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Johnson’s Mural Provides Great Welcome At Wolf Point Elks Event Center

Johnson’s Mural Provides Great Welcome  At Wolf Point Elks Event Center Johnson’s Mural Provides Great Welcome  At Wolf Point Elks Event Center

The east side of the Wolf Point Elks Event Center is looking better than ever in time for the Wolf Point Wild Horse Stampede’s 100th celebration.

Recently, new siding was placed on the wall to provide a fresh look. Then, last week, a beautiful mural created by Wolf Point native Lance Johnson was added.

Jeff Presser, exalted ruler for the Elks Lodge, is excited about the exterior improvements at the Elks.

“It’s really important for Main Street to have the Elks Lodge and Elks Event Center,” Presser said.

The event center is the place in the community where a wide range of large gatherings are held ranging from the Walleyes Unlimited auction to the Lions Club’s pancake breakfast to weddings.

He noted that the Elks’ building was built in 1950 and needed repairs are fairly constant. A donation from the Western Bank endowment legacy fund made the siding project possible.

Sponsorships for the Elks Event Center are available. Plaques are placed for donations of $1,000, $500 or $250 for improvements. Any donation is appreciated to help the Elks purchase needed equipment and make repairs.

Presser added that additional members and volunteers are also urged for the Elks Lodge.

“We are spread so thin,” he said. “Please consider joining so we can continue to keep the Elks open.”

The mural by Johnson was added on Wednesday, June 14, to the building. The Elks thanked the anonymous donors that made the mural possible.

Johnson said when he was first approached about doing the mural, he was hesitant because he hadn’t done a full mural before.

“I’m glad that I done it,” Johnson said last week. “I’m satisfied with it.”

The 16-foot by 8-foot mural features a great river steamboat scene.

“And we added wolves and other things too,” Johnson said. “It’s a piece of history. I had a lot of fun with it, especially the Native American subjects.”

He thanked Stan Friesen for helping put the mural up on the Elks’ building.

The Lewis and Clark expedition began in 1804 and passed through the Wolf Point area in early May 1805. About 400 steamboat arrivals on the Missouri River were recorded in Fort Benton between 1860 and 1888, each of which had to pass through the Wolf Point area.

According to information provided from organizers of the mural, Wolf Point began as a trading post in the 1860s at the confluence of Wolf Creek and the Missouri River.

The origin of the name is difficult to verify but has several stories. One is that the town is named after Wolf Creek. William Bent, a Pony Express rider from Fort Union to Helena from 1867-1868, told that “Wolf Point got its name from the fact that one winter, wolfers killed such a large number of wolves that they froze before the skins could be removed. The frozen carcasses were piled near the river to wait for the coming of spring and the pile was so high, it became a landmark for all the country around.” Another story is that as river steamboats approached the “point” or high ground on the river where Wolf Point had its beginnings, that hill appeared to have the shape of a wolf. The Lewis and Clark journals report that “the wolves are also very abundant” but were “lower, shorter in legs, and thicker than the Atlantic wolf.”

Johnson is excited about attending the 100th Stampede. He plans to have an art show at Bryan’s during the weekend.

“I like visiting with old friends and making new friends,” he said of his time in Wolf Point.

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