Foto Friday: The Bullwhacker

He stands in the middle of Last Chance Gulch, the main drag in Helena, Montana. The Bullwhacker wields his whip, the tip undulating skyward, caught mid-flick.

Bullwhacker Helena

The Bullwhacker earned pride of place in Helena by the pivotal role his namesakes played in settling the area. Helena was founded in the gold rush when four men struck gold during their last-ditch attempt to make it as prospectors and miners. A town soon grew around the mining activities and Helena later became Montana’s capital.

The train is what made Helena’s growth possible and kept the town going. Who kept the trains going? The bullwhacker.

The badass, whip-sporting bullwhacker wasn’t for show. We’re not talking railways here. Wagon trains pulled by oxen were the lifeblood of western communities. These trains carried supplies, people, and communications, without which these mountainous settlements would be cut off from the outside world. They simply had to get through, and it was the bullwhacker’s job to keep the train moving.

So now a statue of a bullwhacker stands in the lovely, historic Helena town centre, reminding everyone how we got here.

bullwhacker helena montana

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