Old Missoula

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Not-Special President and Rabbits Under Higgins Bridge

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Presidents and Rabbits

Rabbit Colony In Heart of City Under Higgins Avenue Bridge

The man who lived on the island in the Missoula river under the Higgins avenue bridge a few years ago had a pair of pet white rabbits. The trio lived there happily, no one knows how long. Then a year and a half ago the man died and the administrator of his estate either through oversight or reprehensible negligence failed to make any provision for the rapidly aging pair of bunnies. Soon the only bridge to the mainland, a ladder propped against the bridge, was removed and the island became isolated.

Today there is a populous colony of white rabbits on the island. People standing on the bridge have been able to count as many as 60. They can be seen at almost any hour of the day, nibbling the herbage unconcernedly and apparently not bothered or affected by the noise of the city above and around them. Despite the classical failure of the small boy to get his pet rabbits, even by threats of violence, to do his arithmetic lesson, rabbits are certainly among the greatest multipliers on earth.

There is a plentiful natural food supply on the island and dwellers in the Smead-Simons building have been throwing bread and lettuce to the colony from the bridge.

The rabbits’ successful residence on the island has inspired local nature lovers. T. N. Marlowe, president of the Western Montana Fish and Game association, is said to be planning to place some Chinese pheasants on the island and if possible to turn several doe [does] loose there. Numerous goldfinches and other song birds have been nesting there for years. The hope is being expressed that organized effort be directed toward transforming the island into a well protected civic zoological park.

The article above appeared in The Daily Missoulian on July 3, 1923

Another insignificant event occurred on the previous day in Missoula when the President traveled through Missoula, but didn’t bother to stop for a chat.

“The ‘President’s Special’ train bearing President Harding to the coast, passed through Missoula on the Milwaukee railroad at about 5 a. m. today. The special did not stop.

“Owing to the uncertainty as to whether the special would stop for any length of time there were few people at the depot to see the train slide by.”


He would likely have enjoyed watching the rabbits from Higgins Bridge had he taken the time.

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 January 2018 02:26