Today in Virgelle…

December 12th, 2009

Snow-Merc-SmallIt’s winter!

A Real Country Christmas at a Real Country Store

November 12th, 2009

Virgelle Mercantile hosts a Real Country Christmas at a Real Country Store on December 5 & 6, 2009. The store will be open to the public each day from 9-5. Refreshments served beside the old wood stove in the kitchen all day, each day. Come and see the town newly decorated for the season.

…and a good time was had by all.

See you next December!

Going Green…

August 31st, 2009


Sunburst Unlimited, Inc


Working & teaching in Cascade & Chouteau counties since 1998.
Contact information:
Mike Dalton, Executive Director
Phone: 406-952-1788




Sunburst Unlimited, Inc., a local nonprofit organization focused on sustainability projects and education have begun the transformation of a 70 year old chicken coop into a 21st century year-round greenhouse model and education center. This project is “in the works” in conjunction with Don Sorenson, owner of the Virgelle Mer-cantile in Virgelle, MT ( .
Based on a model that the Russians constructed in the 1960’s which now provides produce year round to over 80 Moscow grocery stores, the Virgelle Greenhouse and Education Center’s transformation began in April of this year.
On June 13th, a new 1000 sq. ft. tin roof was installed by a volunteer team comprised of civilian employees of Rivet Mile Maintenance Group, Malmstrom AFB, Sunburst Unlimited Executive Board members and friends. All materials for the project were donated by local area businesses in Great Falls and Havre. Next on the greenhouse remodeling list is the electrical wiring, which will be installed by the members of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 233. Eventually all the heat and electricity will be provided by solar and wind power.
Also in May, Sunburst taught their first worm composting and raised garden bed class to 8 youngsters and 5 adults in Virgelle. Each child took home his/her own Red Wiggler Worm Kit to start composting the family’s “green waste”.
Sunburst Unlimited is no stranger to this area. Founded in 1998 by Mike Dalton and Mary Jane Ahrendes, Sunburst worked with the BLM and area volunteers in restoring the river banks of the Wild and Scenic Mis-souri River Corridor from Coal Banks Landing to Judith Landing planting cottonwood and green ash seedlings and saplings. 


“Imagine reading the
River Press, the Havre Daily Press or the Great Falls Tribune in the near future and seeing a satellite picture taken at 1am in mid-January, detecting light and heat radiating out of “nowhere” in north central Montana. Could it be the Virgelle Greenhouse and Education Center? Yes it could.”  


Sunburst Unlimited and Virgelle Mercantile are anxious and excited to share their knowledge of local self sus-tainability with all neighbors and communities in hopes they too will reclaim their old out-buildings and bring their communities together by “growing their own.” 

MaryJaneCroppedMary Jane Ahrendes

MikeCroppedMichael Dalton






Virgelle Mercantile

May 23rd, 2009

The Virgelle Mercantile is located 8 miles south of US-87, about 66 miles northeast of Great Falls, Montana. Rising 2 stories above the surrounding prairie, within sight of the Missouri River, the old building serves as the heart of the revived ghost town of Virgelle…

Boasting one of the best collections of homestead-era antiques for sale, it is also headquarters for the Missouri River Canoe Company, and the Virgelle Mercantile Bed and Breakfast overnight lodging facility…

NPLD Event

May 15th, 2009

5/14/09: The first National Public Land Day event of 2009 took place along the Missouri River between Coal Banks Landing and Hole in the Wall campsite. Participants gathered litter, hiked to various sites, and generally enjoyed the beautiful day on the river.
Participants included: Nicholas LaVance, Nat Brooks, Raechal Howard, and several BLM employees.

River Update

May 15th, 2009

5/6/09: All campsites between Coal Banks Landing and Slaughter River have been serviced between 4-6 May 09. The composting toilet at the downriver end of Dark Butte Campsite (river mile 68.8) is operational (as of today May 6, 2009). The upriver composting toilet at this location is still closed.

River Update

May 15th, 2009


5/4/09: The Water System at Coal Banks Landing is on and has been tested (all OK). The water fountains are inoperative. Visitors will need to use the yard hydrants to get water until we can repair the fountains.

Virgelle Merc Antiques in Collins, MT this weekend…

May 6th, 2009

Virgelle Mercantile Antiques will be in Collins, Montana over the Mother’s Day weekend with antiques and collectibles for sale. All items will be marked at special sale prices, each mother recieves a flower at the door, and one item will be given away on Sunday afternoon (must signup to win the drawing).

Everyone is welcome to free beverages and snacks from the kitchen.
Come enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in the old ghost town of Collins.
Look for signs after taking the Collins Road West exit off Inerstate 15, just 40 miles north of Great Falls, MT.

See you there…

5/14/09 And a good time was had by all… Thanks to everyone who attended.

Virgelle in National Geographic Traveler Magazine

April 28th, 2009

The latest issue of National Geographic Traveler (May-June, 2009) has a short article describing the spirit of Virgelle and surrounding area. The author is fascinated by the overnight accommodations, and antiques in the little ghost town along the Missouri River…

Virgelle Cook-Inn

April 15th, 2009

On April 24, 25, and 26, 2009, Virgelle Mercantile will host the first annual “Cook Inn” cast iron cooking workshop in Virgelle. This event is hosted by Don Sorensen, Bonnie O’Gorman, Chandi Bomgardner, and Justina Bombgardner. This session will focus on recipes and techniques used to create unusual dishes from the old wood-buring cook range and from the open fire. Participants stay in Virgelle Mercantile B&B rooms, and in restored local homesteader cabins. See you there…