Carter County, Montana 1921

Owing to the fact that Carter County cannot boast of a mile of railroad within its entire area of 3,318 square miles, this county, which lies in the southeastern corner of the state, the South Dakota-Montana boundary marking its eastern and the Wyoming-Montana state line its southern side, has made little progress since the date of its creation, February 22, 191 7. The county, which was named in honor of Thomas Henry Carter, Montana's first representative in Congress (1891) and subsequently a member of the United States Senate, has a maximum length north and south of seventy-eight miles and a maximum width east and west of forty-eight miles, in all of which there has been little irrigation development, although a feasible project exists along the Little Missouri River. Also, a railroad has been projected through the county from Belle Fourche, South Dakota, to Miles City. Until this is built the trade from the southern end of the county will probably continue to go to Belle Fourche, and from the northern end to Baker, Montana.

Carter County, when fully developed, will be one of the prosperous sections of the state, for there are numerous industries and resources ready for promoters. Farming and stock raising are the chief industries, the latter principally in the southern end. Grain, particularly corn, and forage crops can be raised in abundance, and the Chalkes Buttes Country, southwest of Ekalaka, the Beaver Flats and the Box Elder Valley are considered as teeming with opportunities. The modern creamery at Ekalaka has served as a stimulus to dairying, in which considerable progress has been made. The county also abounds in minerals, large beds of lignite coal underlying most of its territory, building stone being found in a number of places and geologists believing that the county contains oil and gas prospects that warrant development. Timber is also readily available, as the Sioux National Forest occupies 114,541 acres in the eastern part of the county. With the exception of this tract, and the Blue Mud Hills near the center of the county, most of the surface of Carter County is rolling prairie and tillable, the soil varying from a sandy loam to a heavy gumbo. Opportunities are to be found in this county for those who have the patience to wait for the coming of the railroad, as land prices range in value from $5 to $25 an acre. Carter County has a good educational system, considering its lack of development, there being seventy-six rural schools, as well as a high school at Ekalaka, which is accredited for the four-year term. In drainage and water supply, the county is also well supplied, the Little Missouri River passing through the southeastern part of the county, with the Box Elder and Beaver creeks flowing northeasterly and a number of tributaries.

Lying forty-two miles south of the Milwaukee Railway is Ekalaka, the county seat of Carter County and it is the largest town. It has two banks, three garages, two newspapers, two general stores, two drug stores, two hardware stores, two lumber yards, good hotels, a creamery and a flour mill. Piniele, in the southwestern part of the county, the second largest community, has two general stores, a flour mill, a drug store, a bank, a garage and a hotel, maintains a newspaper, and is equipped with an electric lighting system.

Special attractions are held out to visiting tourists. In ''Hunting Trips of a Ranchman,'' Col. Theodore Roosevelt dealt with the Little Missouri River region, just across the state line in South Dakota, where he ranched during the '80s. Much beautiful scenery is to be found in the Sioux National Forest, and in the northern part of Carter County are located Medicine Rocks, sandstone formations likened to Colorado's "Garden of the Gods," because of the fantastic shapes which they present.

Montana Counties 1921

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Source: Montana its Story and Biography, by Tom Strout, Volume 1, The American Historical Society, 1921

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