The Flathead Beacon did a nice front page spread on the Polebridge Mercantile this week, focusing on the Merc’s 100th anniversary . . .
In 100 years, ownership of the Polebridge Mercantile has changed hands 10 times, according to records cobbled together by historians and hardscrabble locals, with each set of proprietors playing their own unique role in shaping the store, the community and the far-flung, off-the-grid landscape.
And yet the owners of this lone outpost of civilization along the remote North Fork of the Flathead River have not traditionally considered themselves owners, instead embracing the cozier denomination of “caretaker,” a term of endearment that sets the “Merc” apart from the workaday grind of quotidian life, distinguishing it from the modern trappings and clutter that has even crept into a scantly populated place like Montana.
Time passes slowly here, to be sure, but even the Merc must endure change.