

4 reel-to-reel analog + 1 transcript (15 p.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:49:07 minutes

Local Filename

OH_114_001.mp3; OH_114_001.pdf

Claude Elder Interview, 1963