Everybody stops there; the gravity and allure of the place (not to mention clean restrooms) pulls you in right off of I-90 if you’re on your way east from Washington state. You’ve been there, right? Probably more than once!
Here’s the history of the famous bar: The story begins in 1951 when Gerry and Marie Lincoln moved from Libby, Montana, to Alberton, Montana. Two miles west of this small Montana town on what is now I-90, they built a small bar and named it “Cherry Springs.” Soon, however, they realized that people needed a reason to stop, an attraction, and they got an idea.
At that time the local customers (loggers and miners) were paid in silver dollars. Also, travelers to Montana always received their change in silver dollars. They weigh a ton in your pocket! (This is why loggers wear suspenders.) So on October 1, 1952, Gerry cut a round hole in the bar top, hammered a silver dollar into it, and inscribed he and Marie’s names beneath it.
The idea caught on and by December 1953, over 2000 people had placed their coins and names in the bar top. As a result of this, the name was changed to Lincoln’s 2000 Silver $ Bar. The original bar top is still intact and in use. It contains 2115 pieces and all the other coins in the collection are embedded in boards and displayed around the barroom. Each coin is the possession of the individual who left it and many people, or their children or grandchildren, return year after year to visit “their” coin.
Today, according to their website, there are over 75,000 silver dollar coins on display! If you haven’t, maybe you ought to stop on your next trip east.