Montana is known for many things. Flathead Cherries, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, the Porkchop Sandwich, and many others.  But did you know that Montana was the birthplace of a long-standing tradition all across the United States and the rest of the world?

It's true. The tradition started well over a hundred years ago in 1898 when a couple of businessmen had a chance meeting that would lead to something commonplace in all 50 states and several other countries.

The most interesting part of the story? The two men didn't meet in Montana, they met in Wisconsin, however, a few years later a Montana establishment put their plan into motion.

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John Nicholson and Samual Hill met after their hotel was booked and the two had to share a room. As the story goes, the two struck up a friendship and decided to embark on a plan that would bring "the good book" to the masses. Both Nicholson and Hill were Christian travelers and had an idea of leaving a bible at the front desk in every hotel they would visit.

They would later be known as the Gideons.

However, in 1908 things would change for the two men when they visited The Superior Hotel in Superior, Montana. They asked if they could leave one of their Bibles at the front desk and Archie Baily, an accountant for a railroad company suggested that instead of leaving a Bible for the front desk, what if they were to leave a Bible for each room (25 in total)?


This would start a tradition that continues today, not only in the United States but across the world. Over 2 billion Bibles have been handed out since the two men left those 25 Bibles at The Superior Hotel.

The Superior Hotel is no longer there as it burned down in 1940, but a plaque commemorates what happened at that hotel over 100 years ago.

Credit: Barry Swackhammer
Credit: Barry Swackhammer

Nowadays, many hotel chains have opted out of the "traditional" Bible in the room, however, according to the Gideon website, one Bible can reach up to 2600 people in its 6-year lifespan...and to think, it all started right here in Montana.

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