Helena, Bozeman, and Southwest Montana Feature

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A Dark Day in Bozeman

At 8:12 am on March 5, 2009, a natural gas leak sparked an explosion that would forever change the landscape of Bozeman's Main Street. The blast was heard blocks away, and windows were shattered as far down as the Baxter Hotel on West Main Street. When the fire and ash settled, one life was lost, half a historic city block had been leveled, two buildings were structurally damaged, and nine businesses were displaced. It happened at a time of economic uncertainty, and the community wondered what, if anything, would fill the void.

Things may not ever be the same, but there were signs of recovery in short order. Montana Trails Gallery moved to East Main Street, as did Boodles Restaurant. The iconic Rockin' R Bar and the American Legion launched plans to rebuild on their former locations. Bozeman's Pioneer Museum (317 W. Main St., 406/522-8122) features an exhibit called The Block That Was Rocked, explaining the events of the tragic day.

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