It was pretty cool this morning when Lois Tortorelli, who worked at the Lodge as a 19 year old in 1956 brought in some old FLL artifacts she has kept all these years. Lois and her college friend, who also worked at the Lodge in back in the day have come back the last number of falls to help close out the season. Lois said she bought a round trip ticket on the ‘Empire Builder’ train route from Chicago for $78 dollars. She also said she was the only staff member with a 1/2 day off because she attended church on Sunday mornings. And today’s generation complains about working 5 days a week!


Check out some of the old FLL brochures & the letters between her and Flathead Lake Lodge founder Les Averill about employment! Thanks to Lois for sharing.

A Flathead Lake Lodge Brochure Les Averill sent to Lois in 1956

Lois & Les Averill’s letters on a summer job in Montana

A 1956 Montana post card
bob bellmore
Bob the Hermit drawn by Elmer Sprunger

We are sad to say long time neighbor and local legend Bob Bellmore has passed away at the age of 91. Bob was a true old timer who lived in his remote cabin without water or a car. Many of you might remember Bob who was known to show up at the Wednesday night Steak Fry for a left over steak and the chance to share his amazing knowledge of the history of the area.

Bob spent his time raising a few cattle and searching for a buried treasure on the Ranch Property (you might even know a few trails named after Bob). As the story goes according to Bob, way back when a bank was robbed in Ronan. When they caught up to the robbers they were in Woods Bay, at the south end of the Ranch, where they shot one of the robbers. The Robbers fled on horseback and when they found the rest, 4 miles away just east of Bigfork, at the north end of of the Ranch, the Robbers did not have their loot…

So the next time you are up riding up on the mountain, keep an eye out and you might just notice a few hand dug holes here and there. Whether or not Bob found the loot is a mystery, but his character and stories will be remembered by all.

Here is poem written about Bob.

‘The “Old Timer”

In some mysterious place up yonder,
perhaps an old rotting cabin,
perhaps a tent,
lives an old timer…
What type of life has brough this man

frostbitten earlobes,

smoked skin and sour smells

of horseweed…

What have those fiery eyes seen and known,

and who has kissed that grizzled face?

He’s a facination for his simple ways…

He tells of people and of the earth…

He knows of the deer,

the chokecherries,

and the harvest moon,

for he has memories of “Serinatin” his girl

…with old forgotten songs.

But in those eyes beyond the fire

I see the sunset;

the dimness is growing

as his memories are unwoven;

To me, he is real history so true

and when he is done sharing

he will pass on…

By Jenny Peck