It’s rare that we talk about ourselves here at Treasure State Lifestyles because, well… that’s not what you came for. You picked up this magazine because you love Montana. You crave its history, its landscapes, and its culture, and—like us—you always have a hankering for more.

Fifteen years ago, we began Treasure State Lifestyles with a 24-page, black and white issue and the dream of developing this into something that would have meaning to the people
of Montana.

Since then, several of you have inquired why we started this magazine, where we came from, and who we are.

With this article we intend to answer those questions.

But the simple answer is this: we wouldn’t be here without hope.

A Story of Hope

Long before Hope Good was the publisher of Treasure State Lifestyles, she was a farm girl at Moccasin, where entertainment was something a kid had to make for herself. Young Hope found joy in imagination and exploration. Every summer, she’d peddle her bike for miles along gravel roads to play cards with the old-timers and revel in their tales.

When she wasn’t listening to stories, she was reading them. She frequented the Stanford Library, where her mother worked, and of her family’s few material possessions, books and periodicals brought her the most pleasure.

Of particular impression were two hardbound books given to Hope by her mother. The first was a collection of Arthur’s Home Magazine from 1871. A relative on Hope’s mother’s side, Rosella Rice (penname: Pipsi Potts), had been a regular contributor to the publication (and was probably best known for her biography of Johnny Appleseed). The second book was a first edition print of My Captivity Among the Sioux Indians, also published in 1871 and written by another distant relative, Fanny Kelly. Hope’s relation to these women impressed upon her the idea that she too could grow into a storyteller. Writing was a gift that ran in her family. If these women could be published, so could she.

In high school, Hope’s creativity made her an outcast in some social circles, but it enabled her to excel as a writer and illustrator of the school paper. As a sophomore, Hope so impressed the paper’s graduating student editor that at schoolyear’s end, the senior broke tradition, and instead of handing over her reins to a junior, she gave the job to Hope.

Meanwhile, Hope’s parents pushed her to take advantage of every opportunity in school, including trying out for drill team and participating in the Jr. Miss Pageant, two things that brought her discomfort. These experiences taught her to be fearless. She came into her own as editor of the school paper, drawing inspiration from the pages of Montana Magazine and The Harvard Lampoon, from her adventures on Montana’s backroads, from the strong women of her family, from old-timers’ tales, and from the moral of her favorite childhood story, The Little Engine that Could.

The Little Engine that Could

Fast-forward to 1998. By this point, Hope had studied art at Bozeman. She’d mastered sales in media. She’d established Blue Sky Media (ad agency) in Great Falls. She was looking for the next step…

It was December that year when the first issue of Agriculture Appreciation hit the press. Designed to showcase northcentral Montana’s ag community, Agriculture Appreciation featured Western art, history, entertainment, recipes, and poetry. It was an amalgam of Montana culture in all its forms, intended to promote small rural communities—which Hope noticed were being excluded from several publications at the time—alongside Great Falls, Havre, and other, larger communities. By December 1999, six complimentary issues had been produced. By the end of 2000, another six were published. But in 2001, there were none.

Agriculture Appreciation had become an all-consuming project. It was rewarding, but after two full years, Hope and her team were exhausted. Hope needed time to reevaluate
her career.

In 2005, after a four year hiatus from publishing, and with the encouragement of Joanne Sanford, Hope had determined that yes, media was exactly where she needed to be. There’d been missteps with Agriculture Appreciation, but there’d been a lot of successes too. Most importantly, Hope had confirmed her theory that the people of Montana wanted an inclusive platform to share and read stories that mattered to them. There was a need for something like this. People in the Treasure State wanted a magazine that reflected their lifestyles.

To Be Continued

A lot has changed at Treasure State Lifestyles in fifteen years. In 2006, we made the move from black and white to full color. Our per-issue page count has increased over time. Our distribution area has expanded to one-third of the state. Our staff has grown.

In 2014, we launched our updated website (TreasureStateLifestyles.com) with digital copies of our publication so that readers might enjoy it wherever they are. In 2015, we began publishing twelve issues a year. More recently, the Montana Historical Society Library asked for back issues of our magazine, so that Treasure State Lifestyles might serve as a resource for future generations.

You hold in your hands the 132nd issue of Treasure State Lifestyles Montana Magazine. Like any business, it’s been a journey of peaks and valleys, with numerous writers, designers, photographers, and sales staff having contributed over the years. We appreciate everyone who has been a part of this fifteen-year undertaking, and we’d like to thank our many advertisers that have supported our content over the years so that our publication can remain free to the public. Lastly, we’d like to express our gratitude to you, the reader. If not for you joining us in our love of Montana, we wouldn’t be here today.