A farewell to Montana's grand madam

 

MONTANA
Ruby Garrett, the racy grande dame of Butte, Mont., died March 17 at age 94. For many years, Garrett was the proprietor of the Dumas, the town's last brothel, until it closed in 1982, reports the Montana Standard. Garrett had a couple of brushes with the law along the way, serving six months in jail for tax evasion and another nine months in prison for killing her common-law husband Andy Arrigoni while he was in the middle of a card game -- firing five bullets at him. As one person familiar with the case tells it, Garrett "was the victim of severe spousal abuse ... and she was beaten so bad that day that when she walked in that Board of Trade to shoot him, they couldn't recognize her." Garrett was also said to have respected and stood up for the women who worked for her. The Dumas, which first opened back in 1890, thrived throughout the town's decades of copper mining, when prostitution was "one of the main professions in Butte," said Bob Butorovich, who served as Butte-Silver Bow sheriff from 1980 to 1992. He should know, since he was the sheriff who shut down the brothel for good 30 years ago. "She was a colorful old gal," he said of Madam Ruby. "Part of Butte history is gone."

COLORADO He's even cooler than you are. Credit Shaun Gibson

THE DAKOTAS
Are you looking to get away from it all? If so, says writer Pete Carrels, consider South Dakota: It's just the place for people who prefer few neighbors and minimal regulation. A recent report from the South Dakota's Department of Transportation found that of the state's 66 counties, 36 can boast that they lack a single traffic light. But don't even think of bicycling in northwest North Dakota this summer, reports the Associated Press. The oil boom there has filled roads "with mile after mile of big heavy trucks that make cyclists feel very unsafe," says Jennifer Milyko, cartographer with the Missoula, Mont.-based Adventure Cycling Association. "They're scared out of their wits." As of this May, bicyclists who want to retrace the Lewis and Clark expedition will be steered 100 miles south of the association's Northern Tier Route, the biggest change in the nonprofit's 39-year history.

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write [email protected]

High Country News Classifieds
  • DISTRICT MANAGER
    The San Juan Islands Conservation District is seeking applicants for the District Manager position. The position is open until filled and application plus cover letter...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Time Arts, a Bozeman-based nonprofit, is seeking an Executive Director. MTA advocates for and produces public artworks that advance social & environmental justice in...
  • BEND AREA HOME WITH AMAZING CASCADE PEAKS VIEW
    Enjoy rural peacefulness and privacy with one of the most magnificent Cascade Mountain views in sunny Central Oregon! Convenient location only eight miles from Bend's...
  • MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Marketing Communications Manager to join our...
  • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks an Editor-In-Chief to join our senior team...
  • RESEARCH FELLOW (SOUTHWESTERN U.S. ENERGY TRANSITION)
    The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in partnership with the Grand Canyon Trust is seeking a full-time Fellow to conduct topical research...
  • LENDER OWNED FIX & FLIP
    2 houses on 37+ acres. Gated subdivision, Penrose Colorado. $400k. Possible lender financing. Bob Kunkler Brokers Welcome.
  • ONCE OR TWICE
    A short historical novel set in central Oregon based on the the WWII Japanese high altitude ballon that exploded causing civilian casualties. A riveting look...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • HOUSE FOR SALE
    Rare mountain property, borders National Forest, stream nearby. Pumicecrete, solar net metering, radiant heat, fine cabinets, attic space to expand, patio, garden, wildlife, insulated garage,...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER- NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
    Want to organize people to protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life with Northern Plains Resource Council? Apply now-...
  • CONSERVATION MANAGER
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is hiring an energetic and motivated Conservation Manager to develop and complete new conservation projects and work within...
  • POLLINATOR OASIS
    Seeking an experienced, hardworking partner to help restore a desert watershed/wetland while also creating a pollinator oasis at the mouth of an upland canyon. Compensation:...
  • ELLIE SAYS IT'S SAFE! A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
    by Don Hagedorn. A story of how lives of the visually impaired are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs. Available on Amazon.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -