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Local Look Back: Harold’s Bridge

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By J.C. Knaub

This is a photo of my father, Harold Knaub, taken in early December 1973. He was the foreman for the original Big Sky Resort construction crew. At that time, he and about 12 men were constructing a large log bridge over the West Fork of the Gallatin River, just below the entrance to Lone Mountain Ranch.

The resort’s four new lifts were scheduled to open for the first time on Dec. 14. Harold and his crew worked seven days a week getting logs to the site, then bringing in fill dirt for the approaches, and rock and boulders for the creek bank. This photo was given to me by Colin Kobel at Devon White’s memorial service at Buck’s T-4 Lodge in September. Colin and Devon were on my father’s crew, as was I at a young 18 years old.

What is most touching is that Feb. 16 is the 10th anniversary of my father’s passing. At Devon’s service, I had a chance to share beautiful memories with almost all of the people on my dad’s construction crew—people who were the very first skilled workers in the area, who built that big log bridge over the West Fork; cut and cleared the ski runs; built the main road to the Mountain Village, as well as the lift infrastructure and many other projects 46 years ago to help carve Big Sky Resort out of the wilderness.

I miss my father, but the skills he taught me so long ago have never left me. We were on the frontier, and it was a very special era. Losing my father was hard; losing my friend and my dad’s friend Devon White was equally hard. But looking back, I gain strength looking at a photo, shared in kindness and friendship among grieving survivors at a friend’s memorial service. They were awesome people that did amazing things.

J.C. Knaub owns Andesite Construction and moved to Big Sky in June of 1973.

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