City Council hears wagon, monument updates at Malta meeting
February 19, 2020
Two monuments that tip a cap to Phillips County's past and that will likely outlive anyone reading this story were discussed at the last Malta City Council Meeting.
During the Public Comment portion of the Tuesday, February 11 Malta City Council Meeting, Charlie Stevens of the Malta Sons of the American Legion and Malta American Legion Post #57 Commander Vince Schmoeckel as well as Jane Ereaux and Kay Hould from the Phillips County Historical Society spoke to the Council members and Mayor John Demarais on updates on projects they are working on.
Firstly, Stevens spoke of the final memorial marker to be installed at the Veteran's Memorial Park in downtown Malta, the sixth, which are dedicated to the memory of Phillips County residents and all who served this country in foreign wars. The first marker, honoring those who served in World I, was erected in 1974, the other four - World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and The Desert Storm War - were erected in 2009 and, now, the memorial honoring those who served in the Global War on Terror, will be installed this year, hopefully before Memorial Day.
"They look really good down there," Mayor Demarais said. "I see people stop and take pictures there all the time."
Ereaux was second to speak during the Public Comment portion of the night's meeting talked about the Phillips County Stagecoach (Mud Wagon) Restoration Project which was started by the late Doc Jim Curtis. Jane said that nearly all of the cost of the $35,000 price tag has been covered through local donations and grants along with a grant from the Montana Tourism Board.
In September of 2017, the old "Malta to Zortman Mud Wagon" made its debut in the Antique Modes of Transportation Museum on Highway 2 after years of neglect following the City of Malta taking over ownership of the historical artifact. The Mud Wagon joined a 1930 Model A Ford Standard Roadster that was originally purchased in Malta in the museum which is a diorama that can be viewed, from the front, 24-hours a day and is lit up. The Modes Museum is dedicated to Claude "Ezzie" Ereaux, a long-time Phillips County entrepreneur and Jane's late husband.
Harlen Olson, who is doing the restoration work, said that what mostly remains to be done on the wagon is repainting and wrote "this project was important to Doctor Curtis and is important, and in his honor, I will do whatever it takes to properly conserve this historical vehicle regardless of my time into it."