Make Mine a Ditch
Beautiful Backbars Under the Big Sky

by Paul Snyder

published by Paul Snyder

produced by Sweetgrass Books

  • As a young child, author Paul Snyder became intrigued with his local establishment’s large ornate backbar. This led him to delve further into researching backbars, the backbone of Montana’s historic watering holes. Their history, artistic woodwork, and the bars they graced. He felt compelled to capture as much history—and many photographs—as possible of the backbars remaining. These backbars influenced and are part of the development of Montana even before it became a state. They remain a combination of mystery and history in the transformation of Montana into statehood. This book takes a close look at these beautiful, often overlooked, silent witnesses to Montana’s history.

    • Filled with hundreds of contemporary and archival images of bars, backbars, and their Montana settings

    • Reveals the story of the art and architecture of Montana’s watering holes in the context of Montana history

    • Features rare and unusual bars and bar interiors from around the Treasure State

200 pages, 10 x 8½, 335 color photos

ISBN 10: 1591522811
ISBN 13: 9781591522812

May 2021





Make Mine a Ditch
Beautiful Backbars Under the Big Sky

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Paul Snyder was born in Havre, Montana, and raised in Malta, Montana, where he graduated from high school in 1953. He went on to Montana State University in Missoula (now The University of Montana) where he studied history, political science, and air science before spending a career in aviation through the US Air Force and with Western and Delta Airlines. His hobbies include photography and woodworking, and he is actively involved in numerous clubs and community organizations. A past member and officer of the board of directors with Stumptown Historical Society, Whitefish, Montana; he is presently on the Cascade County Historical Society (The History Museum) board of directors, Great Falls, Montana; and a commissioner with the Montana Heritage Commission, Virginia City, Montana.

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