The Gates of Frontier Town
1915 - 1979
is the story of Frontier Town, Montana -- a
remarkable Old West-themed tourist attraction, and masterpiece
of American folk art. It was located 15 miles west of
Helena Montana, just below the summit of MacDonald Pass,
on the eastern slope of the Continental Divide.
It operated commercially from 1948 to 2001, and is now
a private residence. Map coordinates: 46°34'9.24"N
of native logs and stone, Frontier Town was built almost
singlehandedly by one determined and talented man -- John
R. Quigley (1915-1979). With the help of his wife
Sue Quigley, his children Jack, Peter
and Kitty Ann, John operated and continually upgraded
Frontier Town for over three decades.
rambunctious history of Frontier Town is wonderfully
preserved in many rare photographs and documents from
the collection of John's daughter, Kitty Ann Quigley
Taaler. Most of the images on this site are from her
collection; many have never been seen by the public.
of grassroots American enterprise includes a short history
of the pioneering Quigley family, John Quigley's early
foray into the dude ranch and ski resort business (Lost
Cabin), his building of Frontier Town after World War
II, and the success that followed. The tale continues
through John's untimely death in 1979 at age 64, and the
subsequent travails of others who bought and sold his
see photographs of Frontier Town's unique construction,
views of the attraction inside and out, and candid vintage
snapshots of the staff and patrons, including some celebrities.
There are photos and stories of the sometimes wild publicity
events, which present John Quigley the showman in top
& Sue Quigley, 1956
TO FRONTIER TOWN, 1950s
FAMOUS LOG BAR
STREET AND THE SENTINEL TREE,
SEEN FROM THE CHAPEL
Town was located about 15 miles west of Helena,
Montana, just east of the summit of MacDonald Pass.
The elevation of the site is 6,300 feet above sea
coordinates: 46°34'9.24"N 112°18'23.80"W
is Frontier Town Closed?
people ask why Frontier Town is no longer open
to the public.
John's death from cancer in 1979, his daughter,
Kitty Ann Quigley Taaler and her husband Aavo,
moved to Frontier Town from their home in British
Columbia to partner with John's widow Sue Quigley
(Kitty Ann's Stepmother) in operating the attraction.
financial offers from the Taalers, in 1992 Sue
Quigley chose to sell Frontier Town to Denham
Richard Pegg (1935-2011), who in 1994 auctioned
off John Quigley's extensive western antique,
art and heirloom collection, thereby destroying
much of Frontier Town's unique culture and character.
the mid-1990s, Pegg sold Frontier Town to Erik
Little, who operated it for several years. Pegg
repossessed Frontier Town in 1999, and had continuing
financial troubles. The resulting protracted legal
problems culminated in a neglected Frontier Town
being sold at a sheriff's auction in 2001 for
$190,000. The buyer was Tom Battershell, who has
made Frontier Town a private residence, working
hard to protect and preserve the structures.
Kitty Ann Quigley Taaler in the 12/14/2005 Independent
Tom Battershell family bought a shell of a maintenance
nightmare, Frontier Town. Aavo and I could have
bought Frontier Town, but there was no way we
could afford to work for years without income,
bringing Frontier Town back to it's old glory
and it's Quigley reputation....Nobody but the
Quigleys, Taalers, and our generation of friends
know what the real old glory of Frontier Town
Frontier Town Advertising Brochure
Contains Many Photos and a Brief History
CLICK ON COVER TO OPEN THE BROCHURE
IN A NEW WINDOW
John Quigley Talks About Frontier Town 1979 Audio
a few months before his death in 1979, John gives
a brief and entertaining history of Frontier Town,
and also relates his hopes for its future, which
unfortunately were not realized. To
better know the man and his work, listening to this
short mp3 audio is recommended...
HERE TO LISTEN
at the top and bottom of these pages will take you wherever
you want to go.
As John was so fond of saying to visitors: "Make
yourselves at home!"
Entire Site is © 2015 by Kitty Ann Quigley
BY KENNON BAIRD