The Beartooth Highway: A History of America's Most Beautiful Drive

Jon Axline presents “The Beartooth Highway: A History of America’s Most Beautiful Drive.” The famed Beartooth Highway is particularly noted for its sometimes frightening switchbacks, steep grades, and its spectacular views. The construction of the highway is a story in and of itself. Built during the Great Depression, the Beartooth Highway was the result of many years of political lobbying by Montana’s congressional delegation and the National Park Service. It connects Cooke City, Montana and Red Lodge, Montana. The highway also presented significant engineering and construction challenges. This is the story of how the highway came about and the story of the men who designed it and the contractors who built America’s most scenic highway.

Axline is the long-time historian and interpretive marker coordinator at the Montana Department of Transportation. He’s a fourth-generation Montanan and graduated from Montana State University with an MA in American history.


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